Monday, 18 April 2016

Security System Development Lifecycle

software development companies in India

The Systems Development Life Cycle 

Information security must be managed in a manner similar to any other major system implemented in an organization. The one approach for implementing an information security system in an organization with little or no formal security in place is to use a variation of the systems development life cycle (SDLC): the security systems development life cycle (SecSDLC). Many software development companies in India are implementing security systems development life cycle (SecSDLC). Also to understand a security systems development life cycle, we must first understand the basics of the method upon which it is based.

Methodology and Phases 

The systems development life cycle (SDLC) is a methodology for the design and implementation of an information system. A methodology is a formal approach to solving a problem by means of a structured sequence of procedures. Also using a methodology ensures a rigorous process with a clearly defined goal and increases the probability of success. Once a methodology has been adopted, the key milestones are established and a team of individuals is selected and made accountable for accomplishing the project goals. The traditional SDLC consists of six general phases. If you have taken a system analysis and design course, you may have been exposed to a model consisting of a different number of phases. The SDLC models range from having three to twelve phases, all of which have been mapped into the six presented here. At the end of each phase comes a structured review or reality check, during which the team determines if the project should be continued, discontinued, outsourced, postponed, or returned to an earlier phase depending on whether the project is proceeding as expected and on the need for additional expertise, organizational knowledge, or other resources. Once the system is implemented, it is maintained (and modified) over the remainder of its operational life. Any information systems implementation may have multiple iterations as the cycle is repeated over time. Only by means of constant examination and renewal can any system, especially an information security program, perform up to expectations in the constantly changing environment in which it is placed. The following sections describe each phase of the traditional SDLC.20

The first phase, investigation, is the most important. What problem is the system being developed to solve? The investigation phase begins with an examination of the event or plan that initiates the process. During the investigation phase, the objectives, constraints, and scope of the project are specified. A preliminary cost-benefit analysis evaluates the perceived benefits and the appropriate levels of cost for those benefits. At the conclusion of this phase, and at every phase following, a feasibility analysis assesses the economic, technical, and behavioral feasibility of the process and ensures that implementation is worth the organization’s time and effort.


The analysis phase begins with the information gained during the investigation phase. This phase consists primarily of assessments of the organization, its current systems, and its capability to support the proposed systems. Analysts begin by determining what the new system is expected to do and how it will interact with existing systems. This phase ends with the documentation of the findings and an update of the feasibility analysis.

Logical Design 

In the logical design phase, the information gained from the analysis phase is used to begin creating a systems solution for a business problem. In any systems solution implemented at any software development company, it is imperative that the first and driving factor is the business need. Based on the business need, applications are selected to provide needed services, and then data support and structures capable of providing the needed inputs are chosen. Finally, based on all of the above, specific technologies to implement the physical solution are delineated. The logical design is, therefore, the blueprint for the desired solution. The logical design is implementation independent, meaning that it contains no reference to specific technologies, vendors, or products. It addresses, instead, how the proposed system will solve the problem at hand. In this stage, analysts generate a number of alternative solutions, each with corresponding strengths and weaknesses, and costs and benefits, allowing for a general comparison of available options. At the end of this phase, another feasibility analysis is performed.

Physical Design 

During the physical design phase, specific technologies are selected to support the alternatives identified and evaluated in the logical design. The selected components are evaluated based on a make-or-buy decision (develop the components in-house or purchase them from a vendor). Final designs integrate various components and technologies. After yet another feasibility analysis, the entire solution is presented to the organizational management for approval.


In the implementation phase, any needed software is created. Components are ordered, received, and tested. Afterward, users are trained and supporting documentation created. Once all components are tested individually, they are installed and tested as a system. Again a feasibility analysis is prepared, and the sponsors are then presented with the system for a performance review and acceptance test.

Maintenance and Change 

The maintenance and change phase is the longest and most expensive phase of the process. This phase consists of the tasks necessary to support and modify the system for the remainder of its useful life cycle. Even though formal development may conclude during this phase, the life cycle of the project continues until it is determined that the process should begin again from the investigation phase. At periodic points, the system is tested for compliance, and the feasibility of continuance versus discontinuance is evaluated. Upgrades, updates, and patches are managed. As the needs of the organization change, the systems that support the organization must also change. It is imperative that those who manage the systems, as well as those who support them, continually monitor the effectiveness of the systems in relation to the organization’s environment. When a current system can no longer support the evolving mission of the organization, the project is terminated and a new project is implemented.

Securing the SDLC 

Each of the phases of the SDLC should include consideration of the security of the system being assembled as well as the information it uses. Whether the system is custom and built from scratch, is purchased and then customized, or is commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS), the implementing organization such as software development company is responsible for ensuring it is used securely. This means that each implementation of a system is secure and does not risk compromising the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the organization’s information assets. The following section, adapted from NIST Special Publication 800-64, rev. 1, provides an overview of the security considerations for each phase of the SDLC.

Author Signature: Shreyans Agrawal (

No comments:

Post a Comment