Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)

Application security is an essential part of developing modern software. As the internet increases in complexity, attackers are turning more and more to known security flaws and vulnerabilities in programs themselves. To avoid data breaches, companies need to build security into all the phases of building, testing, and deploying their software.

SDLCs are a series of steps that govern the process of creating and maintaining software.

One way to plan for this is to examine the software development lifecycle, or SDLC.

What is a Software Development Life Cycle?

SDLC Meaning:

The software development lifecycle (SDLC) is the series of steps an organization follows to develop and deploy its software. There isn't a single, unified software development lifecycle. Rather, there are several frameworks and models that development teams follow to create, test, deploy, and maintain software.

A powerful cloud-based platform like Veracode’s can help your organization turn the software development lifecycle into a secure software development lifecycle. Sign up for a demo to see how our static analysis tool, dynamic analysis tool, and manual penetration testing can strengthen your application's security.

How Veracode Products Fit Into The SDLC

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Software Development Methodologies

The most frequently used software development models include:


Waterfall Development Process

In the waterfall methodology, the development process only progresses to the next phase when all work is completed. This means a slower, but more complete single release.


Agile Development Process

The agile framework is built around rapid change and continuous improvement. Agile developers collaborate constantly, developing a framework with a clear set of principles and objectives to guide their flexible development process.

Lean Software Development (LSD)

Lean Software Development

This adaptation of lean manufacturing techniques aims to establish an efficient development culture by eliminating waste and amplifying learning and other techniques intended to view development as broadly as possible.

Iterative Development

Iterative Software Development

As opposed to waterfall development, an iterative approach focuses on short development cycles and incremental development. Iterative development is ideal for large projects as it incorporates repeated smaller software development cycles during each release.

Spiral Development

Spiral Software Development

The spiral methodology often relies on some of the other frameworks, such as Agile or DevOps, depending on the components or projects. The spiral framework is a risk-based approach that helps determine the right choices for the situation at hand.

V-Model Development

V Model Software Development

An extension of the waterfall methodology, the V-model involves testing methods. As its name suggests, it uses a V-shaped model for validation purposes.

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SDLC Process

An effective software development lifecycle delivers high-quality software with fewer resources required. By integrating automated security testing into the SDLC, you can also ensure that your product has fewer security flaws and vulnerabilities for attackers to exploit.

Below, we offer an overview of each phase of the software development process, along with best practices and security tools.

Phase One: Planning

In the planning phase, an organization identifies the contents, timeline, purpose, and other elements of the release. Planning involves collecting requirements, establishing benchmarks, identifying key dates, and other activities.

Best Practices

  • Make sure the program satisfies business requirements
  • Apply secure design and threat modeling as needed
  • Ensure the right language is used in the development process
  • Use appropriate mapping for testing purposes

Security Tools

Veracode eLearning can teach developers to build secure architecture and include threat modeling in the planning phase.

Phase Two: Code and Build

Phase two is what non-experts typically think of as software development. Programmers and software engineers write the code for the application, adhering to the requirements and other concerns established in planning.

Best Practices

  • Train coders in secure development
  • Find and fix defects while writing code
  • Ensure security of open-source components
  • Reduce test time

Security Tools

With Veracode's static analysis IDE scan, your developers can find security defects, receive contextual guidance, and apply fixes in seconds in your existing development environment.

The Pipeline Scan runs on every build and provides fast feedback in an average of 90 seconds, making it easier to meet DevSecOps requirements so that developers can fix flaws quickly right in the pipeline without stopping production.

The Veracode Developer Sandbox can also be a boon to development teams, making it easy to assess new code before committing it to the master branch without affecting compliance reporting.

Did You Know?


Developers who receive eLearning fix 19% more flaws.

Source: Veracode.


Phase Three: Test

Testing is an essential part of any software development lifecycle. In addition to security testing, performance tests, unit tests, and non-functional testing such as interface testing all take place in this phase.

Best Practices

  • Use multiple testing methods for security testing
  • Comprehensive performance, functional, unit, and integration testing are important

Security Tools

Veracode's powerful static analysis tool streamlines security testing, providing quick and accurate results with in-context guidance on how to fix vulnerabilities.

Did You Know?

Scanning frequently reduces the time it takes to remediate 50% of flaws by 22.5 days.

Source: Veracode SOSS v11.

Phase Four: Stage

In staging, the development team places the software onto production servers. Staging involves packaging and managing files and deploying complex releases in multiple environments.

Best Practices

  • Progress and component tracking
  • Automated release processes
  • Security testing and quality checks

Did You Know?

43% of organizations believe DevOps integration is most important to improving AppSec programs.

43% of organizations believe DevOps integration is most important to improving AppSec programs.

Source: ESG, Modern Application Development Security, August 2020.

Phase Five: Deploy and Monitor

Once the release is finished and customers have begun using it, the development team monitors its performance.

Security Tools

Veracode's dynamic analysis tool finds, secures, and monitors all your web applications, reducing security risks. Manual penetration testing is another important tool for post-release security.

Did You Know?

80% of resolution time is spent identifying issues.

Source: DORA and Pullet Labs, 2017 State of DevOps Report

Lower performers spend up to 22% of their time on excess rework.

Source: Veracode

How to Establish a Secure SDLC Life Cycle

With the complexity of modern software, robust security testing is more important than ever. Instead of forcing developers to juggle multiple testing environments, Veracode can be integrated into every step of the software development lifecycle from planning to post-release monitoring. Learn more about our products or schedule a demo by contacting us today.

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Embedding Security Testing into Your SDLC

An effective AppSec initiative is one that incorporates key protection strategies into an SDLC approach. These include:

Unit Testing

Security Unit Testing
All security-sensitive code should have a corresponding test suite which verifies that every outcome of every security decision works properly. While this approach requires a good deal of effort, it greatly improves the odds of catching vulnerabilities before they emerge as actual breaches. An effective program recognizes a few things: No change in coding is too minor to ignore, any vulnerability can lead to a catastrophic failure, and it's critical to always run the entire test suite before moving any software into production. What's more, unit testing must be coordinated, and third-party vulnerabilities and risks must be addressed, as well.

Black Box Testing

Black Box Testing / Dynamic Testing
This approach, also known as dynamic analysis security testing (DAST), is a critical component for application security — and it’s an integral part of a SDLC framework. The technology looks for vulnerabilities that an attacker could exploit when an application is running in production. It runs in real-time and accomplishes the task without actual access to code and with no understanding of the underlying structure of the application. Simply put: It displays vulnerabilities — including input/output validation problems, server configuration mistakes or errors, and other application-specific problems — as an attacker would see them. Veracode's DAST solution offers comprehensive scanning of applications from inception through production. The black box analysis searches inside debug code, directories, leftover source code, and resource files to find SQL strings, ODBC connectors, hidden passwords or usernames, and other sensitive information that malicious individuals could use to hack an application.



As the digital age matures and as software code becomes part of every product, service, and business process, it's clear that there's a strong need for a comprehensive and holistic approach to application security. A business and security framework that revolves around a software development lifecycle is all about dollars and sense.


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