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Just-In-Time vs Proactive Secure Code Training: Which One Should You Choose?

Just-In-Time vs Proactive Secure Code Training: Which One Should You Choose?

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In the world of software development, security is of utmost importance. With the increasing number of cyberattacks and data breaches, it has become essential for organizations to prioritize application security. However, ensuring the security of software applications is no easy task. It requires a comprehensive approach that involves integrating security practices into every stage of the software development lifecycle.  

However, there is a debate between just-in-time training and a more proactive approach. In this article, we’ll break down the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of just-in-time vs proactive secure code training. 


What is Just-In-Time Secure Code Training? 

Just-in-Time (JIT) Secure Code Training is a technique that involves providing developers with relevant training and resources while they are performing a specific task or addressing a vulnerability. To put it simply, just-in-time training is like watching a 'How To' video on one screen while working on your project on another screen simultaneously. 


Advantages of Just-In-Time Secure Code Training 

This approach aims to provide developers with the knowledge and skills they need to secure their code and fix vulnerabilities as they arise, and it has several advantages.  

  • Relevant to the Task at Hand - Developers can apply the knowledge they gain immediately to facilitate quick fixes, which can be particularly important in time-sensitive situations.  
  • Targeted Learning - JIT training focuses explicitly on the issue/vulnerability at hand. This eliminates information overload from lengthy, comprehensive courses. 

Disadvantages of Just-In-Time Secure Code Training 

However, there are also some potential drawbacks to just-in-time training.  

  • Low Knowledge Retention – JIT training may not instill fundamental security concepts in developers. This could lead to a lack of understanding of the underlying principles and a failure to apply them effectively in different contexts.  
  • Reactive Approach – JIT training is focused on vulnerabilities that have already been introduced. This means that it may not be effective in preventing other vulnerabilities from being introduced. 
  • Recurring Vulnerabilities - Developers may not have a deep understanding of the underlying issues and may, therefore, apply the same fixes repeatedly without addressing the root cause of the problem. 

Overall, just-in-time training can be a valuable tool in an AppSec program. It provides developers with contextualized knowledge to help them fix vulnerabilities quickly and effectively. However, it is important to recognize its limitations and to supplement it with other forms of training and education to ensure that developers have a deep understanding of security principles and can apply them consistently across different contexts. 

Is Regulation the Consequence of Complacency in Securing Code? Read Ponemon Institute’s Latest Study Here 


Proactive Secure Code Training 

Proactive Secure Code Training teaches developers how to build secure applications from the ground up by integrating security practices into every stage of the software development lifecycle. Think about taking a training lesson about a specific vulnerability and then later being able to identify that vulnerability. 

Read More: Secure Coding Training: A Must During The Vulnerability Patching Crisis 

This approach also helps minimize the risk of vulnerabilities being introduced into the application, which can save time and resources by reducing the need for costly remediation efforts. 


Advantages of Proactive Secure Code Training 

  • Building Foundational Security Knowledge - This knowledge helps developers understand the potential security risks associated with different coding practices and how to address them effectively. 
  • Promotes a Secure Development Mindset – Dedicating time and attention to security training encourages developers to think about security throughout the entire development process. 
  • Reduce Overall Vulnerabilities - By identifying and addressing security issues early in the development process, the development team can avoid costly and time-consuming remediation efforts. 
  • Fills Cybersecurity Skills Gap – There is currently a cybersecurity skills shortage, proactive training can help expand your team’s skillset without having to increase your headcount. 
  • Investments in your Talent – Proactive training is a long-term investment to grow your talent on your team, eventually becoming Security Champions. 

Disadvantages of Proactive Secure Code Training 

Despite its many benefits, there are some things to consider for proactive Secure Code training. 

  • Dedicated Time Commitments – When prioritizing proactive training, organizations may spend more time on training in the long run to help build that knowledge. 
  • Continuous Training – Because you are preparing your developers in advance, ongoing reinforcement may be necessary to maintain the benefits of the training. 

However, the benefits of proactive Secure Code training outweigh the potential downsides. It improves security, reduces vulnerabilities, and reduces remediation costs over time. Therefore, it should be made a priority by all development teams. 


Why Proactive Secure Code Training is Better 

Developing secure software requires a proactive approach to security. Proactive Secure Code training helps establish security as an integral part of the development process rather than an afterthought, turning security into a culture.  

While proactive training may have a higher initial cost, it ultimately reduces the number of software vulnerabilities, saving significant remediation costs in the long run. According to a 2023 study by EMA, 60% of organizations adopting continuous training realized great improvements in their code security. 

Additionally, secure development practices free up developers and security teams to focus on innovation instead of repeatedly fixing security issues. By prioritizing proactive security measures, organizations can ensure the long-term security of their software products while creating a culture of security awareness and innovation. 


Build a Secure Code Training Program That Works 

The decision between just-in-time and proactive Secure Code training isn't an either/or situation. They can work in tandem.  

However, it's critical to remember that reactive responses alone fall short when aiming for true application security resilience. Investing in proactive Secure Code training empowers developers to make security-conscious choices from the first line of code.  

If you’re ready to get started on a program that works for your team, you can learn more about our Application Security Education Platform or talk to our team of experts today.