Application security is no longer an afterthought but a foremost one. Applications across platforms, especially the unsecured ones, pose grave security threats since hackers can always find ways to bypass defenses or hit unpatched vulnerabilities.
Given the growing number of organizations developing their own applications and integrating them with open-source code, the potential vulnerabilities and risks linked with these apps have also increased significantly. Thus, security testing for applications is critical.
This is why EC-Council offers the Certified Application Security Engineer (CASE) training program. CASE goes beyond the regulations on secure coding practices and incorporates secure requirement gathering, strong application design, and security challenge management in the post-development phase of application development.
But, before we delve into why application security certification is important and why you should care, let’s first talk about what application security is.
What Is Application Security?
Application security is the process of developing, inserting, and testing security components within applications. This protocol is vital for application development as it mitigates security weaknesses against potential threats like unsanctioned access and modifications. The aim of application security is to prevent code or data within an application from being stolen or compromised.
Simply put, application security includes all the activities involved in making your application more secure, including identifying, fixing, and improving the security of your applications. For instance, installing a router to prevent outsiders from accessing a computer’s IP address from the Internet is a form of hardware application security.
Other forms of application security include software, hardware, and other practices that can detect or reduce security vulnerabilities. An application security practice or procedure can include activities such as an application security routine that involves protocols like constant testing.
3 Reasons Why Application Security Is Important
Guarantees the security of sensitive information
Based on a Veracode report, 83% of the 85,000 applications that were tested had at least one security issue or more. 50% had more than one issue, while 20% of all apps had no less than one high severity flaw. While not every flaw poses a substantial security risk, the sheer number is quite disturbing.
Sensitive information protection is a major concern for most people, which is why they are reluctant to share their personal information online. Therefore, most organizations go to great lengths to assure their customers, clients, or end users that their personal information would not be shared with a third party. This is particularly practiced in the retail industry and by credit card companies.
Increases consumer trust and boosts business reputation
In this day and age where no organization is safe from cyberattacks, application security limits a cyber attacker’s attempts to get to your organization. There is an increasing demand for security at the network level and at the application level. The sooner and quicker you can discover and resolve security issues, the safer your business will be.
Without a doubt everyone makes mistakes, but the issue is how to detect those mistakes in a timely manner. Organizations that have managed to scale this issue have seen a larger consumer base, increased sales, improved consumer loyalty, and better reputation, all based on their implementation of the best security practices.
Helps prevent potential attacks
Today, applications face more attacks than ever before. Application security testing can expose vulnerabilities at the application level, which when patched helps to prevent further attacks.
Similarly, when integrated into your application development settings, application security tools can simplify workflow and make the process more efficient. These tools are helpful for performing compliance audits. It saves time and money by identifying issues before cyber attackers notice them.
The Challenges of Ensuring Application Security
The bulk of most organizations’ strategic business procedures are promoted by applications. The question remains, why is application security not getting as much attention as network security?
Traditionally, Java Security Engineers and other app security professionals must satisfy too many masters before they can secure their apps. Their foremost challenge is to keep up with the ever-changing security landscape and the application development tools market, while gunning for approvals.
The following are the challenges faced in application security:
Shortage of sufficiently skilled workforce
The lack of accessible talent for cybersecurity jobs has made cybersecurity experts very costly to hire and maintain. According to Salary.com, as of September 2020, an Entry Level Security Engineer’s salary averaged at $87,741 in the United States. Include the cost of benefits and overheads, and you’re looking at a huge investment for a very specialized skill set.
Even if your organization can fill in these positions, the levels of expertise needed for this new employee will span across numerous domains as software security programs evolve geometrically. These specialized domains include testing, authentication, design flaws, data protection, bugs, encryption, and client-side applications, among others.
Given that most organizations don’t follow a fixed-release schedule, there are inconsistencies in testing demands. To this effect, continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) has become obligatory for organizations to remain competitive and meet customer demands.
Let’s assume you work in an agile development setting. What this means is that you could be facing nearly continuous feature releases, with each of these updates carrying varying levels of technical risks and business impacts. Your app security program must be able to accommodate this.
A timely response is critical
Your business is not only dealing with a lumpy release schedule but also battling with the ever-changing security environment. Your security team must be ready to respond in a timely fashion when new threats are discovered, and they must be able to meet different compliance and regulatory demands.
Without an effective application security team, your organization will be scrambling to test and clean up codes. Even worse, you could be battling against time to deploy patches to software already released to the masses.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution
There is no master tool that can keep you safe. Even though automated tools have become more sophisticated, each security testing tool has varying support. Just applying one or even two is not enough to guarantee that you won’t miss critical issues that could sabotage your security.
The downside is, if you don’t have the skill set to replicate security protocols and verify findings, you might end up spending long hours chasing false positives. Besides, tools are not enough to guarantee your organization’s security. There are new threats and attack vectors coming up daily, while new regulations are elevating compliance requirements.
What Can You Do To Resolve These Application Security Challenges?
There are different things you can do to resolve these issues. Being on top of the situation and using proactive security measures will allow you to invest your time more effectively. When security issues are left unattended, they can escalate into a crisis, and all you’ll be focused on are remediation and damage control, as your business goes on a downward spiral.
With the right resources and tools, you can design secure architectures and develop secure codes that won’t slow down the development process or affect user experience. Organizing software security training such as EC-Council’s CASE can go a long way in ensuring the security of your critical data and applications.
About EC-Council Certified Application Security Engineer (CASE)
The Certified Application Security Engineer (CASE) program by EC-Council concentrates on the significance of secure application best practices and techniques in the current insecure operating landscape. This application security course is one of the most inclusive in the market today.
Unlike other application security trainings, CASE goes beyond just the guidelines on secure coding practices and includes secure requirement gathering, robust application design, and handling security issues in post development phases of application development.
This makes CASE one of the most comprehensive application security certifications on the market today. It is desired globally by software application engineers, analysts, and testers, and respected by hiring authorities.
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