Cybersecurity Considerations for Enterprise Software

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Cybersecurity is more important than ever for protecting your company’s digital assets. That’s because the applications you rely on every day, if not secure, could provide the perfect vector for hackers to infiltrate your digital perimeter. Such intrusions can result in a wide range of challenges, including stolen business secrets, loss of sensitive customer information, and the time and money that go into repairing the damage created by these losses. 

So, it’s critical to ensure you don’t give them that opportunity. In addition to high-level cybersecurity measures, you and your custom software provider must enact specific measures to keep software impenetrable. 

Here at BairesDev, we take cybersecurity very seriously and include it in every step of our development process. In the sections below, we show you what this means in practice, whether you use commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software, or choose to work with us or another custom development team. But first, we take a moment to explain exactly what enterprise software is.

Cybersecurity crisis

What Is Enterprise Software?

Enterprise software is used across enterprises to help them stay efficient and productive. Examples include enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, which centralize workflows; customer relationship management (CRM) applications, which help salespeople keep track of customers and prospects; accounting applications, which reflect best accounting practices; and business intelligence applications, which provide actionable insights from data. 

When thinking about enterprise software, it’s helpful to understand that enterprises are not just large companies. They’re companies that are very large and typically have subsidiaries and locations in multiple countries. Such operations require complex systems to help them manage varying processes, currencies, and regulations.

Steps Your Developer Can Take

If you choose to work with a development agency, there are ways software engineers can integrate security into every phase of the development process. When looking for a developer to work with, ask each potential provider how many of these steps they incorporate into their process. Many use the secure development lifecycle (SDL), a set of practices for enhancing security and compliance that are listed below.

Concept and planning

Even in this early phase of software development, engineers can define security and compliance requirements and objectives, and create an SDL plan for the project. They can also ensure that anyone working on the project is well trained in threat awareness and secure development strategies.

Release and maintenance

Finally, once the application goes live and has been implemented at customer sites, engineers can receive feedback about actual attack attempts and suggest steps for customers to include in incident response planning. They must also perform regular security checks on the application to ensure it’s safe from new vulnerabilities.

Implementation

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Testing and fixing

In this phase, engineers run tests to discover and resolve any problems with the application. To ensure the highest level of security, they can also use scanning tools to identify configuration errors, which can affect security. Additionally, they can use fuzz testing to determine whether the application can handle a wide variety of inputs (some of which could be used for attacks). At this point they should also bring in third-party security professionals to simulate possible attacks.

Architecture and design

At this stage, which entails creating a design that meets all project requirements, engineers can take several security-specific steps. For example, they can identify likely threats and include measures to repel them within the application. They can also check for and mitigate vulnerabilities within third-party components to be used in the application.

Steps You Can Take

It’s up to software engineers to make applications that are as secure as possible and it’s in their best interest to do so. Faulty software could quickly diminish a software company’s or development agency’s reputation, leading to a significant loss of revenue. However, it’s also up to customers of both custom software and COTS to ensure applications are working securely within their environment, using the following steps.

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    Stay up to date with patches
    As older software can be more vulnerable to attacks, it’s critical to stay up to date with patches, which can thwart them. Using an inventory or software bill of materials (BOM) can help in knowing exactly which software components you’re using and must get patches for.
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    Train employees properly
    Ensure employees are well versed in different types of cyberattacks, especially those involving social components such as a hacker sending an email that appears to be from a company manager asking for a password. Employees should understand how software applications are meant to be used as well as how criminals could exploit those uses.
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    Automate security tasks
    Cybercriminals use automated routines to constantly check for vulnerabilities within company applications. Therefore, companies must use automated systems to perform security tasks. Such tasks may include analyzing firewall changes and device security configurations. This strategy provides a good defense and enables your security team to focus on more high-level concerns.
  • Enforce a least privilege policy
    While employees can be your best line of defense against some types of cyberattacks, they can also be criminals themselves. While you shouldn’t assume that everyone you hire is a potential threat, you should take steps to lessen the possibility of an internal attack. One of the best ways to do this is to enforce a least privilege policy, which means users have the minimum access privileges required to perform their jobs.

    This policy only works when it is strictly applied, so don’t just write it down and implement it when convenient. Create a company culture of security in which administrators are thorough in their enforcement, including immediately revoking all privileges when employees leave the company.
  • Create an incident response plan
    Even if you have robust software throughout your enterprise and do everything listed here to shore up the company’s security level, you could still get hacked. So, it’s important to create an incident response plan for that possibility, where you lay out how you’re planning to solve the problems that come from an attack, prioritizing issues and delegating tasks.

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