Secure Code Warrior

Why secure code is the new success metric in software development

In the last few years, many things have been sacrificed on the altar of speed-to-market—things like network security, terabytes of sensitive customer data and priceless brand reputations.

In the last few years, many things have been sacrificed on the altar of speed-to-market—things like network security, terabytes of sensitive customer data and priceless brand reputations. Intense pressure to accelerate the release of new features and functions has led to complex, distributed teams focused on rapid development, with little awareness of the vulnerabilities they could create or the enormous risks. More than ever before, a new way of working is required. So in 2020, Secure Code Warrior engaged with Evans Data Corp. to conduct primary research* into developers' and their managers’ attitudes towards secure coding, secure code practices, and security operations (Download your copy of the whitepaper here).

Performance Indicators for project success – where does security fit? 

Developers and managers think having secure code is important – but just not nearly as important as other factors. When we asked developers and managers  about the most critical priorities in the software development process:

  • 76% nominated application performance 
  • 62% picked features and functionality
  • And a little over 50% selected secure code

Compared to other performance indicators for project success, secure coding currently comes in a distant third.

At present – and perhaps unsurprisingly – developers judge a project's success on performance indicators that only assess the code after the project is finished. 

However, when asked about how this might change in the future, the picture flips on its head. How organizations approach security as a metric for success is changing. Secure coding is becoming a greater priority. 

When asked about the most critical priorities for measuring project success in the future, 79% of those surveyed agree that secure coding will increase in importance. What’s striking is that a more significant percentage see security's importance in the future increasing more than that of any other performance indicator.  Awareness of secure coding is growing, as is a movement to ‘shifting left’. By its very nature, the practice of secure coding means considering security much earlier in the SDLC. It means actively building security in as software as is written, from the start, instead of leaving this to later. 

As CIOs strive to make their organizations more agile, secure coding capabilities will become a vital innovation weapon. CIOs and CISOs should think carefully about whether their development teams are the first line of risk or their first line of defense. 

This insight has critical implications for how organizations train their developers. Teams need to learn about recently identified vulnerabilities and learn in their own languages/frameworks. In short, they need to understand how to locate, identify and fix known vulnerabilities in code in the context they work in every day. 

As champions of change in secure coding, Secure Code Warrior takes a human-led approach that actively engages developers to learn and build their secure coding skills. If you'd like to see the potential impact on your teams' ability to start left and ship secure code faster without compromising security, book a demo now.

*Shifting from reaction to prevention: The changing face of application security. Secure Code Warrior and Evans Data Corp. 2020