Within computer systems engineering, software development lifecycle (SDLC) has been a solid way to create high quality software that meets user requirements. SDLC phases are designed to be agile, iterative and chronological, clearly defined in plan, design, build, test and deploy data systems. While SDLC has been around for decades, enterprises are increasingly migrating to the cloud in what is known as the cloud development lifecycle (CDLC). The CDLC software methodology takes advantage of cloud hosting services such as AWS, Azure and GCP, and leverages cloud services to build applications.

While CDLC is a tremendous leap forward for organizations looking to scale, save on costs and benefit from elasticity, the jury is still out on ensuring cloud security. This article will explain the different vulnerabilities that could lead to potential threats in the CDLC and will be useful for anyone involved in secure DevOps, known to some as DevSecOps.

How CDLC Differs from SDLC

While SDLC was a way to introduce cost-efficiency while meeting business needs, in some cases, the complete opposite resulted. Companies using on-site infrastructure deployments experience update cycles that can take years with an overall low software performance as output. The lifecycle of cloud software development and deployment is a completely different story. CDLC is quicker and more adaptable to the ebb and flow of enterprise requirements.

CDLC also introduces a new paradigm of internet-based, scalable and distributed services. NIST provides a great definition that will help readers to better understand: “Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”

The main difference between the stages in the SDLC and CDLC lies in development and launch stages.

When it comes to the development stage of the CDLC, this phase is significantly improved if development influences IaaS as an infrastructure groundwork. A primary benefit is the independent software suppliers not having to invest in major infrastructure for development, nor do they have to handle or preserve that infrastructure.

Cloud Service Delivery and Deployment models

Before going deeper into how vulnerabilities impact the CDLC, let’s look at some of the cloud main services. The Cloud works with three service delivery models and three deployment models. The deployment models are:

Private cloud: a cloud platform is devoted to a particular business

Public cloud: a cloud platform accessible to public users who enter and use the open infrastructure

Hybrid cloud: a private cloud that can broaden to use resources in public clouds.

Read more about the differences between the three cloud types in this ThreatModeler article.

Three Main CDLC Deployment Models

Cloud providers are responsible for managing and securing data on the cloud. But any cloud consumer must ensure that information security is managed in that cloud. Due to the high vulnerability public clouds have since they offer their services to the open public, three main deployment models arise:

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) this deployment occurs when cloud providers distribute online resources, storage and network via internet-based services. This service model is centered on cloud orchestration technology. Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) is known as the most common IaaS provider.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) – this deployment takes place when cloud providers produce platforms, tools and other industry services that allow customers to build, install, and handle their own applications, without establishing any of these platforms or assistance tools on local machines. The PaaS model may be accommodated on top of the IaaS model or on top of the cloud structures.

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) – this deployment happens when cloud providers bring applications hosted on the cloud infrastructure as internet-based service for end users, without demanding installing the applications on the customers’ computers. This model may be held on top of PaaS, IaaS or directly on cloud infrastructure.

Each service delivery model has various modes of operation, which can cause confusion in the growth of each service delivery model’s security. However, configured correctly, the cloud can offer numerous benefits to enterprises. Known issues that exist include:

  • Multi-tenancy of single software instances
  • Portability
  • Data management
  • SLA management
  • Cloud security

These issues arise due to the use of technologies such as virtualization. However, once understood, this infrastructure can be better secured and offer benefits above and beyond SDLC. It is important, therefore, to understand how service delivery models operate to have a better understanding of the security implications in the cloud development lifecycle.

Development and Launch of the Cloud Development Lifecycle (CDLC)

The cloud development lifecycle can be classified into six major stages: data gathering, development, launch, continuing operations, optimization, and improvement. Within CDLC, a number of steps are enhanced when compared side-by-side with SDLC:

Inexpensive testing – Rotating test, where pentesting can occur on development servers are relatively low-cost.

Collaboration within the development environment – Cloud controls and constant integration through cloud-hosted services grant developer location-unbiased access to data and a substantially decrease on the time investment needed for additional tasks like testing, gathering and assimilation.

Infrastructure deployment – The DevOps approach to infrastructure involves infrastructure deployment and automation that thrive within API-driven cloud platforms.

Additional Benefits of CDLC Deployment

Collaboration, integration with cloud services, e.g. AWS, and the ability to scale across an organization quickly will result in a more cost-effective development process. Independent software vendors (ISVs) will be able to up the output, provide applications more quickly and reduce expense than was previously possible through in-house infrastructure and conventional development systems.

Cloud infrastructure implementations are drastically faster than in-house infrastructure operations. Lead times are reduced, especially if applications are introduced on the same platform used for improvement. This allows companies to save time and energy in infrastructure maintenance and management which is taken care of by the cloud supplier. Architects and security teams can devote resources on other efforts, such as an efficient product launch, innovation, and bug fixes and improvements.

ThreatModeler to Secure Your Cloud Development Lifecycle

ThreatModeler, the industry’s leading innovator in automated threat modeling, can help you secure your cloud AWS infrastructure. ThreatModeler is ideal to secure CDLC due to its power to scale across thousands of threat models while providing security-related information. ThreatModeler has integrated with AWS on several fronts, to ensure that cloud security architects can:

  • Identify vulnerabilities
  • Ensure proper access management
  • Achieve security and policy compliance

ThreatModeler is planning to expand upon its cloud security offerings with other providers. Using the Visual, Agile, Simple Threat (VAST) modeling methodology with process flow diagrams, programmers and security teams can design IT infrastructure that is vulnerability-aware, enabling DevOps teams to review the threats that can compromise security. Users can then assign security requirements to lessen the likelihood that an architecture will be compromised by cybercrime.

With its unique reporting feature, cloud security architects can hand-off documentation to security leaders who validate security. ThreatModeler can help to provide a holistic threat management solution.

To learn more about how ThreatModeler™ can help your organization build a scalable threat modeling process, book a demo to speak to a ThreatModeler expert today.


What is the difference between SDLC and CDLC?

While SDLC focuses on creating high-quality software through a structured process, CDLC leverages cloud services and hosting platforms like AWS, Azure, and GCP to build applications, offering faster deployment, better scalability, and cost savings.

What are the three main deployment models in CDLC?

The three main deployment models are Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Each has different modes of operation and security considerations.

What are the three cloud deployment models?

Private cloud, public cloud, and hybrid cloud. Private cloud is dedicated to a single organization, public cloud is accessible to the general public, and hybrid cloud combines private cloud with access to public cloud resources.

What are the six major stages of the Cloud Development Lifecycle (CDLC)?

The six major stages are data gathering, development, launch, continuing operations, optimization, and improvement.

How does CDLC enhance the development process compared to SDLC?

CDLC offers benefits such as inexpensive testing, better collaboration within the development environment, and faster infrastructure deployment due to its API-driven cloud platforms.

What are some known issues with CDLC?

Issues can include multi-tenancy of single software instances, portability, data management, SLA management, and cloud security, mostly arising from the use of virtualization technologies.

How can ThreatModeler help secure the Cloud Development Lifecycle?

ThreatModeler can help identify vulnerabilities, ensure proper access management, and achieve security and policy compliance, as well as scale across thousands of threat models while providing security-related information.

What is the role of the Visual, Agile, Simple Threat (VAST) modeling methodology in securing CDLC?

VAST modeling methodology, combined with process flow diagrams, helps programmers and security teams design IT infrastructure that is vulnerability-aware, enabling DevOps teams to review threats and assign security requirements to reduce the likelihood of architecture compromise.

How does CDLC deployment help Independent Software Vendors (ISVs)?

CDLC deployment allows ISVs to increase output, provide applications more quickly, and reduce expenses compared to in-house infrastructure and conventional development systems.


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