The procurement and development of software are risks to the enterprise, writes Ollie Ross, and – like all risks – must be assessed and classified: Will the application or service be located internally or externally? Will it be protected by enhanced security systems? Should it be subject to full penetration-testing (preferably conducted by an external security specialist)?
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To ensure software security testing becomes standard for procurement, Corporate IT Forum members recommend making sure security is part of the MoSCoW or equivalent analysis to reach a common understanding with stakeholders and writing security in to any contractual agreements, possibly supported by a third-party review for high-risk applications such as card or sensitive data processing.
Buy applications designed to a security standard or confirm a supplier holds an appropriate standard as part of their credentials – the payment card industry data security standard (PCI DSS) asks some good questions as part of the requirements to assess a company against.
Assuring security testing for in-house development requires close engagement between security professionals, the procurement function and, ideally, the business analysts working on the capability. Good stakeholder management goes a long way towards getting security "baked-in at the start" and ensuring appropriate, non-functional requirements around security testing are brought into scope for the task assurance. Identifying a standard to which testing should be completed will help to bake it in properly.
Read more about security procurement
- Security Think Tank: Beef up due diligence
- Security Think Tank: Procurement and security are uneasy bedfellows
- Security Think Tank: Security pros need to be plugged into procurement
- Security Think Tank: How to ensure vendors act efficiently
- Security Think Tank: If cost is king, security suffers
- Security Think Tank: Risk-based security will ease software testing challenge
- Security Think Tank: Security testing a vital part of software procurement
Corporate IT Forum members make the following recommendations:
- Implement and maintain a secure software development process;
- Subject new software development commissions to a risk assessment, for example the type of data being processed and the impact of a potential breach;
- Get the development team and business sponsor to identify threats at the beginning of the process;
- Train developers (or certify they are trained) in secure coding, and make sure they have a secure standard to work to;
- Review code manually and, as a final check, carry out a supplementary automated review. Subject third parties and any operating-system element to review. Repeat through the cycle of development;
- Carry out testing at each development phase. Penetration-test internet-facing apps as a final action. Penetration-test internal apps if required by the data being processed.
Ollie Ross is head of research at The Corporate IT Forum