Four Practical Ways To Make Your Software More Secure
Software security can make or break your business. Implementing security into the development process and consistent training can help you keep your product safe.
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Our ever-increasing reliance on technology has made software security more crucial than ever. Business owners and individuals use software every day, and that isn’t changing any time soon.
Developers are responsible for creating software that can stand up against a wide range of attacks from countless potential sources.
If security is flimsy and your product is easy to exploit, there’s a good chance a hacker will eventually successfully attack your software. The results of a full-scale breach could be devastating. For context, it’s expected that advertisers alone will lose over $100 billion to fraud and hackers in 2023.
But the consequences go far deeper than that.
Your customers could have their personal data compromised, understandably making them lose trust in your business. You could also lose proprietary code and years of hard work.
None of these situations are ideal, so it’s easy to see why a strong security plan for your software is important.
The reality is that no software is entirely immune to cyber attacks. However, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of an attack. Today, we’ll explore four practical ways to make your software more secure.
Build Security Into Your Design
When developing your software, security should never be an afterthought — it should be woven into the very fabric of everything that you do. It doesn’t matter if you’re creating a lead generation tool or the next music streaming app for consumers; security must be on your mind.
I recommend periodically performing risk assessments during the design and development process so you can identify potential vulnerabilities before they become a bigger problem.
Not only will this strategy improve the quality of your product, but it will also save your team time and effort if they can address an issue before piling on more code.
You should also use secure, trusted software architecture patterns to avoid unforeseen results. Experimenting with something new may seem like a good idea, but if you’re uncomfortable with a type of architecture, you will have trouble identifying and fixing vulnerabilities as they arise.
Put plainly, a proactive approach to security during development protects users’ information and reduces the time and effort spent on addressing issues post-launch.
Insist on Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Multi-factor authentication is one of the most effective ways to protect your software from bad actors. This security mechanism requires users to verify their identity with their email address or phone before logging in.
I’m a big fan of this strategy because it drastically reduces the risk of unauthorized access and protects our software against password-based attacks (also called brute force attacks), which have become more sophisticated and common in recent years.
Insisting that your users and employees use MFA is crucial in safely managing data and keeping hackers from accessing their accounts.
Let’s say someone does manage to guess a password and log in to an account. They still can’t move forward unless they have access to the user’s email address or phone number. In other words, they’re stopped in their tracks.
The best thing you can do is make MFA a part of the signup process for employees and customers. Ask them to enter a secondary form of verification, and you can have peace of mind knowing that these accounts, and their data, are a little safer.
Keep Your Software Up to Date
Keeping your site updated and accessible isn’t just a suggestion — it’s a necessity. New types of attacks and viruses come to light every day. Not regularly patching the walls of your software could leave you vulnerable to new threats.
Hackers are quite literally known for picking at sites or software and exploiting weaknesses, which makes outdated software a prime target. Regularly installing security updates can protect these entry points and help you improve your software.
Maintain a proactive approach to updates by gathering user feedback so you can find any weaknesses noted by your users. For instance, you could install a bug/glitch feedback button on your blog so people can quickly and easily share their experiences.
I also suggest reading cybersecurity news so you can learn about emerging threats. The only way to know what’s coming is to keep your eyes on trends throughout your industry. By the time something becomes a well-known problem, your team will already have a fix halfway finished.
Invest in Cybersecurity Training for Your Team
Finally, your team’s security knowledge is vital for keeping your software secure. Investing in cybersecurity training is a great way to ensure your employees are well-equipped to tackle the challenges ahead.
Educating your team brings a sense of empowerment and helps them recognize and react to potential threats. The mistake many developers and IT professionals make is they think security training is only important when someone is hired.
I firmly believe that security training should be ongoing. We have a security meeting every two months so we can discuss the latest trends, updates, and potential vulnerabilities. These meetings keep all of us on the same page, which saves us time and effort.
There are plenty of ways you can help your team improve their cybersecurity skills and knowledge. Webinars, online classes, and hands-on tutorials are three viable options you should consider. These methods immerse your team in real-world scenarios, which will help them prepare for actual encounters with hackers or phishing scams.
Regardless of how you train your team, I advise giving everyone time to ask questions. You want to make things crystal clear for your employees so they can do everything in their power to monitor and improve software security.
There’s no question that software security is an ongoing process. Using the tips I outlined today, I think you’ll have a better shot at avoiding attacks from basic cybercriminals. I suggest furthering your own education and learning everything you can about software vulnerabilities so you continue to win over your audience and provide meaningful guidance for your employees.
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