Software engineers frequently find themselves trapped between two rivalling goals: promptly meeting tight deadlines for extensive projects and ensuring they ship code that is free of security vulnerabilities. In the midst of countless hours spent on security tickets, overtime work, and delayed feature releases, one these two goals often falls by the wayside.
Welcome to the world of Java security for engineers, where complex regex code, short development windows and access to open source libraries can overwhelm developers and allow vulnerabilities to fall through the cracks. It can start to feel like a never-ending battle that consumes precious time that could be better spent on delivering features and enhancing applications.
The solution? Java engineers need a way to ship code confidently, even if it may harbor security vulnerabilities. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the challenges engineers face, proactive strategies for enhancing security, and how tools like Waratek can automate the process. Such automation gives developers over a week of every month back in their schedule and liberates them from the constant time-suck of security tickets.
Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Security is an indispensable aspect of software development, but it often feels like an unwelcome burden for engineers. The time and effort required to identify and rectify security vulnerabilities can hinder their ability to focus on what they do best: writing exceptional code. Security tickets become an unwelcome companion, sapping your productivity and leaving you with less time to innovate and create.
The consequences of shipping applications and features late can be extreme. Perhaps a customer was promised a feature they don’t receive access to when they expected. Perhaps shareholders or board members are expecting a demo of a product with updated capabilities. Sometimes other departments or developers are waiting on a feature to be completed before they can begin their next task. In any of these cases, failure to meet deadlines can have ripple effects that hinder the growth of the business on a larger scale and point a spotlight on the developers that caused the delay.
Meanwhile, the consequences of shipping code with security vulnerabilities is no less dire (and in some cases much more so.) Attackers are constantly scowling the internet for weak points in a company’s perimeter that they can use to gain a foothold in a company’s network.
Even when a vulnerability isn’t a direct access tunnel to something valuable or detrimental to the business, it can still be an opportunity to land and expand. These may include SQL injections, remote code execution, insecure deserialization, denial of service attacks, or several others. But any of these can result in a great deal of extra work at best and a detrimental cyberattack at worst.
The Data on Security Bug Fixing
While the exact time spent by software engineers fixing security bugs can vary widely based on factors such as company size and project complexity, it’s clear that security-related tasks consume a significant portion of a developer’s time.
According to a study by Coralogix, a developer creates an average of 70 bugs per 1000 lines of code, and 15 of those bugs find their way to customers. When you take into account that these bugs are mostly being fixed by the developers themselves, it underscores the massive amount of time developers spend fixing bugs.
These numbers are contextualized by a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) study which analyzed developer time allocation in software projects and found that the overall average time to investigate and fix a single bug is 17.4 hours. A separate study by Rollbar found that a large portion of engineers spend up to or over 10 hours per week with bug fixing.
These statistics highlight the substantial time investment required to address security concerns. When developers can spend upwards of a quarter of their time vetting their applications for security flaws, it’s time for a major overhaul to the development process. Waratek’s java security platform offers a solution that can streamline the development process and give engineers back over a week of every month spent on the job.
How to Safely Ship “Dirty Code”
The good news is that there’s a proactive approach to security that empowers you to take control of your application’s safety without letting it hinder your progress. Instead of dreading security checks and living in fear of post-deployment vulnerabilities, java engineers now have access to a solution which allows them to ship code confidently, even if it may contain security risks.
Waratek is a Java Security Platform designed to empower engineers to navigate the complex terrain of security without compromising productivity. The platform traces the data flow within Java applications, offering unprecedented precision in threat detection.
For example, an engineer may be asked to build a feature that requires raw SQL queries in the code to expedite development. With the right tools and mindset, developers can embed this feature while ensuring that it doesn’t become a persistent security concern. With Waratek, they simply need to activate a prescriptive SQL injection rule tailored to their specific needs. This rule empowers java engineers to dictate where SQL injection is acceptable within the application and where it’s off-limits. They are then free to continue coding with the assurance that your SQL injection is controlled and won’t manifest elsewhere in your application.
These prescriptive security rules allow developers to easily juggle deadlines and feature requests without compromising on the quality and security of their code.
To learn more about using prescriptive java security rules to get over a quarter of your time back, schedule a meeting with a Waratek representative.