With data breaches becoming an ever-increasing threat when it comes to cyber security, the need for a reliable and robust cyber security plan is more pertinent than ever. As a result, more and more companies seek ways to protect their assets and solidify their security levels to safeguard themselves and avoid any future attacks.  

This is where ‘shift left’ comes in.

Shift Left

Shift left testing is a relatively modern addition to cyber security but is vital for maximising safety. In its simplest form, it means to begin testing and to add security elements earlier in the development life cycle to prevent data breaches, and flagging any weak points as early as possible to maximise security and prevent future risks. In other words, shift left’s meaning is to literally shift testing ‘left’ on a dev plan to come earlier in the software development life cycle.  

Traditional testing methods have previously been done once a project is completed, usually through penetration testing. However, if an issue is found late in the process, it can be incredibly time-consuming and expensive to fix a problem once everything is finalised. Implementing adequate security earlier on saves a wealth of time and resources.  

The benefits of Shift Left Testing 

While shift left testing is a new term in the world of cyber security solutions, it has many benefits. It is an excellent system to incorporate into the development process of any new project. The advantages include: 

Improved Security Posture 

The most obvious benefit of shift left testing for cyber security, is that it strengthens your security posture and minimises your chances of future security risks. By taking the step to solidify good cyber security, your network will be far more secure from the offset. 

A 2022 government study found that 46% of large businesses say they have had to take up new measures to save them time and protect their assets. This shows the direct link between effective security and productivity, and proves the significant benefits of implanting the security process as soon as possible. 

Reduced Costs 

When a security breach occurs, it is rarely a simple task that can be fixed in an instant and usually consists of several measures to tackle the problem. This can be incredibly complicated and costly. When considering cyber security, with shift left testing, it is far less expensive to fix a problem in the earlier stages of development than backtrack to try and resolve the issue once the project is live.  

The automation capabilities that shift left initiatives offer also reduce the amount of company time spent on projects by eliminating manually performing complex testing procedures, therefore freeing up company time to focus on the project itself rather than worrying about future security risks.  

Better Security Knowledge 

By taking the time to maximise your security solutions from an early stage, you are in far better control of your security stance and automatically have a deeper understanding of how your network operates.  

Things to Consider with Shift Left 

Consistent testing throughout the development process

Conducting regular testing throughout the development process of any project will keep consistency within your organisation. Basically, the more testing that can be done earlier on and continued throughout the process, the more benefits will be seen in the long run.  

Steps to take when planning shift left testing

  • Define your shift-left security strategy 
  • Build through automatically checking security and implementing security measures 
  • Perform Threat Model Analysis 
  • Implement Vulnerability scans when development is complete. 

Visit our Application Security Testing page to learn about our Application Security, or get in touch with us today to talk through how our approach to software development with shift left at its core can help your project.