10 Tips For Ensuring The Security Of Your Custom Software Solution

One of the most high-profile security breaches in recent years was the Zoom incident in 2020, where personal information of over 2.5 million users was found to be for sale on the dark web due to a vulnerability in the software.

In the same year, Microsoft disclosed that it had suffered a data breach that exposed the personal information of 250 million user service records. The breach was caused by a misconfigured database in one of its customer service systems.

According to a report by Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million, which includes costs such as business disruption, lost revenue, and legal fees.

Whether it is a custom software or standard software, solutions are prone to security issues, but cost and brand elements can impact the level of security measures implemented. It is crucial for businesses to understand the potential security risks of custom software solution and take appropriate measures to prevent such incidents.

Types of Security Issues In Custom Software Solution

Security issues are not restricted to only malware attacks and viruses, there are other issues equally more critical in nature. Here are some of the most common types of security issues faced by custom software solution:

01. Authentication and Access Control Issues

List of issues:

  • Weak authentication and access control policies
  • Insufficient encryption and protection of sensitive data
  • Inadequate employee training and awareness

In 2013, Target Corporation, a major US-based retailer, experienced a massive data breach that compromised the personal and financial information of up to 110 million customers. The breach was initiated through a third-party vendor’s compromised credentials and allowed hackers to access Target’s payment systems for several weeks undetected.

The breach resulted in significant financial losses, damage to Target’s brand reputation, and lawsuits from affected customers. The incident also highlighted the importance of third-party risk management and the need for strong authentication and access controls in retail businesses.

The total cost of the Target data breach was estimated at $202 million, including legal settlements, fines, and other expenses.

02. Data Breaches & Data Loss

List of issues:

  • Insufficient data backup and recovery procedures
  • Human error or negligence in handling data
  • Hardware or software failures

In 2012, the Knight Capital Group, a US-based financial services firm, suffered a data loss incident due to a software malfunction. The malfunction caused the company’s algorithmic trading system to purchase large volumes of stocks at inflated prices, leading to a loss of over $440 million in less than an hour.

The data loss incident led to significant financial losses, damage to the company’s reputation, and a drop in its stock value. It also highlighted the importance of proper testing and monitoring of software systems in the financial industry.

The total cost of the Knight Capital Group data loss incident was estimated at $460 million, including trading losses, regulatory fines, and other expenses.

03. Malware & Viruses

List of issues:

  • Infection with viruses and malware
  • Lack of system updates and patches
  • Insufficient antivirus and security measures

In 2019, the Monroe County School District in Florida, USA, experienced a virus attack that impacted the district’s computer network and forced the schools to shut down for several days. The virus was initially introduced through a phishing email and led to the loss of critical data and disruption of normal operations.

The virus attack led to disruptions in the delivery of education services, including cancellations of classes and delays in grading and reporting. It also caused financial losses due to the cost of recovery efforts and legal fees.

The total cost of the virus attack was estimated at $600,000, including expenses for IT recovery, forensic analysis, and additional cybersecurity measures.

04. Insecure Coding Practices

List of issues:

  • Lack of security testing in software development process
  • Vulnerabilities in code due to poor coding practices
  • Inadequate code review and testing by third-party vendors

In 2015, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) recalled 1.4 million vehicles after it was discovered that a security flaw in the car’s software could allow hackers to take control of the vehicle remotely. The flaw was due to poor coding practices and lack of proper security testing during the custom software development process.

The insecure coding incident led to significant damage to the company’s reputation, a drop in its stock price, and potential safety hazards for drivers and passengers. It also highlighted the importance of secure coding practices and third-party vendor management in the automotive industry.

The total cost of the FCA recall was estimated at $105 million, including expenses for vehicle repairs, legal fees, and other costs associated with the incident.

05. Insufficient Encryption

List of issues:

  • Lack of appropriate encryption techniques for sensitive data
  • Insufficient protection of data in transit or at rest
  • Insufficient security measures for online banking transactions

In 2014, JPMorgan Chase, one of the largest banks in the United States, experienced a data breach that impacted the personal information of 76 million households and 7 million small businesses. The breach was due to insufficient encryption of sensitive data and inadequate security measures for online banking transactions.

The data breach led to significant damage to the bank’s reputation, a drop in its stock price, and potential financial losses for affected customers. It also highlighted the importance of strong encryption practices and cybersecurity measures in the banking industry.

The total cost of the JPMorgan Chase data breach was estimated at $575 million,

What Security Issues Businesses Ignore In The Initial Stage Of Developing A Custom Software Solution?

When developing custom solutions, businesses often overlook or underestimate the importance of ensuring proper security measures in place for a long run. As they move forward with the custom software product development, the unattended and overlooked security aspects impact the functioning of the solution. This can lead to serious security issues that may not be discovered until it’s too late.

01. Input Validation

If a website fails to clean user input or doesn’t check the data type, it can be very important because it can lead to attacks.

Impact: These attacks can cause problems and allow unauthorized people to access the website or sensitive data.

02. Unencrypted Data Storage

Businesses might ignore data encryption during the initial stages, leaving data vulnerable to theft or unauthorized access in case of a security breach.

Impact: It can lead to loss of confidential data, breaches of security and privacy, regulatory fines, and financial harm.

03. Error Handling and Logging

Both are necessary to identify and fix security incidents. Clear error messages and sufficient logging can make incident response faster and more effective.

Impact: It can result in more significant damage to the business, such as financial loss, reputational damage, and loss of user trust.

04. Third-Party Support

Using vulnerable components and not updating third-party libraries can be of medium importance.

Impact: It introduces vulnerabilities and makes it hard to patch them, risking the website or application being compromised.

05. Secure Configurations

Insecure default settings and unused services or ports that aren’t disabled can be of low to medium importance.

Impact: It increases risk at the attack surface and potentially allows unauthorized access to sensitive data and resources.

Note: The importance levels assigned to each security issue may vary depending on the specific context of the custom solution. It is important to conduct a thorough security assessment to identify all potential risks and vulnerabilities, and prioritize remediation efforts accordingly.

10 Tips For Securing Custom Software Solution

Here are 10 essential security tips for businesses to ensure their custom software solutions’ security.

01. Use Secure Development Practices

  • Task: Implement secure coding practices and use security testing tools
  • Importance: High
  • Implementation: Conduct code reviews for security issues and implement it from the planning stage to the deployment stage.

02. Implement Access Controls

  • Task: Restrict access to sensitive information and systems
  • Importance: Medium
  • Implementation: Access controls such as two-factor authentication and role-based access control to test and validate the controls to ensure they are working effectively.

03. Backup Data

  • Task: Regular backups of data
  • Importance: High
  • Implementation: Use an automated backup system to regularly save copies of important data to secure off-site locations. This ensures that important data is not lost due to hardware failure, cyberattacks, or other unforeseen events.

04. Implement Network Security

  • Task: Secure network devices and connections
  • Importance: High
  • Implementation: Assess the network, select and configure appropriate tools like firewalls and VPNs, and test and update the security measures to ensure their effectiveness.

05. Conduct Regular Security Assessments

  • Task: Evaluate custom solutions for vulnerabilities
  • Importance: High
  • Implementation: Conduct regular security assessments, identify the scope and goals, select appropriate testing tools and methods, analyze the results, and create a plan to address any issues found.

06. Use Secure Third-Party Services

  • Task: Vet and monitor third-party services for security
  • Importance: Medium
  • Implementation: Perform due diligence to assess risks, establish a risk management process, monitor security practices, and create a contingency plan in case of any incidents.

07. Implement User Training and Awareness Programs

  • Task: Educate employees about cybersecurity risks and best practices
  • Importance: High
  • Implementation: Improve cybersecurity, implement a cybersecurity awareness program and conduct training to educate employees on best security practices and potential threats.

08. Implement Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plans

  • Task: Prepare for and respond to cyber incidents
  • Importance: High
  • Implementation: Develop and test disaster recovery and business continuity plans by identifying critical systems, testing the plan, and updating as necessary.

09. Conduct Regular Security Audits

  • Task: Regular security audit
  • Importance: High
  • Implementation: Hire a professional security firm to perform a thorough audit and provide you with actionable insights

10. Implement Latest Security Measures

  • Task: Keep solution up to date with the latest security patches and updates
  • Importance: High
  • Implementation: Regularly check and install updates and patches. Consider setting up automatic updates for added convenience and security

Auditing Security Issues

One of the most important steps in ensuring the security of your custom solution is conducting regular security audits. But how often should you conduct these audits, and what should they include?

What Should A Security Audit Include?

A thorough security audit should include a review of your software solution’s source code, configuration files, and network architecture. It should also include a review of your security policies and procedures, as well as any third-party software or services that you use.

01. Purpose Of Each Type Of Audit:

Risk Assessment

This type of audit is designed to identify vulnerabilities in your software solution, such as weak passwords or unsecured ports. The purpose of a vulnerability assessment is to help you proactively address these vulnerabilities before they are exploited by attackers.

Identify Security Flaws

By conducting a thorough check-up of your software solution, you can identify any potential weaknesses that could make it vulnerable to cyber attacks, this process is known as penetration testing. This is a way to test your software’s security by simulating an attack to see how it would hold up against a real-world threat. By doing so, you can ensure that your software is as secure as possible and protect your users’ data.

How Often You Should Audit Security Issues?

The frequency of security audits will depend on various factors such as the size of your organization, the complexity of your software solution, and the level of risk associated with your business.

As a general rule, it’s recommended to conduct vulnerability assessments at least once a year, and penetration testing (identifying weaknesses) at least once every two years.

A Checklist For Businesses To Maintain Security For Custom Software Solutions

Here a checklist for businesses to implement and ensure their custom solutions remain secure:

Data Encryption:

  • Is sensitive information kept safe both when it’s stored and when it’s being sent?
  • Is the way it’s encrypted secure and strong?
  • Are the people in charge of the encryption key doing a good job?
  • Is there a backup plan in case something goes wrong?

Access Control:

  • Is the system only available to people who should have access to it?
  • Are the different types of users organized well and only allowed to do what they’re supposed to?
  • Is there a policy for passwords, and are they being kept safe?
  • Are login attempts limited to prevent unauthorized access?

Code Security:

  • Are programmers following good practices to make sure there aren’t any security issues in the code?
  • Are any issues that pop up being dealt with?
  • Are third-party tools being used safely?
  • Are updates to these tools being applied quickly?

Network Security:

  • Is the network set up so that only authorized people can access it?
  • Are there tools in place to monitor for any suspicious activity?
  • Is there a secure way to access the network remotely?
  • Is the network set up in a way that helps keep it safe?

Audit Logging and Monitoring:

  • Is there a way to track what’s happening on the system?
  • Are the logs being collected and checked regularly?
  • Is there a plan for dealing with any issues that do arise?
  • Is there a way to get notified about any potential problems in real time?

Physical Security:

  • Is the computer server being kept safe in a secure location?
  • Is there a plan in place for how to deal with problems that could damage the server?
  • Are backups being stored in a safe place?
  • Is the server kept cool so it doesn’t overheat?

Disaster Recovery:

  • Is there a plan in place to help the company recover if something goes wrong?
  • Are backups being taken regularly and tested?
  • Is there a way to restore data if something goes wrong?
  • Is there a plan for keeping backups safe and keeping them for the right amount of time?

Compliance and Regulation:

  • Is the software following all relevant laws and regulations?
  • Is sensitive information being kept safe in accordance with the law?
  • Is the company following any industry-specific regulations?

Build Trust & Confidence With Reliable Custom Solution

Custom software solution has become an integral part of businesses. It is imperative to maintain their security to safeguard sensitive information from cyber threats.

Galaxy provides custom software development services with top-notch security assistance to protect your user data. With regular security checkups, advanced development practices, and identifying the potential security risks, Galaxy ensures your business is safe from potential cyber attacks.

Contact Galaxy today to secure your custom software solution. Protect your business and your users with our advanced security development services.


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