Shifting left, reminiscent of Beyoncė’s famous song, Irreplaceable, is not just a passing trend but a fundamental shift in how we approach software development and security. Historically, security has often been an afterthought — a box to check once the software’s built. However, this reactive approach has proven inadequate in today’s cybersecurity landscape.
What is Shift Left?
Shifting left is a critical aspect of implementing security best practices. This approach involves integrating security considerations and practices from the very early stages of the software development life cycle (SDLC) rather than waiting until later stages of development or after deployment. By integrating security considerations and practices from the outset, organizations can proactively identify and address vulnerabilities, reducing the risk of security breaches and ensuring the development of robust, secure software.
Why is Shifting Left Important for Implementing Security Best Practices?
Shifting left is crucial for implementing security best practices because it addresses the limitations of the traditional approach where security was considered a separate phase of the SDLC, performed by a specialized team or external auditor. Waiting until later stages or until after deployment to consider security has several drawbacks. Firstly, remediating security issues discovered later in the SDLC can be time-consuming and costly. Additionally, addressing security issues after the software has been developed and deployed can result in poor user experiences, downtime, or data breaches, significantly impacting an organization’s reputation, financial stability, and customer trust.
Shifting left, on the other hand, helps address these challenges by embedding security practices into the development process from the get-go. This approach enables developers to catch security vulnerabilities earlier, before they are deeply ingrained in the codebase, and fix them more efficiently.
Top Five Benefits of Shift Left
Shifting left results in numerous benefits for organizations. The following represent the most significant of these benefits.
- Improved Security: Shifting left can help improve the security of your software applications. By integrating security considerations into every stage of the SDLC, developers can address potential security issues at every step, minimizing the chances of missed or ignored vulnerabilities.
- Cost-Effective: Shifting left is a cost-effective approach to implementing security best practices. By catching security issues early, you can save money on remediation costs and reduce the risk of expensive data breaches or downtime.
- Time-Efficient: Shifting left can save time in the development process. Addressing security vulnerabilities earlier in the SDLC can help avoid delays and time-consuming remediation efforts later in the development cycle. Additionally, integrating security considerations into development processes can reduce the time required to test and validate software applications.
- Increased Awareness: Shifting left can increase awareness of security issues among development teams. By encouraging developers to consider security throughout the SDLC, they can become more aware of potential vulnerabilities and how to address them. This approach can also create a culture of security within the organization, prioritizing security at every level.
- Compliance: Shifting left can help ensure compliance with industry regulations and standards. Many industries, such as healthcare and finance, are subject to strict regulatory requirements such as HIPAA, and non-compliance can result in heavy fines and legal repercussions. By integrating security best practices into the SDLC, organizations can demonstrate compliance with these standards, reducing the risk of penalties and reputational damage.
Prioritizing Security from the Start — The Power of Shifting Left
We all know how important security is when it comes to software development. That’s why shifting left is such a critical approach to implementing security best practices. By incorporating security considerations right from the beginning of the SLDC, organizations can not only improve the security of their software applications but also save valuable resources like time and money. Additionally, this approach increases awareness of security issues and helps ensure compliance with industry regulations and standards. By prioritizing security early on, organizations can build secure software applications and protect their users from the risks of data breaches and other security incidents.
Talk to your Protegrity account manager to join the Shift Left Developer Community today.