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Why It's Important to Train More Than Just Developers

Why It's Important to Train More Than Just Developers

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The Software Development Life Cycle is a complex process that involves many different roles. Traditionally, application security training has focused on developers. However, in today's world, it's also important to train non-developers on application security. 

In this article, we’ll dive into who is in the SDLC and why training non-developers on application security is essential. 


Who is in the SDLC? 

The SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) is a process software development teams use to design, build, test, and deploy software.  

The SDLC typically has six phases: 

  1. Planning 
  2. Analysis 
  3. Design 
  4. Development 
  5. Testing 
  6. Deployment 

The SDLC is a cyclical process that can be repeated as needed to update or maintain the software. 

When it comes to application development, many people believe that the developers who write the code are the only important players in the process. However, the SDLC is complex and involves various roles contributing to its success. Some of these roles require technical skills, while others do not. Regardless, every role is crucial to ensure the security and triumph of the project. 

A few roles within the SDLC include: 

  • Project Managers 
  • Business Analysts 
  • Software Architects 
  • Developers 
  • User Experience Designers 
  • Database Administrators 
  • Engineers 
  • DevOps/DevSecOps 


Why It's Important to Train More Than Just Developers 

When considering ways to decrease application security risks, it's important to prioritize training your development team on secure coding strategies. This is crucial in building a strong foundation for creating safer applications.  

However, it's important to remember that achieving truly secure apps requires the collaboration of a team of security-focused professionals. To make this happen, ensuring that everyone involved in the software development life cycle receives training on application security principles and strategies is necessary. 

Align Teams Across the Organization 

When everyone in the SDLC has the same, or similar, foundational training, it’s easier for teams to collaborate on projects because they use the same terminology and work off of the same base knowledge. 

Developers Are Not the Only Ones Who Can Introduce Security Vulnerabilities to Applications 

Anyone who touches an application, from architects to testers to DevOps engineers, has the potential to introduce a security vulnerability. 

A Security-First Culture Is Essential for Effective AppSec 

By training everyone who touches an application, organizations can create a security-first culture that helps to prevent security vulnerabilities from being introduced in the first place. 

Meet Compliance Requirements 

In order to meet specific compliance standards set by organizations such as PCI and SEC, it is necessary for not only developers but also other individuals to receive training on data security, privacy, and best practices. 

Training Non-Developers Can Help to Improve the Efficiency of AppSec Efforts 

By having a more holistic approach to AppSec, organizations can identify and address security vulnerabilities more quickly and efficiently. 

Code Reviews Are Only as Good as The Reviewer 

Code reviews are a common practice within the code development process; according to a recent EMA report, 95.3% of organizations utilize code reviews for secure coding. But how do you ensure your code reviews are effective and that your reviewers can detect existing and emerging vulnerabilities? The answer is to train your employees tasked with code reviews continually. The key you should know about code reviews – the review is only as good as the reviewer.   

Read More About Code Reviews: How To Improve Your Code Reviews   


How to Train Non-Developers in the SDLC 

When tasked to train non-developers on application security, it can be challenging to determine where to start. Non-developers cannot be assigned the same learning content as developers because they don’t have the coding knowledge for hands-on activities and events such as Capture the Flag. 

Learn More About Security Journey’s AppSec Training Content 

Most training for non-developers will be video-based with more simple knowledge assessments. Still, it’s important to note that not all AppSec training vendors have non-developer content within their library. 

Here are some AppSec training topics to consider for non-developers: 

  • Core Security Concepts - Basic understanding of security concepts such as threats, vulnerabilities, and risks. 
  • AppSec Risk Management - How to identify and assess security risks. 
  • OWASP Top 10 – The most common security vulnerabilities 
  • Threat Modeling - A process for identifying and mitigating security risks 
  • Secure Design Principles - Including things like input validation, output encoding, and session management 
  • Securing the Development Environment -Topics like configuring firewalls, installing security software, and using secure coding practices 

It’s vital to ensure that the training is relevant to the specific roles and responsibilities of the people being trained. For example, an architect might need training on security design principles; a tester might need training on identifying security vulnerabilities, and a DevOps engineer might need training on configuring applications securely. 


Bring Your SDLC Together 

By providing proven and effective application security training, such as the content offered by Security Journey, your entire SDLC can adopt a security-first mindset. This approach is essential for organizations that want to consistently deliver safer applications across all departments and teams involved in the SDLC.  

To explore more about the essential tools that can assist you in running your program, feel free to contact us for a personalized demo of our AppSec Education Platform.