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How Does a Bug Bounty Fit into my SDLC?

How Does A Bug Bounty Fit Into My SDLC?

“How does a bug bounty fit into my SDLC?” This is a question we hear all the time. While the obvious answer is that it can augment or replace much of your current manual and automated testing, the actual answer is simpler; “bug bounties fit into and support your SDLC each step of the way.”

What is SDLC?

SDLC is an acronym for Software Development Lifecycle. The SDLC is a framework that development teams use to produce high-quality software in a systematic and cost-effective way. In detail, the SDLC methodology focuses on the following phases of software development:

  • Requirement analysis
  • Planning
  • Software design such as architectural design
  • Software development
  • Testing
  • Deployment

There are multiple development methodologies behind SDLC, including waterfall, agile, and iterative (to name a few). We’ll discuss the differences and specifically focus on the testing phase and how bug bounty and security testing can help secure the SDLC..

An agile take on the SDLC

The SDLC is entrenched in nearly every development organization, yet it has its limitations when it comes to security. With the traditional (or waterfall) SDLC development model, organizations hold all security testing until the end of the software development lifecycle, just before a product is released.

As you can imagine, that puts undue pressure on product release dates and can create conflict between departments. For agile development shops, this process is not at all realistic, or effective. In the past several years, many organizations have ditched traditional approaches to building software “securely” and have turned to an agile development model that builds security testing throughout the SDLC.

waterfall-sdlc

 

While this “secure” SDLC is a step in the right direction, the current appsec landscape presents four challenges that limit its effectiveness:

  1. Ballooning attack surfaces that are coming increasingly complex makes it harder for security teams to accurately assess risk and plan accordingly
  2. Resourcing shortages make it hard to plan and design for security properly
  3. Traditional security testing methods provide inadequate feedback, leaving holes in production
  4. Adversaries don’t adhere to an SDLC and are increasingly active and efficient

How Bug Bounty Programs can help

Let’s start off with an overview of what a bug bounty specifically does. You can find some really in-depth guides on our site, including the Ultimate Guide to a Managed Bug Bounty. However, for the purpose of this article, let’s keep it simple.

Bug bounties use a competitive model to incentivize the crowd (ethical hackers – aka security researchers) to encourage quality and thorough testing of sites with the goal of a reward. They are solicited via a bug bounty vendor of their own accord to hack digital assets and find vulnerabilities. Acceptance is based on a reward. These rewards can be monetary, reputation points or other.

Bug bounties are set up by a crowdsourced security platform with multiple measures in place to keep it safe and extremely efficient for companies.

bug-bounty-roadmap

 

Bug bounties align with and support each step of the SDLC, providing more valuable feedback in a continuous and effective way.

The strength of a bug bounty program lies in the creative and diverse testing pool, and in the cost-effectiveness of the results-driven model. 

Public or private, continuous or short-term, the bug bounty model scales the benefits of traditional manual testing methods and goes far beyond automated testing methods to deliver real-world security assessment in real-time.

With a crowdsourced method, there are many motivated and experienced testers who can identify and test software securely in the same agile environment as the SDLC as a whole.

 

Results

Bug bounties support and secure your company’s SDLC. From running hundreds of bug bounty programs, we’ve seen the following results from our customers:

  • Bug bounties assist in identifying areas within an attack surface of highest risk, and in some cases often uncover unknown weaknesses
  • By identifying previously unknown vulnerabilities, bug bounties actually help inform the first steps of the SDLC as it pertains to application security strategy and design
  • In this same way, the real-world results that bug bounties produce can also feed into development training programs and support secure-coding best practices
  • In the testing and development stages, bug bounties drastically improve processes by offering a dynamic and continuous vulnerability feedback loop and can be deployed in development or production environments
  • The pay-for-results model and diverse testing pool combine to improve upon vulnerability scanning which only discovers known issues and penetration testing results which are limited in perception and scale

While bug bounties can be invaluable to bolstering any application security strategy, running them requires adequate planning, resources, and experience, as well as the right tools. 

Bugcrowd’s team of experts and robust platform manage the process for you, making it easy for any organization to implement bug bounty processes seamlessly into your application security strategy and SDLC.

Want to learn more about bug bounties? Check out this article, the All You Need to Know About Bug Bounties.

 

“Continuous” testing

The SDLC is entrenched in nearly every development organization, yet it has its limitations when it comes to security. With the traditional SDLC model, organizations would hold all security testing until the end of the software development lifecycle, just before the product was released.

As you can imagine, that puts undue pressure on product release dates and can create conflict between departments. For agile development shops, this process is not at all realistic, or effective. Thus, in the past several years, many organizations have ditched their traditional approaches to building software “securely” and have started building security practices throughout the SDLC.

While this “secure” SDLC is a step in the right direction, the current appsec landscape presents four challenges that limit its effectiveness:

  1. Ballooning attack surfaces that are coming increasingly complex makes it harder for security teams to accurately assess risk and plan accordingly
  2. Resourcing shortages make it hard to plan and design for security properly
  3. Traditional security testing methods provide inadequate feedback, leaving holes in production
  4. Adversaries don’t adhere to an SDLC and are increasingly active and efficient

 

How can bug bounties help?

Bug bounties align with and support each step of the SDLC, providing more valuable feedback in a more continuous and effective way.

The strength of a bug bounty program lies in the creative and diverse testing pool, and in the cost-effectiveness of the results-driven model. Public or private, continuous or short-term, the bug bounty model scales the benefits of traditional manual testing methods and goes far beyond automated testing methods to deliver real-world security assessment in real-time.

So how can bug bounties support and secure your SDLC? From running hundreds of bug bounty programs, we’ve seen the following results from our customers:

  • Bug bounties assist in identifying areas within an attack surface of highest risk, and in some cases often uncover unknown weaknesses
  • By identifying previously unknown vulnerabilities, bug bounties actually help inform the first steps of the SDLC as it pertains to application security strategy and design
  • In this same way, the real-world results that bug bounties produce can also feed into development training programs and support secure-coding best practices
  • In the testing and development stages, bug bounties drastically improve processes by offering a dynamic and continuous vulnerability feedback loop and can be deployed in development or production environments
  • The pay-for-results model and diverse testing pool combine to improve upon vulnerability scanning which only discovers known issues and penetration testing results which are limited in perception and scale

While bug bounties can be invaluable to bolstering any application security strategy, running them requires adequate planning, resources, and experience, as well as and the right tools. Bugcrowd’s team of experts and robust platform manage the process for you, making it easy for any organization to implement bug bounty processes seamlessly into your application security strategy and SDLC.

Want to learn more about how a bug bounties? Check out this article, the Illustrated Guide to Bug Bounties.

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