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How to Train Developers in Secure Code

How to Train Developers in Secure Code

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Cyberattacks are a constant threat in today's digital landscape, and vulnerable code is a major entry point for malicious actors. The cost of data breaches can be devastating, impacting not just finances but also reputation and customer trust.   

While developers are the backbone of application development, they're often not cybersecurity experts. However, their choices during the development process can have significant security ramifications.   

In this article, we'll review how to train developers in secure coding.  


Why Traditional Training Methods Fall Short  

Traditional training methods often fall short. Generic content, long lectures, and irrelevant examples make it difficult for developers to learn and retain secure coding practices. Training should be engaging, informative, and tailored to the specific tools and technologies developers use daily.  

Investing in secure coding training empowers your developers to write code that is resistant to attacks, significantly reducing the attack surface and protecting your organization's valuable data and systems.    

Read The Article: Is Annual Secure Coding Training Enough? Experts Say No. 


Keys to Successful Secure Coding Training  

Secure coding training is vital in secure software development. Traditional methods don't engage developers, leading to poor security understanding, so let's look at 3 keys to successful secure coding training: 



Ditch the dull lectures and forget generic examples! Make learning fun and engaging with gamification. Think points, badges, and leaderboards to turn security training into a friendly competition amongst developers. Take it further and create coding challenges or capture the flag (CTF) exercises designed to test and develop secure coding skills in a gamified environment.  

This not only injects an element of fun but also fosters a sense of community and healthy competition.  



Developers are more likely to retain information when it's presented in bite-sized, focused lessons. Microlearning approaches, where developers can consume short bursts of security training throughout the day, are perfect for busy schedules and ensure regular knowledge reinforcement.   


Realistic Environments 

And since developers live and breathe code, give them the opportunity to learn and practice with hands-on, realistic environments. Ground your training in the most common vulnerabilities (like the OWASP Top 10) and showcase real-world exploits alongside the code fixes that prevent them. This way, developers can see the tangible impact of secure coding and how it directly protects your applications.   

The most successful training will be tailored to the specific programming languages and frameworks your team uses and will give your developers hands-on experience creating secure code from the start. 

Read The Article: 7 Steps to Build a Proactive Secure Coding Training Program 


Building a Secure Coding Culture  

Creating a secure coding culture is essential for embedding secure coding practices into your development lifecycle. Here's how to achieve it:  


Leadership Buy-in  

Secure coding initiatives need strong backing from leadership. When executives emphasize the importance of security, it sends a clear message that security is not an afterthought but a core value. This cultural shift is crucial for changing priorities and making security an integral part of the development process; not a burden tacked onto the end.  


Collaboration, Not Blame  

Foster a collaborative environment where developers feel comfortable reporting vulnerabilities without fear of blame. Recognize and reward developers who identify and fix security issues. This will encourage open communication and proactive problem-solving, ultimately leading to more secure code.  


Security Champions  

Identify developers with a passion for security and empower them to become champions within the team. These champions can mentor their peers, answer security-related questions, and evangelize secure coding best practices. This creates a sense of ownership and accountability within the development team, promoting a culture of security from the ground up.  


Choosing Secure Coding Training Options  

According to the latest EMA report, 64% of the cybersecurity training provided to employees was developed in-house. But is this the best approach for organizational secure coding training?  

Read The Full Comparison Article: In-House vs. Vendor: Which is the Best Way to Provide Secure Coding Training? 

Let's compare the experience of creating in-house secure coding training with hiring an external vendor: 


In-House Secure Coding Training Development  

Internal company employees develop and deploy training content for secure coding in in-house training programs. This can be accomplished by creating content from scratch or selecting specific modules from online learning platforms. 

The primary purpose of offering in-house secure coding training is to equip developers and software experts with the skills and knowledge needed to write secure code without relying on outside consultants. An HR/Training department employee, such as a Training Manager, or a security professional, such as a Security Engineer, usually organizes this training. 


Secure Coding Training Vendor  

A secure coding training provider is a company that offers training resources and materials on secure coding practices to developers and other software professionals. These providers typically maintain a collection of training content on their platform, which organizations can access through paid subscriptions or licenses. 

The cost of using a secure coding training vendor can vary based on several key factors. These include the vendor's experience in the field, the trainers' expertise and qualifications, the training content's quality and comprehensiveness, and the available delivery options, such as instructor-led or self-paced training. 


Educating Developers with Secure Coding Training 

Investing in secure coding training is crucial for organizations looking to protect their applications and data from cyber threats. Whether organizations choose in-house development or partner with a secure coding training vendor, the goal is to equip developers with the skills and knowledge to write secure code, reduce the attack surface, and safeguard the organization's valuable assets. 

To learn more about building the most effective secure coding training program, download our free guide, Seven Steps to an Ideal Secure Coding Training Program, or contact our team today for the full 14-page Ideal Secure Coding Training Program Guide