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Is Annual Secure Coding Training Enough? Experts Say No.

Is Annual Secure Coding Training Enough? Experts Say No.

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In this era of cyberattacks, secure coding—the practice of intentionally developing software with security at the forefront—isn't a luxury; it's a necessity. However, the idea that a yearly secure coding training session can future-proof your company is a dangerous misconception. Relying solely on a single annual training session leaves your company vulnerable to the rapidly evolving landscape of cyber threats. 

The truth is, for consistent and robust security, your secure coding training program should be ongoing throughout the year. This approach keeps your developers updated with the latest security practices and ingrains secure coding as a natural part of their workflow, enhancing your organization's overall security posture.  

Read The Article: 4 Reasons to Prioritize Application Security in 2024 

In this article, we’ll explain why your secure coding training program will be more effective as a continuous, multi-year approach rather than a single, yearly initiative. 


What Does Continuous Secure Coding Training Mean? 

Continuous secure coding training is not just about occasional workshops. It's a proactive approach that empowers your developers to embed security directly into the development workflow. They receive ongoing education on common vulnerabilities like SQL injection and cross-site scripting, learning how to prevent them from the start.  

Read the Article: Just-In-Time vs Proactive Secure Code Training 

Continuous secure coding training is designed to be engaging and practical. It uses interactive lessons, simulations, and hands-on exercises, providing developers a dynamic learning experience. Importantly, it's not a one-time event. Continuous reinforcement through regular sessions and access to up-to-date resources keeps security top-of-mind. It helps developers make secure coding instinctive, significantly reducing the risk of security vulnerabilities in your software.  

On average, our customers at Security Journey report spending 12 hours annually on secure coding training. This time can be taken in large chunks, such as during Cybersecurity Awareness Month, or broken down into 15-minute weekly sessions. 

Key training elements in a successful, secure coding training program might include: 

  • Access to lessons - Adjusted based on need, role, or topic 
  • Hands-on practice - Real-world simulations to build defensive coding skills 
  • Up-to-date resources – Most current guidelines, news articles, and best practices 
  • Internal security champions – Team members leading secure coding awareness 


Examples of Continuous Secure Coding Training 

Suppose your organization is used to hosting annual secure coding training sessions. It may feel overwhelming to think about expanding that into a continuous program, but it all comes down to your overall program goals. 

Focusing on one or two program goals can help you measure key performance indicators and better determine the success of your program.   

We usually see three main program goals from our clients:  

  • Meeting Regulatory Compliance 
  • Creating a Proactive Program  
  • Recovering from an Incident or Vulnerability 

Once you have your goal, you can coordinate the training content deployed throughout the year. 

Let's break down some examples: 

  • Meeting Regulatory Compliance: Start with a compliance content refresh every year, then focus on progressive language-specific content and critical threats to your product in the second half of the year. 
  • Creating a Proactive Program—Focus on moving from foundational through advanced training content that is role-specific or language-specific for the learner. Then, include content covering the OWASP Top 10 and critical threats to your product. 
  • Recovering from an Incident or Vulnerability—Focus on your product's top threats and vulnerabilities while broadening your developer's skillsets through progressive learning. 

With continuous secure coding training, you can not only meet your organization's immediate needs but also broaden your team's skills for long-term benefits to product security. 

Download The Guide For More Details: Seven Steps to an Ideal Secure Coding Training Program 


Benefits of Continuous Secure Coding Training 

The cybersecurity landscape relentlessly evolves, with new vulnerabilities, sophisticated attacks, and constantly changing technologies emerging. One-off training leaves developers ill-equipped, while continuous secure coding training empowers them to stay ahead of evolving threats.  

This approach minimizes errors caused by oversight or tight deadlines by consistently reinforcing best practices. Developers integrate secure coding into their natural workflow, transforming it into a core habit rather than a disruptive afterthought. This proactive stance dramatically reduces the likelihood and impact of software vulnerabilities, saving substantial costs associated with post-deployment remediation.  

Here are the key benefits: 

  • Significantly reduces risk - Proactive security minimizes the potential for breaches and sensitive data loss 
  • Lowers costs dramatically - Prevents expensive fixes, potential fines, and damage to your organization's reputation 
  • Empowers developers - Builds security expertise, leading to higher overall code quality 
  • Creates a resilient culture - Security becomes a shared organizational priority, not a mere afterthought

Continuous training fosters a security-conscious culture where developers take ownership of secure practices, boosting morale and increasing organizational resilience. This translates into more secure software from the outset, reducing the need for costly patches and safeguarding your data and reputation. 


Continuous Secure Coding Training is Key 

One-off training sessions are insufficient in today's cybersecurity landscape. Embrace a genuine shift in mindset, where continuous secure coding training becomes the cornerstone of your development culture.  

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 for the full 14-page Ideal Secure Coding Training Program Guide today.