Five Risk Mitigation Techniques to Protect Your SDLC
Adjusting your Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) for potential threats from third-party software
Risky business in the digital world
We live in a world of immense change. Each day brings innovation, breaking news, and developments in technology that were once far outside our realm of imagination. It’s an exciting time to be alive, especially as an organization trying to keep up with the times. Staying in tune with the ever-changing ecosystem in what many consider the digital revolution is no small feat, but it’s important. Digital agility brings ease of use to consumers and businesses, it also brings ease of use for a hack attack.
What was the last memorable piece of news you’ve heard in tech? Was it a compromise in the systems of a government, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, waste, agriculture, or financial organization? Unfortunately, that’s a common practice for hackers. Large organizations with positive social impact simply can’t keep up in a time where hackers are becoming more and more intelligent with how they invade software code.
So, how can your organization prevent a high-risk infrastructure annihilation when striving towards your mission and objectives? Adjusting your risk mitigation techniques as you adopt and create new software is the first step.
What is risk mitigation and why is it important?
Risk mitigation is identifying, assessing, controlling, and reviewing risk and risk related controls. To be effective in reducing the possibility of potential vulnerabilities, organizations need to create stability around their Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). Much of this risk lives in third-party software, legacy applications, and other virtual data from sources that appear legitimate.
Good risk management processes and frameworks calculate uncertainties based on current environments and define clear levels of tolerance for how much risk an organization can accept. Planning for surprises that negatively impact operations is key to future success. Anyone who requires software of any kind to execute operations should assume that their organization, industry, or sector could be a target for an attack.
Adopting a risk preventative mindset allows executive leadership to maintain a proactive plan of action that would protect both internal and external stakeholders. It empowers your business with the tools to identify and manage known and unknown potential risks.
Five successful risk mitigation techniques
Cyber security software has improved by leaps and bounds over the last several decades. Many platforms provide automated tools for vulnerability scans, threat assessment reports, and malware threats. Having the software alone is not enough to maintain a sturdy defense against hackers. Organizations should have a plan of action, or risk mitigation strategy, in the early stages of software development. There are five effective techniques to being prepared and protected against potential threats:
Inventory all third-party resources How would you know what to secure if you didn’t know it existed? Understanding all third-party software critical to business operations, and their respective levels of risk, is key to understanding the risks faced by your organization
Defense-in-Depth Unfortunately, the attacker will almost always have the upper hand in the cyber security landscape. This often results from failing security controls. Components of a system should have powerful defenses that ensure if one component fails, the rest of the system remains in working order.
Assume a breach is inevitable It’s difficult to accept this as a part of the five techniques, we know. The fact is, acceptance is a part of the preparation process. It brings reality to the situation and provides a basis for creating an effective plan of action. Taking this step will allow your organization to respond to breaches faster, reduce the resolution time, and limit the damage of an actual attack.
Build security requirements into every vendor contract Policies are the foundation of how we take action with our third-party supporters, so it only makes sense that this is a technique. Making this a standard for your organization ultimately raises the bar for those providers and benefits all of us!
Trust, but more importantly, VERIFY It’s easy to find security breaches that came from trusted software. With that in mind, organizations should always ensure that the software they receive from any third-party is clean and free of threats every single time. Using an automated technique like Software Behavior Computation can identify what a piece of software actually does, and if it’s malicious.
Is your organization ready for the risk?
The digital landscape will never stop continuing to surprise us, it’s a part of modern culture. We need technology to complete everyday tasks. In a sense, it runs the world. One minor flaw in your SLDC could be the opportunity that the virtual villains are waiting for. Mistakes like this have caused irreversible damage in many organizations around the world, ruining reputations and ceasing positive cash flow for years following the event.
It is not yet possible to create an ironclad cyber security system that protects 100% of the time, still, taking precautions brings security ever closer to that goal. Organizations, especially those with expansive supply chains, should assume that they are at risk of being infiltrated by hackers. By preparing a comprehensive risk mitigation plan, and using cyber security platforms to hunt for known and unknown vulnerabilities, the SDLC can be a phenomenal first line of defense against chaos.
Learn more about mitigating risk and building your defense against cyberattacks by reading our white paper: How to Mitigate Risk in the Supply Chain by Testing Third-Party Software Code