Given the choice, every organization would want secure Web sites and applications from the Web application development phase all the way through the software development life cycle. But why is that such a challenge to attain? The answer is in the processes (or lack thereof) that they have in place.
While individual and ad hoc Web application security assessments certainly will help you improve the security of that application or Web site, soon after everything is remedied, changes in your applications and newfound vulnerabilities mean new security problems will arise. So, unless you put into place continuous security and quality assurance controls throughout the software development life cycle, from the initial phases of Web application development through production, you're never going to reach the high levels of ongoing security you need to keep your systems safe from attack--and your costs associated with fixing security weaknesses will continue to be high.
In the first two articles, we covered many of the essentials you need to know when conducting Web application security assessments, and how to go about remedying the vulnerabilities those assessments uncovered. And, if your organization is like most, the first couple of Web application assessments were nightmares: reams of low, medium, and high vulnerabilities were found and needed to be fixed by your web application development team. The process required that tough decisions be made on how to fix the applications as quickly as possible without affecting systems in production, or unduly delaying scheduled application rollouts.