/apr 8, 2020

Lessons From the Accelerated Shift to Digital

By Meaghan Mcbee

Entering 2020, digital transformation was already at the top of the to-do list for many organizations. For those who lagged, it’s quickly becoming priority number one.

As much of our daily life and work goes virtual to during the pandemic, some markets are getting hit hard. In addition, the bad guys won’t take a break – we’ve seen an uptick in cyberattacks while IT systems and processes are stretched thin to handle this new normal. Cyber criminals are even pretending to be the World Health Organization (WHO) in an effort to gain private information.

Companies are finding that they must act quickly to keep up with both the new digital demand and the increased risks caused by malicious actors. For many, it means a herculean effort to combat service interruptions and data leaks that have forced them to become reactive instead of proactive in their efforts.

While it’s positive that this is prompting security self-awareness, the situation leaves a looming question of how other organizations can approach AppSec in today’s world and highlights the ongoing struggle between development speed and security.

Shift left to stay secure

It’s an age-old tale for organizations big and small: security should never sleep. Acknowledging application security issues and working on improving safety is a step in the right direction, but recent events serve as a reminder that prioritizing AppSec from day one is critical. Reacting to security issues is simply not a sustainable model; prevention is key.

Part of the solution is teaching developers to find and fix flaws sooner. “When companies consistently review their product for flaws and train their developers to spot these flaws earlier – or to avoid introducing such vulnerabilities in the first place – they can save a lot of time and effort, and ultimately better serve their customers,” explains Fletcher Heisler, Director of Developer Enablement at Veracode.

Shifting left to include security at the beginning of the software development lifecycle (SDLC) is one way that many organizations are tackling this issue to ensure their developers are writing more secure code. Hands-on interactive training tools like Veracode Security Labs help teach developers to code more securely as they work by using real-world exploits that they can learn to patch. By sharpening their skills, your developers are part of the frontline defense against malicious actors.

Scan early, scan often

The cadence and speed of security scans are other important pieces of the puzzle when closing gaps in security. Our 10th annual State of Software Security report (SOSS) highlights why this is so crucial – our analysis found that organizations that scan their code the most frequently (more than 300 times a year) carry five times less security debt than those that scan the least. That’s five times less risk organizations (and their customers) carry.

The key? Embracing DevSecOps and that important ‘shift left’ mentality. When DevSecOps processes and best practices are implemented, development teams see a security flaw fix rate that’s 11.5 times faster than teams that haven’t embraced a proactive DevSecOps approach.

Tackling software development with this mindset not only reduces the number of flaws during production and speeds up fix rate, but also it saves money and time down the road. Without mounting security debt and the growing risk of a breach, organizations are able to focus on innovating to improve features and enhance their products. This way, they build trust in their brand and deploy better solutions with confidence.

We're fortunate to live at a time when technology is an enabler – many businesses continue to support their customers while driving innovation and change. We've seen it in our own data: our Static Analysis scan numbers reached an all-time high in March. That tells us our customers are buckling down, concentrating on software security, and making sure they are there for their customers, too. Read on for more information about how we're here to help. 

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By Meaghan Mcbee

Meaghan McBee is a Senior Content Marketing Manager at Veracode, responsible for creating content around best practices in application security and the current state of DevSecOps.