What is a Secure Software Development Life Cycle

by Sarah Harvey / January 29th, 2020

Have you ever worked on a project without a clear direction or guidelines? It can be stressful and pointlessly chaotic. Without structure and task lists, what could have been a basic project turns into a mess of miscommunication. The same principle applies to software development management.

In an age when software development is a core function of most organizations, specific and detailed processes need to be in place to ensure information systems are well developed. What is a secure software development life cycle (SDLC)? What should you include in your SDLC? Let’s talk through these software development life cycle basics.

What is a Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)?

A software development life cycle (SDLC) is a framework that helps define tasks and work phases that are used by system engineers and developers to plan, design, build, test, and deliver information systems.

Why is software development management important to your organization?

It’s about maintaining a secure environment that supports your business needs. It’s made up of policies, procedures, and standards that guide your organization’s secure software development processes.

What Are Some Secure Software Development Models?

There are many software development models that can be implemented in your organization. These methodologies include:

  • Waterfall
  • Agile
  • Lean Software Development
  • DevOps
  • Iterative Development
  • Spiral Development
  • V-Model Development


The waterfall is a sequential linear approach to development. A development project passes through clearly defined phases, each of which produces a deliverable that passes into the next phase. Phases include requirements, analysis, design, coding, testing, and operations. 


Agile development is an iterative and incremental approach to development. In contrast to the waterfall method, the process is broken into short sprints that combine aspects of all development phases. After each sprint, the stakeholders assess progress and set goals for the next. 

Lean Software Development

Lean Software Development attempts to reduce waste by eliminating activities that don’t provide direct value to the customer, including repeated work, ineffective communication, and some management activity.


DevOps combines the roles of software development and IT operations with the goal of accelerating the software development lifecycle. It is closely related to both agile and iterative development and is facilitated by cloud technologies and continuous integration and deployment software.

Iterative Development

Iterative Development uses short, repeated cycles to move from a minimal software solution to a complete product. Agile is an iterative development process.

Spiral Development

Spiral Development combines elements of iterative software development and the Waterfall model, focusing on risk reduction.

V-Model Development

V-Model Development is a modification of the Waterfall method that adds testing to each phase of the software development lifecycle.

SDLC Best Practices: The 5 Phases of a Secure Software Development Life Cycle

For whichever software development methodology your organization implements, you’ll find a common structure between the various models. These five phases of a software development life cycle can be identified in each methodology:

  1. Planning – Start your secure software development by mapping out a timeline, requirements, and any preliminary details necessary.
  2. Analysis – The organization defines objectives, project goals, and the functions and operations of the application.
  3. Design – Detailed screen layouts, business rules, process diagrams, pseudocode, and other documentation is laid out. Development begins and secure code is written.
  4. Implementation – Testing and integration bring all the pieces together in an environment that checks for errors, bugs, vulnerabilities, gaps, and interoperability.
  5. Maintenance – Once your software is developed, maintaining updates, performance evaluations, and making any changes to the initial software are key maintenance procedures.

How Will Software Development Management Make You More Secure?

The process of developing and building secure software can help your development team understand common security pitfalls to avoid. In the complex world of software development, it’s easy to miss issues in your code when you aren’t implementing a detailed plan of action.

By using the right tools to aid in secure software development, you can cut down on costs, increase efficiency, and implement continuous testing to reduce risk. If information security is your priority, you need to ensure your software development life cycle is up to standards. To learn more about security testing and third-party penetration testing, contact KirkpatrickPrice today. Let’s make sure your security practices are working for you, not against you.

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