A Pioneering Approach to Integrating Security Policies: Achieve Secure-By-Design Agile Development with Spec2TestAI™

Scott Aziz | February 4, 2024

AgileAI Labs is redefining the integration of security within the Agile development lifecycle. This initiative is a direct response to the updated guidance from CISA and 17 U.S. and international partners, emphasizing the Secure-by-Design Product Approach. The updated guidance, “Shifting the Balance of Cybersecurity Risk: Principles and Approaches for Secure-by-Design Software,” outlines expanded principles and approaches that urge software manufacturers to take decisive steps in shipping products that are inherently Secure-by-Design.

Initially published in April 2023, the joint guidance underscores the urgency for software manufacturers to revamp their design and development programs, ensuring only Secure-by-Design products reach customers. This approach is not just about mitigating risks; it’s about a paradigm shift in how software is conceptualized, developed, and delivered. The feedback from various stakeholders has led to an expansion of the three core principles:

1. Taking ownership of customer security outcomes,
2. Embracing radical transparency and accountability, and
3. Leading from the top.

This holistic approach aims to equip software manufacturers with the necessary tools to demonstrate their commitment to Secure-by-Design, creating a market demand for such products.

AgileAI Labs’ Spec2TestAI™ is a testament to this evolving need. The tool seamlessly integrates IT security policies into the AI engine, allowing the generation of security-focused requirements directly from user stories and acceptance criteria. This integration ensures that each software development aligns with internal security standards from the outset, a crucial feature for IT security teams seeking to enforce security standards effectively.

Secure-by-Design is a methodology where products are constructed to be inherently secure against cyber threats. This involves a thorough Risk Assessment, the inclusion of multiple defense layers in the product’s blueprint and considering the evolving cyber threat landscape during the design and development process.

Spec2TestAI™ integrates these principles by embedding IT security policies into the AI engine from the early stages of software development. This ensures that each piece of software aligns with internal security standards from the outset, streamlining compliance, and fostering collaboration between security and development teams. By proactively addressing security in agile environments, before any code is written,

Spec2TestAI™ enables teams to deliver secure software faster, embedding security considerations effectively and consistently across all development projects.

Spec2TestAI™ comes equipped with features that enable developers to seamlessly incorporate security measures into their workflow. It analyzes user stories and acceptance criteria to generate security requirements that align with both internal policies and international standards. This capability of Spec2TestAI™ ensures that developers can proactively address security concerns during the initial phases of software development, adhering to the highest standards of cybersecurity. Such features underscore Spec2TestAI™’s role in not just improving efficiency but also in enhancing the security posture of software development projects.

Spec2TestAI™ includes guidance modeled from the NIST Special Publication 800-218 Secure Software Development Framework (SSDF) Version 1.1. This guidance is included as part of the AI recommendations for each and every requirement.

Spec2TestAI™’s value proposition is multifaceted. It customizes Security Requirements from the start, ensuring alignment with a company’s unique security policies. This streamlines compliance and security assurance, automating the inclusion of essential security checks in the development process. The tool bridges the gap between security and development teams, fostering better collaboration and understanding. It ensures that security considerations are effectively communicated and consistently implemented across all development projects.

In agile environments, where rapid development and frequent iterations are the norms, Spec2TestAI™ enables teams to proactively address security, rather than retrofitting it post-development. This shift-left approach in security testing saves time and resources, reducing the need for extensive revisions and rework. By embedding security at the early stages of development, Spec2TestAI™ reduces the time spent on post-development security testing. Agile teams can thus deliver secure software faster, improving time-to-market without compromising on security.

The AI’s capability to learn and adapt to evolving security policies means that Spec2TestAI™ continually enhances its ability to generate more precise and relevant Security Requirements. This aids in the continuous improvement of security practices within the organization, keeping pace with the rapidly changing cybersecurity landscape. For IT security teams, Spec2TestAI™ becomes an invaluable ally in ensuring that all software developed within the company not only meets, but exceeds, security expectations, building trust and reliability in the company’s software products.

In conclusion, the integration of security policies into the AI of Spec2TestAI™ represents a significant advancement in secure software development. It positions Spec2TestAI™ as not just a tool for efficiency and innovation in software development, but as a crucial component in creating secure, compliant, and high-quality software. In today’s fast-paced and security-conscious digital world, Spec2TestAI™ stands as a pioneering solution, perfectly aligned with the principles outlined in the updated Secure-by-Design guidance from CISA and international partners.