Why do you need a process?

Who needs to define a software process? #

Regulated software companies like banks, fintechs, healthcare providers, medical device manufacturers, etc. need to comply with government legislation and/or industry standards (IEC 62304, ISO26262, NIST, FDA, etc.) before they can take products to market and sell to customers.

Many non-regulated companies also choose to opt-in to standards like SOC2 and ISO27001 to win the confidence of their customers.

To achieve compliance with any of these regulations and standards involves defining a software delivery process, implementing it, and then proving that the process is being followed.

This is why you need a software process.

Risk Management #

Typical obligations in this framework include having processes around how IT systems change, and managing the risks associated with changes. Crucially, it is expected that there are comprehensive records of these changes, and the risk mitigations and internal controls performed as part of the changes.

This record of your changes should also contain evidence that your developers are following your process and performing risk controls.

Essentially, we must:

  1. Define: Have a defined process for software development
  2. Implement: Actually follow this process in our daily work
  3. Prove: Have the proof that we conform to the process during audit
Governance Framework

What should be in a SSDLC process? #

Generally a process should define the activities and technologies used in the development and maintenance of our software. In a regulated setting, the rationale for given controls and processes should map to the risks identified in governance.

  • A risk register
  • The areas of SSDCL
    • For each area:
      • A definition
      • Risks this area controls for
      • A rationale
      • Application rule (Mandatory, Optional)

How should our SSDLC be documented? #

It should be defined and available on an internal website and stored in a version controlled system such as git.

Documenting Options and Exceptions #

Exceptions and customizations should be defined in the exception register.

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