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Microsoft Pledges to Integrate Security at Every Step of Software Development

Microsoft bolsters software security with Secure Future Initiative, emphasizing continuous security throughout development

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has recently enhanced its commitment to software security through an extensive initiative dubbed the Secure Future Initiative (SFI). As part of this initiative, the company focuses on integrating security measures across its lifecycle more profoundly. Bret Arsenault, Microsoft's corporate vice president and chief advisor, announced substantial investments and a strategic overhaul to existing security practices, aimed at establishing a more dynamic and continuous method of software development and security assurance.

Introducing Continuous Security Development Lifecycle

Under the Secure Future Initiative, Microsoft transitions from its traditional Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) to what it now calls the Continuous SDL. This innovative approach seeks to incorporate security measures more adaptively and proactively throughout the software development process. Continuous SDL is designed to identify and respond to emerging security threats and patterns more efficiently, thereby ensuring that Microsoft's software products are not only resilient at the time of their release but remain robust against evolving security challenges. The company has integrated security controls into its engineering platforms and tools such as Azure, Azure DevOps, , and automated internal scanners. These controls are regularly monitored and enforced automatically wherever feasible, signifying a shift towards a more proactive and evolutionary security model.

Strategic Investments and Collaborations

To bolster its Secure Future Initiative, Microsoft has revealed specific financial commitments toward promoting safer programming practices. Emphasizing the importance of using “memory safe” programming languages recommended by the U.S. National Security Agency, which include C#, Go, Java, Python, Rust, and Swift, Microsoft has pledged substantial support. This includes a $1 million donation to the Rust Foundation and an additional $3.2 million to the Alpha-Omega project, an initiative spearheaded by and focusing on enhancing open-source software security. Microsoft's contributions aim to extend the reach of security analyses to a larger array of open-source projects, notably including prominent open-source AI libraries. Furthermore, Microsoft's partnership with the Open Source Security Foundation underlines its dedication to securing software infrastructure universally.

Efforts to Strengthen Code Analysis and Identity Management

In another significant move, Microsoft has detailed its application of the CodeQL semantic code analysis engine. This tool is currently utilized to scrutinize code across a vast majority of Azure DevOps code repositories. Although not yet achieving its goal of 100% coverage, the effort demonstrates Microsoft's steadfast commitment to maintaining high-security standards across all its commercial products. In parallel, the company has updated its approach to identity library usage, transitioning fully to the Microsoft Authentication Library (MSAL). This move facilitates unified authentication mechanisms across Microsoft services on major platforms, thus enhancing policy compliance management. By automating the management of keys within Hardware Security Modules by year's end, Microsoft sets a high standard for secure identity and access management.

SourceMicrosoft
Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.

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