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Maximizing security and efficiency through collaboration

Johnathan Hunt VP of Security, Indeed
Together is the way...In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of collaboration between development and security teams

Cloud architecture and streamlined software lifecycles have been game changers for most modern organizations. Adopting this technology has allowed organizations to accelerate the delivery of their digital products and services, thus improving customer satisfaction and increasing revenue.

However, this focus on speedy delivery can come at the cost of security, resulting in increased vulnerabilities and bugs at the production stage.

Here's how to ensure that efficiency and security are equally prioritized at the core of the process. Collaboration between development and security teams lies at the heart of these efforts.   

Why is this a priority?

Applications are the preferred vector for experienced cybercriminals, since they know that software vulnerabilities are plentiful. In 2021, application-layer DDoS attacks were most prevalent in the manufacturing industry (which saw a 641% increase in attacks between Q3 and Q4, according to Cloudflare), closely followed by the business services and gaming industries.

In order to make the development process more secure, without compromising efficiency, development teams must build security protocols into their workflows using tools and secure coding practices, while also collaborating with security teams throughout the process. Both teams should be held responsible for ensuring that cloud-native applications remain free of software flaws and security vulnerabilities.

Cloud development and deployment methods require a continuous approach to application security. It's critical that organizations continuously evaluate their security methods and increase their investments accordingly—to ensure their own security, as well as the security of their network, including customers and partners.

Develop clear, transparent processes

Because there are many stages in the development lifecycle, it's important that teams employ a DevSecOps strategy—that is, bake in security at every step, starting from the beginning. It's much easier to prevent bugs before the production stage. The earlier in the software lifecycle that any bugs or vulnerabilities are identified, the better.

Building a thorough continuous testing, monitoring, and feedback process can drive down application risk. It's also critical that precise timelines are included in the development process to align all cross-functional teams. Adhering to a careful timeline ensures that security teams have the time they need to respond to and fix any vulnerabilities.

Use tools correctly

It's often impossible for security teams to respond to every single threat, which is why automated tools are critical. Tools can help teams detect issues at scale, set a baseline, and identify anomalies. However, tools cannot and should not replace human security experts.

Rather, they should be treated as supplements for a security team. Security experts can take a more nuanced look at attack surfaces, take proactive security measures, and identify hidden vulnerabilities that a tool may not pick up on. Pairing security tools with human experts allows teams to broadly scan for security vulnerabilities, while also taking a more detailed, nuanced look at possible flaws.

Encourage collaboration

Collaboration is critical to ensure that the product pipeline continues moving efficiently, without neglecting security. Developer and security teams have a shared responsibility to keep the code and product secure. From code design to unit testing to deployment, teams and tools must work together to assure the rollout of safe cloud applications.

Development teams should invite continuous feedback from security teams throughout the software creation process. This ensures that any vulnerabilities are detected and mitigated in real time, making all products secure by design. Collaboration between teams ensures that the development process is transparent and that all involved organizations feel empowered to provide feedback and contribute to the shared mission of security and efficiency. 

The future of application security

Cyberattacks ran rampant in 2021, and the trend has continued. It's crucial that organizations take a proactive approach to security—focusing on prevention, not just a cure. Adopting a DevSecOps strategy requires a complete cultural shift and a reassessment of how security is prioritized within an organization.

Front-loading security assessments and building security into the development process ensures that products remain free of vulnerabilities without compromising efficiency. Cybersecurity is everyone's responsibility, not just the security team's.

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