Product Watch: Microsoft Releases 'Agile' Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) Guide

Software giant also issues white paper detailing how SDL addresses cloud security
Microsoft has rolled out the latest offering in its effort to spread the use of its own secure software development program, with a version of its Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) template for developers using an Agile development model.

Agile is a rapidly growing method of writing software that's collaborative and efficient, known for turning around software shorter time frames of 15 to 60 days.

"Forrester says 85 percent of the technology industry has adopted or is midway through adopting Agile development methods," says David Ladd, principal security program manager for Microsoft. "This is the wave of the future."

Microsoft now offers SDL for Agile Development Version 4.1a, a model for Agile developers to integrate SDL into their development processes. Ladd says Microsoft basically modified SDL to meet Agile requirements. The guidelines explain the frequency of threat modeling, static analysis, upgrading compilers, and fuzzing, for example. "Some items need to be performed on a regular basis for the lifetime of the [development] project," Ladd says. "And others only need to be done [occasionally]," as is the case with fuzzing.

"We'd like to have developers and testers begin incorporating SDL into their development life cycles," Ladd says. "Up to this point, we had been focused on traditional SDL and traditional development practices...Now we'd like to see Agile developers look at this guidance."

Microsoft also published a new white paper this week titled "Security Considerations for Client and Cloud Applications," which details the security issues surrounding the client and cloud computing, and what Microsoft has done to advance SDL to address them.

"With the cloud you should think about SDL and not just application development security, but also the operational security issues atop that," Ladd says.

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