What is Application Security?

Whether you’re deploying a new product or maintaining old assets, keeping your data and code safe is a top priority. To minimize security vulnerabilities, organizations turn to application security. To properly protect your company’s blindspots, application security management should be regularly run across your company’s various systems and networks, including hardware and software. 

Comprehensive application security procedures may also be used to identify vulnerabilities and mitigate risk, such as the risk to your organization’s web applications. Consider that in the first quarter of 2020, the number of unique phishing sites worldwide totaled 165,772. What’s more, phishing and network intrusion make up more than half of all cyber attacks in the U.S. 

It’s likely that much of cyber crime today could be thwarted with the proper application security protocols in place.

The Importance of Application Security

The modern organization is spread across many hundreds (or thousands) of users and cloud-connected networks. The chances of a single vulnerability being exploited rise alongside the growth of your company. 

A prime point of weakness in any given network, system or web application is users. Many users tend to interact with web apps across myriad networks, making them prime targets of hackers. With application security, your organization can tailor specific security solutions to various parts of its business. 

Cloud Application Security: Sensitive data in the cloud is particularly susceptible to malicious intent, as cloud-based data must travel from a user to the application and back again. Cloud app security protects your collaborative environments (think Microsoft Office 365 or Salesforce Box) by way of a set of controls, processes and policies to “watch over” exchanges in information. Common threats to your cloud include the misconfiguration of app setup, insecure APIs and unauthorized web access.

Mobile Application Security: Mobile apps present a particularly unique challenge, as employees may transmit and receive sensitive data in an insecure environment. To this end, it’s vital that your organization employs virtual private networks (VPNs), as well as two-factor authentication and other IT-approved security policies.

Web Application Security: Web app security is designed to mitigate web application risk — including apps and services — reached via a web browser. Because web apps are transmitted to and from a remote server rather than locally, they are prone to cyber attacks. Businesses with a strong web presence may use firewalls to identify, detect and block harmful data packets.

Application Security Tools

To understand how comprehensive your application security management protocols should be, you need to understand the risk. And according to 2020 Common Weakness Enumeration’s Most Dangerous Software Weaknesses list, the top 5 are as follows:

  1. Cross-site scripting (XSS)
  2. Out-of-bounds write
  3. Improper input validation
  4. Improper restriction of operations within the bounds of a memory buffer
  5. SQL injection

For each weakness that could be exploited by cyber attack, there are tools to help safeguard your business. The two most critical markets for application security are security testing tools and application shielding products. According to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Application Security Testing, these are the most important categories for app security tools:

  • Static testing: Allows developers to check code as it’s being written in order to side step security issues.
  • Dynamic testing: Simulates cyber attacks and patterns by analyzing running code.
  • Mobile testing: Provides insight into how your organization’s mobile operating systems can be compromised.
  • Interactive testing: When extra flexibility is needed, interactive testing allows both static and dynamic testing to complete simultaneously. 

The use of application security can significantly reduce your risk of becoming the next victim of cyber crime by identifying and prioritizing the areas where your business needs more security.

Nucleus for Application Security

Nucleus provides comprehensive risk insights and automated vulnerability triage, streamlining application protection while allowing DevOps to react to threats faster.