Facebook, Yahoo, Mariott International, Adult Friend Finder, eBay. What do all of these platforms have in common? All of these platforms have been involved in data breaches in the recent years. In this day and age, with everything and everyone going digital, the security of your users’ data is extremely important for your platform’s credibility. Thousands of data points are created every day, and with the advent of artificial intelligence, the collection of data is expected to go up exponentially. However, with the collection of such huge amounts of data, there is an added responsibility on the platforms and applications collecting this data. The moment a data breach happens, your brand loses the trust factor, which might lead to a loss of business as well.
Speaking of the data breaches, the sheer number of incidents involving users’ data being accessed unlawfully is alarming. While these incidents point to improper handling of data, they also indicate a few flaws in the application security testing strategy being implemented by different platforms. The increasing number of data leaks only proves that you cannot cut corners when it comes to making sure that your application is completely secure. In this article, we talk about a few things to keep in mind when thinking about setting up a foolproof application security testing strategy.
What is application security testing?
In simple terms, application security testing is the practice wherein the application is tested and analyzed for errors on the security level. Some of the practices generally followed in application security testing include brute force attack testing, session cookies, password quality rules, SQL injection and user authorization process. The main reason behind carrying out these procedures is to spot any threats or weaknesses that the application might have on the security front.
Common mistakes to avoid
When it comes to working up a strategy for application security testing, there are a certain common mistakes that people make, which can be easily avoided. Here are a few things that should lookout for:
- Not building a documented plan – This leads to ambiguity among the people working on executing the plans, which leads to reduced efficiency. It is always better to make sure that your strategy is well documented with all the roles and tasks defined well in advance.
- Not abiding by legalities – One of the most common mistakes that people make is not following and implementing due legalities. By not abiding by due legalities, you leave yourself open to a number of breaches on intellectual property and sensitive data.
- Not maintaining an application inventory – From tracking new domains to expired SSL certificates, from helping identify obsolete systems to ensuring compliance with several different requirements, an app inventory is extremely important for any application security testing strategy.
How to build the strategy
Speaking of building the application security testing strategy, there are a few concrete steps that should be taken to ensure that your processes are rid of all errors.
- Check the existing processes – A good place to start for any strategy is analyzing the existing processes. Make sure that all existing processes are completely flawless and build further on that.
- Define the threats – Once you have analyzed the process, you need to move on to defining the threats to the security of your application. Putting a blueprint for prospective threats in place helps you look at the bigger picture and later identify the affected points easily.
- Automate your processes – Automation in testing is growing increasingly, with the benefits being clear for everyone to see. In order to improve efficiency of testing and ensure a quicker turnaround for threat identification, it is important that you automate your processes wherever possible. However, this does not mean that you should eliminate manual testing altogether. Automated tools cannot match the creativity that a human tester brings to the table. Furthermore, automated tools sometimes end up missing different bugs related to authentication and authorization. This is where the expertise of a manual tester comes in handy.
- Managing vulnerabilities should be a priority – Most applications are susceptible to vulnerabilities from different sources like IoT devices, cross-site scripting, APIs, content management systems and injections. You need to put a plan in place to analyze all the vulnerabilities, and set them in order of priorities based on the impact each vulnerability can have and what would be the cost and effort required to fix it.
- Define parameters – In order to analyze how effective your processes are and what changes need to be made from time to time, it is important that you have a set of parameters in place against which the performance of your systems can be measured. The key part of any application security testing strategy is defining these parameters and metrics as it allows your team to constantly evolve and improve on the testing processes in the face of different security threats.
For the success of any business, it is important that you build a strong trust factor with your customers. This holds especially true in case of n application where users have to submit their private data to the platform, since the smallest of leaks can lead to a massive trust deficit. With a team of experienced professionals in place, Test Unity can help you formulate a foolproof strategy for application security testing, helping you ensure that your application has your users’ complete trust always. Don’t overlook the need for a strong security testing strategy for your application. Get in touch today!