Tried & Tested Practices To Ensure Application Security
Before we explore and dig into the best practices for application security, let us first understand what application security is. To be very basic, application security is essentially the process of developing, adding, and testing security features inside applications to inhibit security weaknesses against threats such as unsanctioned access and modification.
Application security includes the security thoughts that occur throughout the application development and design process, including systems and methods to protect apps after they get launched. It may also include hardware, software, and techniques that classify or reduce security susceptibilities.
According to Veracode’s State of Software Security report, out of 85,000 applications that are tested, around 85% of them had at least one security flaw in them. Many had much more flaws than the rest, as the research found a total of 10 million flaws; of this number, 20% of all applications had at least one flaw of high severity level. Of course, not all of those defects present a substantial security risk as most of these flaws are at a lower level. But the troubling fact is the growing numbers of such chinks in the armor.
Application security tools are integrated into your application development environment, making this process and workflow much simpler and more effective.
Now that you understand what application security is and how it works let’s explore the best practices for application security.
1. Make sure to follow Secure Coding Practices.
The first and the most important priority in the mind of an application developer is to make it work and function flawlessly. A buggy application is useless because it will just not be used by anyone. If the software doesn’t do what it is programmed to do, it simply has no value. But a majority of the time, coders are just so engrossed in getting their programs to run properly that they compromise on a key element, and that is security. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that proper secure coding practices are followed, and security is not overlooked or ignored just for the sake of finishing the application.
2 Add adequate security measures during the development stage
To prevent an application attack from taking place makes more sense than dealing with it after the damage has been done. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your developers are well-trained in application security and take the necessary steps to implement security measures.
Doing so ensures that the developers are actively involved in the security process, which helps prevent major security issues from cropping up in the future. The hands-on approach speeds up the development of the application and avoids overburdening the app security professionals in case of a security breach or an attack.
If the users do not understand the risk of lack of security, they may mistakenly and unknowingly expose the app to weaknesses. Therefore, it is really important to educate the users as it will enable them to recognize these vulnerabilities and act on eliminating them.
To take care of the security issue for applications, a developer must invest in a code signing certificate. When you sign your code using a reliable code signing certificate as a developer, your end-users will face no security warnings when they proceed to download the application from an app store and can be sure that the code has not been tampered with. It also vouches for the publisher’s identity.
3 Don’t ignore the weaknesses vulnerabilities
There is no such thing as a flawless application, and you will realize that some bugs keep on appearing back over and over again. However, you have to realize that frequent bugs are not usual weaknesses, and you should find a way of getting rid of them.
However, you should note that vulnerabilities are not easy to eliminate as they may sound because as you solve the existing ones, new ones would start cropping up. Therefore, you need to work together with security professionals to identify and effectively eliminate vulnerabilities from the root and not simply constantly fix bugs. No one has that much on their hands, after all.
4. Your data needs to be encrypted
You should have well-defined procedures to safeguard every data and piece of information exchanged through your app. Encryption covers your information into symbols or alphabets that only the users or developers can read because they have access to the encryption key, making it difficult for an attacker to crack it and get access to it. If you lose this information to criminals, they cannot attack your application as the data is meaningless to them.
5 A source code is essential
Many hackers and attackers online will first and foremost try and identify the weak points of an app’s security to exploit it and launch an attack. This becomes even easier if your security code is not strong. While developing the app, you need to keep in mind that the code must be secure. You need to complicate the security code to make it difficult for an attacker to reverse engineer it. Make sure to run a few tests to find out any loopholes in the apps.
6. Make updating a regular habit.
There are millions of people using apps and software with new patches and updates coming frequently. Therefore, it is important to ensure to patch your operating system with the latest versions because if they are not updated, there are chances that it might have loopholes or weaknesses that an attacker might use to attack the app. You should also frequently modify and update the security settings to constantly update your security layers.
7 Do not forget to enforce minimum permissions
Minimum permissions primarily stem from the idea of least privilege, which is the concept and the act of restricting access rights for users, accounts and figuring out processes to allow only those required to perform a routine, legitimate task. Least privilege is a concept popularly applied to processes, applications, systems, and devices, where only those required to perform an authorized activity would have permission. By enforcing minimum permissions, you are cutting out unnecessary access to those who do not need it and making sure only those essential to the app have authority.
8 Formulate a plan of action
Despite having all the data and information about app security floating around in cyberspace, organizations still have chances not knowing a lot about the subject. Let us assume they have; there are still odds that the people dedicated to security applications are unaware. Hence it makes much more sense to formulate a plan defining your methods of procedure, troubleshooting processes, and escalation ladders.
9 Monitor and scan your traffic
There might be an attacker in disguise, which means that you need to inspect and monitor your traffic. It stands to reason that you should control the traffic that is passing in and going as it would give you a better understanding of whether you have been infiltrated. However, you are in charge, and you are allowed to make the rules and determine the type of traffic allowed and the restricted ones.
10 Arranging web apps will be a big help
Your organization relies on several applications and systems to function smoothly on a day-to-day basis. In daily operations, there might be instances where it is possible to miss out on which app is performing in which role, which could lead to a problem during troubleshooting as a lot of time would be wasted in identifying the correct application. Therefore it becomes vital to sort out every application according to its role and arrange it properly. Grouping the apps is the most critical, crucial step.
To conclude, while the tips shared above might come in handy, it is eventually your responsibility to ensure the safety of the application. You can only take all the possible steps to cordon off your app from any external threats.
Mustafa Al Mahmud is the Founder and CEO of Gizmo Concept and also a professional Blogger, SEO Professional as well as Entrepreneur. He loves to travel and enjoy his free moment with family members and friends.