Monday, January 22, 2024

How to modernize your application security program in 2024?

Table Of Contents

    Organizations that have modernized application security programs by exploiting application security automation platforms and solutions have been able to save US$1.8 million per breach, when compared to organizations that didn't, as per reports from IBM.

    While application security has been a major concern for most of the leading organizations, automated vulnerability testing tools are here to make things easier and more efficient for you. Modernizing your application security framework is all about adapting new tools and platforms to produce quality software while reducing the time required for coding, testing, and releasing in applications the market.

    If you are unsure where you should start with the software and API security assessment process, you can use our application security checklist.

    But as far as modern AppSec programs are taken into place, here's all that you need to know about it and how automated testing tools help you to shift left and protect your apps.

    What is modern application security?

    Modern application security has evolved over the years on the foundational principles of shifting left and integrating the best automated web app and API security tools in the software development lifecycle. 

    This proactive approach of protecting applications throughout their entire lifecycle, from development to deployment and operation helps leading organizations to stay at par with the changing landscape of cyber security and data protection. 

    If you like having to beg your security vendor for an application security report, don’t get Cyber Chief, because then who will you beg?

    Modern application security programs include a wide range of practices, web app scanning tool and services, end-to-end API security tools, and solutions that support your developers with remediating vulnerabilities in your applications and APIs.

    By doing these activities you will move towards an best-in-class AppSec program that has 5 key components:

    1. Integrated: which means security is part of your SDLC, not an afterthought. This ensures a stronger security posture from the outset because security starts from your SDLC.
    2. Autonomous: you shouldn't need to dedicate an expensive resource to running security tools. Security processes that run on autopilot allow you to build secure apps and APIs without compromising developer productivity.
    3. Support: Most of your devs aren't security experts and they never will be. That's why you need to give them on-demand support to help them patch vulnerabilities without slowing down new feature development.
    4. Champions: these are developers in your team who will lead the way in maintaining (or even elevating your security posture). Creating champions as important as any tool you might buy.
    5. Propogate: doing the 4 steps above on a constant loop will help you propogate a new culture of security in your dev team. This will ensure your security posture gains are consolidated, not lost, with each sprint.

    Early implementation of application security testing in your software development life cycle empowers development teams to shift left. It is also beneficial in avoiding huge penalties for not adhering to cyber security measures for apps and cloud environments.

    How can you shift left with AppSec?

    One of the best ways to shift left with application security would be by integrating application security solutions for vulnerability management. An automated vulnerability assessment tool like Cyber Chief makes it easy to shift left and build a software development environment that includes security testing. So, that you aren't dependent on your annual pentest reports to your security teams to review the software after it is ready.

    You can also consult with a web app pentesting services company to understand more about shifting left with AppSec.

    Another advantage of vulnerability management and scanning tools such as Cyber Chief is that you can schedule and scan your web applications, mobile apps and APIs and go through the detailed analysis reports once the scans are completed. This helps you continuously monitor your application and API security.

    Any vulnerability scanner will give you a list of vulnerabilities. But if you have Cyber Chief, you’ll be able to secure your web apps & APIs on autopilot.

    There are 3 types of security testing tools that help you and your organization inculcate security testing into your current SDLC and CI/CD pipelines.

    1. SAST Tools

    Static application security testing tools help you scan your software application source code for security threats. This would require exposing your application code during the programming or testing phase.

    2. DAST Tools

    Dynamic application security testing tools are used to scan software and applications as they are running various tasks and operations. DAST tools help to scan your application for security threats that can be exploited by interacting from the user end of the application. These vulnerability assessment tools simulate attacks to evaluate the security firewalls and reactions.

    Application security assessment tools like Cyber Chief can conduct dynamic application security scanning for your web apps, mobile apps and APIs. One of the most crucial aspects of security scanning is performing infiltrated scanning. While most tools can scan your application's exterior components for security issues, Cyber Chief can perform infiltrated scans and evaluate your software's security measures.

    Cyber Chief is one of the best application security testing tool that is easy to navigate, saving you and your development team extra effort in learning how to conduct web and mobile application security testing.

    Want to know how Cyber Chief can fix vulnerabilities without exposing your app’s code?

    3. IAST Tools

    Interactive application security testing tools can perform software security testing for operational vulnerabilities. However, interactive application vulnerability testing can be done only when another testing tool can conduct an activity for the IAST tools to assess.

    How to Build an AppSec Program?

    An effective AppSec program helps you and your organization protect sensitive data in your applications from unauthorized access. It also prevents cyberattacks that can disrupt business operations and damage your organization's reputation.  

    Integrating application security testing tools that offer the benefits of an automated penetration testing tool in your AppSec program can help your development team comply with industry regulations and data privacy laws, saving you from paying penalties for violating data privacy laws. 

    A good AppSec program should include these components:

    1. Security Testing

    You need to add automated application security testing (AST) tools in combination with manual application testing techniques to identify possible security threats in your software application security program. This includes application penetration testing, static application security testing tools (SAST), and dynamic application security testing tools (DAST).

    2. Software Composition Analysis (SCA)

    You have to utilize SCA tools to scan open-source components and third-party libraries for known security vulnerabilities in your application security protocol. This helps prevent the introduction of security flaws from external dependencies.

    3. Secure Development Lifecycle (SDLC Integration)

    Integrate application security practices into the SDLC by making security a shared responsibility across development, operations, and security teams. This promotes a shift-left approach where security is addressed early and continuously throughout the development process. For this, can add an application security testing tool like Cyber Chief that provides a collaborative environment.  

    4. Security Awareness and Training

    With the introduction of security testing tools, you will need to provide adequate training and information to your developers, security professionals, and business users. They will need to be educated on security best practices, vulnerability management systems framework, and incident response. This will help you in building a culture of security awareness and reduce human error.

    5. Threat Modeling and Risk Assessment

    Another very effective step in building an AppSec program is to conduct threat modeling exercises with your development teams to identify potential security risks and assess the risks they pose to applications. This helps prioritize security efforts and implement appropriate countermeasures.

    6. Incident Response and Recovery

    Lastly, you need to develop a comprehensive incident response plan that can effectively manage security incidents, minimize damage, and restore normal operations without causing much disruption.

    How Do Automated Security Tools Help In A Modern AppSec Program?

    Automated security tools make the entire AppSec process easier and more efficient. When employed for software security testing, an automated vulnerability assessment tool can eliminate the need to wait for penetration testing reports and implement fixes once or twice a year.

    Automated security vulnerability assessment tools enabling rapid scanning of large codebases. This significantly reduces the time and resources required to identify security risks, allowing security and development teams to focus on more complex tasks.

    While automated tools can identify a wide range of potential security risks, they also generate false positives, which can hinder productivity and lead to unnecessary remediation efforts. One of the reasons for this could be incorrect configuration.

    So, when you think of adding a vulnerability assessment tool, ensure that it provides support and assistance through integrations into your current software development lifecycle.

    Advanced automated application security tools can also incorporate machine learning and context-aware analysis to minimize false positives, providing more reliable and actionable results when compared to manual security testing techniques.

    Cyber Chief can help you and your developers in with your AppSec program. It allows you to monitor your web application firewall measures regularly with its schedule and scan feature. All you have to do is set the time for conducting infiltrated, unauthenticated or reconnaissance scans depending on the security test you are conducting for your apps.

    Once the scanning is done for your web applications, mobile apps and APIs, you can review the analysis report. But that's not all, Cyber Chief will also provide you with possible remediations in the form of code snippets that you can use for securing your web applications.

    Ready to Shift Left with application security and end your reliance on cyber security experts?

    What steps should you take for security of your application?

    So, now that you know how crucial it is to have an application security program to assist you with security testing for your application development process, you need to take action. Your web application security is granted only when you combine automated vulnerability assessment tools with manual penetration testing techniques.

    Consult with a web apps security testing company to get the right advice on your current application development environment and how you can modernize your application security program.

    SaaS Brief