6 Essential Steps to Integrate Security in Agile Software Development
The fast and innovative nature of today’s business requirements demands organizations to remain competitive. Incorporating Agile Methodologies is the best way to stay ambitious and competitive. Agile has indeed taken the software development and testing world by storm.
Agile software development is the method of developing high-quality software solutions, websites, web applications and mobile applications, wherein the requirements and solutions evolve through the collaborative effort of self-organizing and cross-functional teams and their customers. Its focus is on early and continuous software delivery and enables requirement changes even in late development stages.
Major benefits of Agile methodologies are:
• Faster Development
• High-quality product
• Increased project control
• Reduction of Risks
• Increased customer satisfaction
Though Agile is embraced by many organizations as an efficient way to deliver flawless software, many Agile organizations lack the whole security part of software development. There are lot of reasons why security is left behind in many Agile organizations.
Listed below are the two main issues for lack of security in agile model.
1. Lack of strong security user-stories
Security is considered as a Non-Functional Requirement (NFR) – a requirement related to the state of the system, rather than functional areas of the system. User stories normally follow a structure like “As a (user), I need/want (some desire/goal) so that (reason for desire/goal)”. The requirements are crafted into a story with a reasoning for the requirement so that developers can plan for the experiences real people will have with the project. These stories closely guide team planning and development. It will be hard to turn security requirements into tangible stories. Lack of strong security user stories can be a cause that prevents security from being planned or implemented correctly.
2. Lack of Agile-ready security practices and tools
In Agile, security requirements and processes need to be synced to business requirements. Security can’t (and won’t) be done in a vacuum. Agile organizations and the security teams within them need to ensure that security fits in with the rest of the crew. Security testing can’t wait until the end of the lifecycle – it needs to be integrated and managed by the development team. Make sure that proper resources are allocated to make it a reality.
Steps to Integrate Security into Agile Software Development
The following steps will help you achieve Secure Software Development Lifecycle (Secure SDLC) in Agile.
1. Add security acceptance criteria in user stories
Capture unique security criteria that are not covered by cross-functional requirements in stories and validate these in the QA process. During core development, programmers should be put in charge of security scans and fixes. This is a great way to help push security into earlier stages of the software development life cycle (SDLC), where security issues are best dealt with. You can get some sample secure user stories offered by SafeCode, a non-profit organization, to help you start your own backlog.
2. Stakeholders can conduct various security tests during product review
During demo or product review, Stakeholders will have the opportunity to try the software, which also provides a chance to break the system’s security. He can try things that intruders would do to see how the system responds. Then the team and stakeholders can decide how issues will be sorted out to assure that the systems will remain secure always.
3. Develop proper code conventions for OWASP Proactive Controls
Make a plan to proactively mitigate general vulnerabilities as attackers typically start attacking a system by scanning for the most common vulnerabilities. Follow well-understood mitigations when possible, as this reduces unpredictability and unforeseen bugs in the implementation. The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) Top Ten Proactive Controls are control categories that every developer should include in their project. The purpose of the OWASP Foundation is to secure the applications in a way that they can be conceived, developed, acquired, operated, and maintained in a trustworthy way. OWASP tools, forums, documents and chapters are free and can be utilised in improving application security.
4. Use Agile Retrospectives
Agile retrospectives help teams to review their type of work and improve themselves continuously. In a retrospective, you can uncover major or recurring security problems. It will help you to discover the main causes for security issues, which can be resolved to avoid similar issues in future.
5. Integrate Continuous Integration Security Practices in the SDLC
Unlike the past, there are several security application tools available in the market that is primed for use in Agile organizations. Modern application security solutions like Static Code Analysis can integrate with current development tools.
6. Build security into your pipeline
The best place to start automating security best practices is your pipeline. With the help of static and dynamic analysis tools, we can identify vulnerabilities that were missed out during the development and testing stages. Automated pipeline check will ensure the automatic checks for libraries. Automated checks for libraries that need to be updated can be made simple by including an automated pipeline check.
Secure user stories will need to be changed over time for the better adaptation of current requirements. The security industry is changing rapidly day by day. It will be the responsibility of the security team to ensure all changes are appropriately covered. Whenever new tools and processes are introduced or changed, then tneedsecurity also need to be adjusted. The best way for each organization is to practice security as a habit and gradually make it a part of their Agile culture.