Here’s Everything To Know About Application Security
Applications have become an integral part of every business. All industries, ranging from telecom and entertainment to healthcare and commerce, heavily rely on both web and mobile apps for their operation, management, and services.
Given their intensive use in all businesses today, it has become more important than ever to protect apps from all kinds of security breaches. Not investing in application security is the biggest mistake you can ever make as a developer.
Today, we’ll try to learn everything there’s to know about application security. From its importance in the software development lifecycle to the various methods it can be deployed in, we’ll try to cover it all.
What is Application Security?
Application security aims to protect the applications from hazardous attacks through detection and identification of security weaknesses in the codes.
It can be defined as the procedure in which features are developed, added, and tested for the applications. Doing so reduces the potential threats of modification and unauthorized access to the apps.
Why is Application Security Important?
Almost all applications are connected to the cloud and are available over various networks, which makes them more vulnerable to security breaches. Any breach can cause a business to lose its sensitive corporate data as well as confidential consumer information. The implications of a hacked business can be way more than just financial turmoil. Application security is needed by businesses to maintain their reputation in the market.
According to Veracode’s State of Software Security Vol. 11, 76% of the 130,000 applications it tested over 12 months had at least one security flaw. Many had much more, with more than 20% of apps having at least one high-severity flaw. Not just that, several other studies have found applications to be the weakest security link.
What Does Application Security Cover?
Application security can only be successful when it follows a holistic approach. The developers need to make sure that the apps are secured in every way possible and all vulnerabilities have been properly addressed. Here are some important app features that are usually covered.
Software developers need to make sure that applications are being accessed by authorized users only. They do this by using an authentication procedure. A username and password are usually required for logging into the apps, but developers can also employ multi-factor authentication.
Once the users get the authority to gain access to the application, Authorization is carried out by drawing comparisons between the user’s identity and an authorized users’ list. It allows the users to use the app and its various features.
Encryption is employed to stop hackers and malware from seeing or using sensitive data that travels between the cloud and the end-user in cloud-based applications.
Logging is used to find out who is accessing the data and how it is being accessed in case of a security breach in an application. Application log files are used to get a time-stamped record to find out the application features which were accessible by the hacker.
Now that you know what features are covered by application security, let’s move on to how to carry it out.
How is Application Security Carried Out?
If we were to summarize it into one phrase, we’d say ‘test, test, test’. The most effective way to implement application security is to make it a part of the software development lifecycle and carry out testing at each and every stage.
The testing tools that you can use to detect vulnerabilities in your code can be broadly categorized into the following types:
Static Testing (SAST)
Static Application Security Testing is employed during the development of code for its analysis at fixed points. Developers can use SAST Tools to evaluate their codes in the initial stages to find common vulnerabilities and nip them in the bud.
Dynamic Testing (DAST)
Dynamic Application Security Testing is used to analyze the running code and is generally considered more useful than static testing. In dynamic testing, attacks are simulated on production systems to check the defense of your apps against potential threats.
Interactive Testing (IAST)
Interactive Application Security Testing practically takes testing to the next level. It analyzes your code for security vulnerabilities while the application is run by a human tester, an automated test, or any other activity “interacting” with it. IAST reports vulnerabilities in real-time, making it much more effective than both SAST and DAST.
Besides these three approaches, testing tools can be categorized in accordance with the types of apps they test. For instance, mobile testing tools are used to examine how an attacker exploits the mobile operating system or the apps running on a mobile.
Application Security Cycle – Detection, Prioritization & Remediation
Though the first step in application security is getting the right testing tools, it is just one step. Detecting the threats is important, but your security approach should also incorporate prioritization and remediation along with it.
In order to tackle the security threats more efficiently, it is important to chalk out technologies and strategies so teams can prioritize the security vulnerabilities. In this way, the biggest risks posed to the system are handled on an urgent basis.
Once prioritization is done, remediation works to seamlessly integrate different technologies into the development cycle. Doing so can help fix the issues in an easy and timely manner.
Also, assigning application security tasks to different, specialized teams can always help.
For instance, there can be a network team to secure web app firewalls, and a desktop team to ensure protection from end-user-related threats. In this way, application security can be ensured in an efficient manner and all threats can be tackled in a quick and economic way.
To Sum Up
As businesses continue to move towards the digital domain and increase their reliance on different kinds of apps, application security has become more relevant than ever.
Developers need a comprehensive security infrastructure with a holistic approach to keep their application portfolios safe. Application security cannot be taken as an afterthought; it has to be incorporated in the development process as an integral part of the SDLC.