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Know More About the System Development Life Cycle

For time immemorial, the waterfall framework defined and dominated the world of software development. By incorporating a sequential design process across the Software Development Life Cycle, the framework worked wonders for projects with clear objectives and stable requirements.

But the emergence of Agile changed everything; by building software incrementally in spurts – instead of delivering everything towards the end – Agile made the traditional, sequential waterfall method seem redundant.

Rather than spending months or years building software, Agile enabled a team of developers to work in short daily or weekly cycles to incorporate features. As the universal adoption of Agile makes the traditional Software Development Life Cycle less relevant, the System Development Life Cycle is taking center stage for systems programmers – especially today when security has become the foundation of every product.

What is the System Development Life Cycle?

The System Development Life Cycle is the new SDLC in today’s modern agile world. It integrates modern technologies and practices into the development of new systems such that security can be ingrained into the solution from the very beginning – rather than after the solution has been deployed – as an afterthought.

It requires development teams to clearly outline the process and define milestones that ensure security reviews are carried out at the end of each project phase. The System Development Life Cycle offers a birds-eye view of the entire project: from objectives and timelines to resources and personnel involved.

Designed to meet changing needs, it provides deliverables that meet design and development standards for each step of the project and requires teams to maintain extensive documentation throughout. Because verification is done at each stage, the framework aims to improve the quality of the final system.

What are the various stages?

The System Development Life Cycle follows a similar approach to the Software Development Life Cycle. Nevertheless, what makes it different from the Software Development Life Cycle is that the System Development Life Cycle is more comprehensive and takes a more holistic approach to system development.

The Software Development Life Cycle is more focused on the software aspects of development such as planning, architecture, testing, and deployment. Along with software development, the System Development Life Cycle involves infrastructure management, change management as well as end-to-end people, process, and technology management. Also, the System Development Life Cycle drives added focus on the security aspects of the system or application under development.

Here are the various stages:

Initiation: This is where the System Development Life Cycle actually starts. This stage involves preparing a formal project request to initiate all system development and integration activities – including project objectives, users of the system as well as key time frames for project completion.

Analysis: This stage primarily requires development teams to perform a feasibility study to determine whether the project request should be approved for development. It is here that the information security teams ensure appropriate security concerns have been incorporated into the feasibility study.

Requirements specifications: In this stage, teams need to develop business, operational, and functional requirements specification documents to ensure that all the requirements are clearly understood. Security teams make sure all security concerns are properly addressed and reflected in the requirements document.

Design: This stage begins with developing detailed design specifications that translate all the functional specs into logical and physical design. Information security teams carry out a security design review at this stage and assess if security requirements have been properly addressed.

Development: This is where the actual coding of the project begins. All the features of the system are developed in this stage. Extra emphasis is laid on configuring and enabling security features. Information security teams perform source code reviews for critical aspects of the system, including user authentication, and authorization.

Testing: This stage requires developers to use automated testing tools to carry out unit as well as system testing. Security testing is an important aspect in this stage; teams need to continuously review the security tests being written and validate the results – so no security vulnerabilities go unnoticed.

Evaluation: The review stage involves taking feedback from users on the overall effectiveness of the project and ensuring that the system is operating at a satisfactory level. Such feedback identifies potential shortcomings and provides valuable insight for future projects. This stage also requires teams to confirm if all security capabilities are deployed in the right manner.


As individual software products start becoming an integral part of larger, mission-critical systems, it’s time to embrace a framework that ensures proper functioning of the product – in isolation and as a part of a larger ecosystem.

With security being an indispensable part of modern systems, the Systems Development Life Cycle takes a holistic approach to ensure that all components within the system are well integrated and meet adequate security levels. It provides a clear view of the entire project and helps meet design and development standards at each step. In essence, the Systems Development Life Cycle is the new SLDC that aims to produce high-quality systems that meet (and even exceed) user expectations.


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