In recent years, the “Shift Left” approach to development has gained significant momentum. This methodology emphasizes the early detection and mitigation of vulnerabilities and security weaknesses in the software development lifecycle (SDLC), promising reduced costs, minimized rework, and accelerated delivery speed. However, one often-overlooked aspect of the Shift Left paradigm is developer empowerment.

Whether your organization boasts a mature application security program or is just beginning its journey, implementing a Security Champion Program can yield significant benefits. In this blog, we explore four actionable steps to seamlessly integrate security into your development process across all stages of the SDLC.

Empower developers

For application security programs to thrive, developers need to be equipped with the knowledge and tools to make informed security decisions from the outset. This is where a robust Security Champion Program comes into play. By integrating security experts within engineering teams, organizations can foster a culture of developer empowerment. These security champions serve as invaluable resources, providing guidance, mentorship, and technical expertise to their peers, ensuring that security considerations are ingrained into every stage of the development process.

Overcome historical challenges

Despite the potential benefits, establishing a Security Champions Program has historically been deprioritized due to competing priorities and perceived conflicts between security and development teams. However, with the advent of enhanced communication and collaboration tools, organizations now have the opportunity to bridge this gap and foster a cooperative environment conducive to both security and innovation.

Four steps to building a world-class Security Champion Program

1. Define success

Establish clear objectives and success criteria for your Security Champions Program. Consider factors such as organizational security maturity, cultural perception of security, and executive buy-in. Metrics should be risk-based, focusing on the business impact of vulnerabilities rather than vanity metrics.

2. Identify Security Champions

Select individuals with the right blend of technical expertise, enthusiasm, and commitment to serve as Security Champions. Look beyond traditional engineering roles and consider individuals in various roles who can contribute to the program’s success. Monitor and evaluate the impact of individual champions to identify areas for improvement.

3. Provide continuous training 

Security is a dynamic field, constantly evolving with new threats and vulnerabilities. Ensure that your Security Champions are equipped with the latest knowledge and skills through continuous training. Offer both team-based and individualized training programs tailored to the needs of your organization.

4. Empower your champions

Empower your Security Champions to affect meaningful change within your organization. Provide them with the authority and resources needed to voice and resolve security concerns effectively. Foster a culture where security is viewed as a shared responsibility and integral part of the development process.

A well-executed Security Champions Program can revolutionize an organization’s security posture, regardless of its current maturity level. By following these four simple steps, organizations can integrate security into their operations, detect vulnerabilities earlier in the process, and enhance overall security while accelerating delivery speed.

To learn more about building a Security Champions Program at your organization, download this eBook.

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May 21, 2024


Immersive Labs