How developer-friendly is your organization’s security program?

The answer is as important as ever in today’s digital economy. High-performing organizations empower developers with tools, training and resources to do high-quality work, with security top of mind. This results in the ability to build secure applications quickly that consistently meet expectations and mitigate risk.

As we see too often, though, many organizations struggle to create a positive environment for developers. We see these results in the notoriously high job turnover statistics for developers who quickly move from employer to employer from burnout.

There are fundamental challenges that business leaders must address to improve software development, in particular a developer’s ability to contribute to software security. Doing so can further engage developers in the security process and contribute to the larger security maturity of the organization. 

Let’s look more at developer enablement and what organizations can do to make an impact.

Create an Environment for Developers to Thrive

Organizations must first understand the state of their environment to create significant change. Companies should analyze their security maturity and discover how to encourage developers to supplement and further strengthen it.

Developers want to understand the impact they have on a project and do quality work that makes a tangible difference. Often, though, they find themselves battling unrealistic timelines that result in an inferior product. Managers want the same thing, but they need to communicate better on how to reach these goals.

Organizations should communicate the importance of a security-centric culture and how developers can make an impact on a large scale. It is up to company leaders to find innovative ways to highlight this impact and, most importantly, create a structure where this work is rewarded and valued. 

Security as a Shared Responsibility

Security is not just for individuals with the word “security” in their title, but an organizational effort. Developer enablement creates opportunities to embed developers into larger corporate practices and goals, not just assigning them seemingly free-standing development tasks. Make them feel invested in the organization’s overall success by creating an environment where CISOs, security teams and developers work together to improve security posture.

Outline practical steps that can make incremental changes. Organizations too often try to take on too much at once (the boil the ocean approach), ultimately leading to failure. Instead, make security a teamwide responsibility that leverages the skills of each part. Developers want to feel valued in their work and should feel empowered to refine security protocols during the development process.

Encourage Ongoing Education

Education is integral to the improvement of developers’ security prowess. Organizations often do not provide developers with the upskilling opportunities needed to further enhance their skills with tight deadlines, project demands, and other more immediate needs taking precedence.

If developers receive training, it often takes place during a single day, and rarely features valuable long-term information that makes sense in the context of their day-to-day work. Organizations must move past this approach and look to create upskilling incentives to create well-rounded developers. They need to leverage scaffolded learning techniques that allow developers to follow individual programs that build on top of one another.

Organizations that emphasize continuous learning, knowledge and upskilling will create well-rounded developers who create better programs, stay loyal to their company, and help build a strong security posture. Successful leaders often set a cadence of developer training programs and emphasize continuous learning. These training opportunities should be prioritized and not moved aside for other priorities. 

A Look at What’s Next

The future of developer enablement is creating an environment where developers can thrive, providing opportunities for developers to collaborate across the security organization and ensuring they have access to the appropriate education and training opportunities.

As a company leader, this is a chance to make real change. Use this as an opportunity to reset how your organization works with its developers. Leverage tools that embrace new, innovative training methods that will empower them. Doing so provides immediate benefits to company culture and can help improve code quality while reducing developer turnover.