Software permeates every aspect of our lives in 2021. Our computers, mobile devices, cars, and even our televisions run complex software. Software isn’t something we just encounter in mundane areas of our lives though. It is vital for many of the things that keep us and our personal information safe, like security systems, banking, and medical devices.
While we all have some responsibility for keeping our software, data, and private information secure, the security foundation for software is laid during the development process. From the time the first line of code is written to the moment the final software product is launched, secure software development practices are indispensable.
Over the course of the last few decades, secure custom software development services has risen in priority for software developers and now must be the number one consideration in all software development. It has been too important to ignore for a long time but now, it is too important to not do impeccably. Here are just a few of the reasons why secure software development is essential in 2021.
More Users than Ever
The global COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed so much about our lives and the role of software is no exception. One of the biggest things that quarantine and work-from-home orders did to society is to change our relationship with software. While many people were already actively and knowingly engaging with software on a regular basis, there were still plenty of people who were not.
All that changed in 2020. People who previously may have shied away from fully engaging with technology and software-based products were now forced to rely on them. Meetings are now conducted via collaboration software, and that new sweater no longer comes from a trip to the mall but from logging onto a software-based app.
This newfound reliance on software was an opportunity for many companies and software developers. Unfortunately, cybercriminals saw it as an opportunity as well. The increase in software users sent cybercrime soaring in 2020 and the attacks will not slow down in 2021. It is up to software developers to do the best job they can securing software from its creation to protect all these users, both new and old. Liventus has a useful guide to secure software development that goes into more detail, with tips for developers.
Sophisticated Cybersecurity Threats
The days of cybercriminals simply sending people malicious phishing emails and hoping people click on the link are behind us. While this form of social engineering attack is still very popular, some attacks are much more sophisticated. While software developers can only do so much to prevent the former, they need to be up to the task to prevent the latter.
Cyberattacks that involve techniques such as cross-site scripting used to be considered cutting edge. These attacks involve hackers finding unsecured areas of a site and inputting new lines of malicious code that change the way the site behaves. This can route access information or sensitive data right to the criminals. Today, in 2021, attacks like these are much more common and there are many more, even newer, and more sophisticated attack methods being used all the time.
The best way to stop new and complicated attacks is to develop software in a secure manner. Building code as unassailable as possible and allowing for quick and effective patches when the newest threat rears its head are two ways that developers can help fight these complex attacks before they happen.
Monetary Cost of a Security Breach
Software security breaches cost companies money, plain and simple. In fact, they cost organizations a lot of money. The average security breach in 2020 cost a business $3.86 million. Interestingly, that number is down from $3.92 million in 2019, but when you look at the reasons behind this, the need for secure software development becomes even more apparent.
This number went down in 2020 because giant corporations are doing a better job minimizing losses. If you took these corporate conglomerates out of the equation though, that number would go up dramatically. Small to medium-sized enterprises (SME) and certain vulnerable industries lost a lot more than average from cyberattacks in 2020. For example, the average data breach in the healthcare industry costs well over $7 million on average.
Huge companies may use proprietary software and they likely have an army of IT professionals that can mitigate the losses from attacks. Everyone else has to rely on software developers to create the most secure software possible in the development process in order to stay safe and protect their bottom line.
Reputational Cost of High Profile Security Breach
The cost of a security breach comes from IT and legal fees, possible regulatory fines, system downtime, and more. One of the biggest issues that factor into these enormous losses from cyberattacks is lost business due to a tarnished reputation. In 2021, big cyberattacks are big news. When news gets out that customer data has or may have been compromised, business can really suffer.
A damaged reputation thanks to a security breach can increase customer turnover, tank stock prices, and create increased financial strain associated with going after new business as opposed to retaining a customer. And it is not just the company using the software that can have their reputation tarnished and lose business.
The software development company is very vulnerable in these situations as well. No one wants to use software that is known to have been compromised by cybercriminals. One too many breaches related to unsecure software development can put a software developer out of business.
Secure software development has always been important. In 2021, it is essential. Software that isn’t developed securely can lead to successful cyberattacks and data breaches. These attacks are more common than ever because of the massive increase in software use and online transactions–and they are more sophisticated than ever. And the breaches can lead to the loss of money, and the loss of a stellar reputation both for the company using the software and the company that created it.