Custom Software Development

Understanding the Security Risks in Custom Software Development

Over 60% of data breaches are caused by vulnerabilities in custom-built software. From stealing sensitive information to disrupting business operations, the security risks are numerous and can have severe consequences.

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People-centric threats – from phishing to lost or stolen passwords in an unsecured network – can be at least as crippling as more arcane technical glitches and oversights. Outsourcing companies introduce reasonable security measures such as the same centralized logging or two-factor authentication, which must ultimately become examples of best practices to prevent such situations. In this article, we’ll delve into the latest cyber security statistics in 2023 and explore the steps to mitigate the risks associated with custom software development.

Staggering Statistics

Not surprisingly, companies that have experienced one or more data breaches in the past three years are far more likely to anticipate another in the next three years than those that haven’t. Interestingly, most of the violations are the result of human error. For example, compromising business correspondence, phishing, and spoofing are among the three most common types of cyber attacks. While system misconfigurations and accidental exposures are the second most frequently cited vulnerability.

According to a survey by The Economist, top management believes that the organization’s efforts should be centralized to help create a cyber-security culture embracing every employee, functional area, and line of business. They explain that their organization has moved more than half of its data infrastructure to the cloud to create a more secure working environment. In one of its cases, Agiliway shared how it applied this approach to medical data encryption.

About 95% of respondents report thoroughly checking a new employee’s background when hiring; about 91% require signing an NDA, blocking the ability to view personalized content through work email, and stipulating the consequences of negligence.

Here are some more statistics about precautions from C-suite executives. So to mitigate data breaches, they do the following:

  • Implement a zero-trust network strategy for access security;
  • Update the software constantly and use a VPN;
  • Make ongoing safety testing according to standards.

Also, every company strives to achieve perfection when its security system is certified. For example, Agiliway has passed the ISO 27001:2013 certification, which guarantees the safety of the deal.

What works best?

You can find a lot of information on the Internet about the most effective processes. Still, as a rule, they are unanimous regarding security awareness training for each employee. About 35% of respondents say this eliminates data negligence and improves corporate culture. Companies implement their security policies and monitor user accounts for suspicious activity. 

Here is a real example that David Palmer, Darktrace’s director of technology, once told in his interview: corporate espionage between suppliers inside a power station was based on suppliers’ access to each other’s network. This allowed them to view the characteristics of the equipment and modify them to their benefit. On the other hand, someone decided to profit from the hospital, where malware spread through the department after infecting a connected fax machine. Such upsetting cases raise doubts about human empathy.

What about technical approaches that are worth trying?

  1. Secure coding practices

Developers should follow established methods for secure coding, such as validating inputs to prevent SQL injection attacks and cross-site scripting, using parameterized queries, and minimizing third-party libraries to reduce the risk of vulnerabilities. They should also regularly review and update their code to address known susceptibilities and follow standards such as OWASP Top Ten.

  1. Encryption

It aims to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access, whether transmitted over a network or stored in a database. It is used in different applications, including email, messaging apps, file sharing, and databases. In addition to choosing the right type of encryption (symmetric and asymmetric), selecting the algorithm and key length is essential.

  1. Vulnerability testing

Regular software review should be conducted to identify potential security weaknesses in the software. This can include penetration testing, automated scanning, and manual code inspections. 

  1. Access controls

Access to the software and the data it handles should only be restricted to authorized users. It can include password policies, multi-factor authentication, and role-based control.

  1. Incident response planning

Businesses should have a well-defined set of procedures to follow in the event of a security incident, such as a data breach or cyber attack. It should be regularly tested and updated to ensure it is effective in an anomalous or unexpected event. This should include the following steps: detecting, reporting, responding, as well as completing guidelines for communication and recovery.

By implementing these technical practices, you can improve the cybersecurity of custom software development projects and minimize the risk of data leakages. However, it’s crucial to note that information technology security is an ongoing process that requires attention and adaptation to evolving threats. Regular assessments and updates to practices are critical to maintaining custom software development.


Cyber attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and it’s essential to implement security measures that protect against the most common risks, such as SQL injections, cross-site scripting, etc. In 2023, more than 60% of data breaches are caused by vulnerabilities in custom-built software, with human error being the primary factor. To address these risks, companies are implementing security measures such as centralized logging, two-factor authentication, and moving data infrastructure to the cloud. Creating a cybersecurity culture that encompasses all employees, functional areas, and lines of business is crucial.

Effective strategies include security awareness training for employees, secure coding practices, encryption, vulnerability testing, access controls, and incident response planning. These measures help to reduce data negligence, protect sensitive information, identify potential weaknesses, and ensure appropriate responses to security incidents.

Maintaining custom software development security requires ongoing attention and adaptation to evolving threats. Regular assessments and updates to practices are essential in minimizing the risk of data breaches and ensuring a robust cybersecurity posture.

By implementing the practices described in the article, businesses can reduce the risk of incidents and minimize their impact. Remain vigilant and stay up-to-date with the latest trends to ensure that custom software development remains a safe and reliable way to improve business operations!

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