Apps are an integral part of doing online business. The era of hyperconnectivity is helping businesses through mobile, peripherals, networks, and wired devices to meet increasing customer demands. An increase in connectedness is also helping improve customer experiences and sustaining a competitive advantage. Online apps collect customer data to provide personalized services and conveniences. Apps are also leveraged for communication, entertainment, news updates, doing work, and much more. The increase in the use of apps, and connected devices are also leading to the expansion of threat surfaces, making it a profitable target for attackers.
Application vulnerability is one of the challenging problems across industries leveraging commercial off-the-shelf-software, customized applications, or embedded software. The security of applications has now become an essential priority for businesses, and it is imperative to monitor, fix, and prevent vulnerabilities across the entire application lifecycle. Most of these vulnerabilities are due to architectural design flaws, and security practices must be integrated into the coding cycle, ignoring these practices can lead to serious flaws, and the risks can be limitless. Application security is paramount, and there is an imminent need to introduce processes to improve, measure, and embed security into the development pipeline.
Application security management
Application security management can establish measures throughout the coding lifecycle so that there are no security gaps during design, development, deployment, and maintenance cycles. Effective management of application development can prevent unauthorized access and protects application integrity for safe use. It can also help you to get a comprehensive view of the state of security of each application, identify and mitigate risks while having a definitive plan to enhance the security of applications.
An application security program is managed by architecture risk analysis, threat modeling, and rigorous security testing practices to mitigate flaws in the early stages of app development. A series of penetration tests follow to secure the application from any breach.
Program management overview
Threat modeling is the key contributor in analyzing application architecture for security risks. It is a proactive way of identifying and prioritizing threats while mitigating risks by knowing how these threats can harm the application. By identifying these threats early in the design stage, you will be able to integrate security in app architecture and minimize vulnerabilities even before the code is written. You can also fix vulnerabilities even before it occurs, saving time, money, and reputation. The threat model is developed by analyzing app functional specifications and context, including the software and architecture framework; the scope is decided after discussing with stakeholders and development teams. A data flow diagram (DFD) is developed to visualize various components - its interactions, and interfaces of the application. The threat agents are identified along with the assets and security controls in a comprehensive manner. The model is interpreted to find areas that might need secure code reviews and penetration tests. Understanding the model can also help you examine ways threat agents can impact and how these threats can be conquered. You can get good clarity on threat motivations and the type of attack vectors that can affect your application.
Static Application Security Testing (SAST)
When threat modeling assists in the design phase of the software development lifecycle, Static Application Security Testing (SAST) analyzes application source code to identify vulnerabilities before it is complied. Also known as white box testing, it can help you understand vulnerabilities without breaking the software build. This form of testing gives developers feedback by reviewing the code in real-time through sophisticated SAST tools. These tools can help in fixing the risky security issues in code. These tools can also help in creating reports to track & fix security issues before moving to the next phase of the development cycle.
Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)
The next phase is Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) executed during deployment or runtime phase of the application. DAST or black box testing involves continuous scanning using automation and manual testing methods to assess anomalous code behaviors. You will be able to test application encryption strength to breaches, recognize any exploitable areas such as crucial application resources, the ability of the app to withstand malicious code breaches, and backend security robustness.
Application security management benefits
Application security program management can help drive agility in securing application and meet compliance needs. The program management initiative enables you to establish a roadmap consisting of processes, metrics, and best practices to achieve your application security goals.
Initiative features include:
- Assessment schedules to meet compliance requirements.
- Application threat modeling and prioritization of vulnerabilities.
- Penetration testing and code review of apps.
- Open-source component security review and compliance assessment.
- Testing tools integration with DevOps.
- Periodic vulnerability assessments.
- Vulnerability tracking, escalation, and monitoring as per SLAs.