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Top Tips for Optimizing your Application Security

Security of applications should be the top priority for all businesses in the coming decade. Sadly, it is often neglected and underfunded, which leaves businesses open to cyber attacks and breaches. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can safeguard your applications to ensure that it is kept as robust as possible. In this article you can find out essential details regarding the application security best practices, and learn more on how to implement them.

Have an Application Security Framework/Blueprint

It is essential for every organization to have a detailed application security framework in place. Often in companies, we see a disconnect between different functions. You must ensure that there is a smooth working relationship with the team in charge of IT and security. The managers should work with this team to form a framework that is easy to understand and actionable for all departments.

This framework will be tailored for the requirements of your specific company. It will include aspects such as prioritization of application security, and also include a general protocol. It may also include the individuals who have specific responsibility in ensuring that everyone is compliant with the best security practices. You may consider holding seminars to ensure that all employees are aware of how important application security is. This will make it easier for everyone to follow the framework. You should keep in mind that human vulnerabilities can be an unknown factor that can often lead to breaches.

Hire Professionals to Test your Security

A company with the best security framework and practices can still be caught out by sophisticated attackers. Therefore, you should test your security on a regular basis. This can be done through manual penetration testing. You can bring through professional contractors who will be able to stimulate a real-life attack. This is the best way to identify any weaknesses that may be otherwise missed.

Remain Updated with Security Updates

Threats are constantly evolving which means that web applications must remain updated to patch potential vulnerabilities. It is important to be in the know with regards to general cybersecurity, and also the specific web application environments in use. Make sure your security team remains ahead of the game by keeping their eyes on the industry. It is vital for them to stay ahead of hackers. Being informed is one key way to ensure that they are able to continue to secure applications.

Consider Investing in a Dedicated Security Team

Depending on the size of your organization, it may be worth investing in a team of security professionals. Security is something that requires a lot of effort, and it may not be possible to do this in-house. Hiring a security expert or a team of professionals can help to secure your organization. They offer services such as performing regular deep scans, monitoring your web applications for new vulnerabilities, and providing detailed security audits. Hiring a reputable security team provides more assurance, and it is definitely something to be considered.

Prioritize Applications & Vulnerabilities

Any good security strategy will involve some form of prioritization. You will firstly need to prioritize your applications. Customer facing applications (those containing customer information) should be at the top of the list. Applications that do not contain this information can be a lower priority, but must still be considered. Having a priority structure in place helps to organize your testing capacity, and allows you to use security resources in a more efficient manner.

Once this is in place, you can move on to prioritizing which vulnerabilities are worth working on. It is likely that you will have vulnerabilities in many of your applications, but not all of them will be worth the hassle of fixing. Ideally, you would want to remove all vulnerabilities, but this simply isn’t feasible. You can use your resources far better by identifying which vulnerabilities pose the highest risks. When you find vulnerabilities that are specific to an application, it is advisable to conduct further research.

Manage your Cookies Usage

One underused aspect of application security testing is cookies. Many companies fail to properly consider the threats that can come about due to the usage of cookies. It is common for most organizations to use cookies since they provide an easy way for users to have a personalized experience, whilst also allowing firms to collect vital information on users. Sadly, this information can also fall into the hands of hackers.

For this reason you should never store sensitive information on cookies; this includes aspects such as passwords. Additionally, you should try and set shorter expiry dates for cookies since the longer the data is held, the higher the risk. You can also add encryption to the data that is stored in cookies to make it more secure.

Consider Automating Certain Security Processes

Automation is playing a bigger role for most organizations in recent years. It allows them to work far more efficiently. It is particularly relevant for bigger organizations that may have many applications that they must keep secure. Doing this manually can be very costly in terms of time and resources. However, you can scale your defences through automating the identification of vulnerabilities. Make sure to use the latest cutting edge cyber tools to make the process easier. There are many tools available that allow you to automate aspects that can be which leave you with the manual aspects that a human can focus on.

Closing Thoughts

Optimizing application security is a task that requires constant maintenance, and an organizational culture which takes security seriously. It may seem like too much effort, but the price of protecting your applications is worth it. You will need to have your whole team on board to ensure that these practices can be undertaken in the long-term throughout your organization.

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