Application Security Development Best Practices
With a growing number of security threats, application security development must be at top of mind when starting a new project. Here, we share application security best practices and highlight what application security tools you should consider using.
What Is Application Security Development?
Application security development is the process of making applications more secure by finding and fixing security vulnerabilities. This is often done by enforcing software security best practices and using application security testing tools.
In general, the benefits of application security development include:
- Complying with secure software development practices.
- Improving the overall security of your application.
- Reducing the cost for finding and fixing security vulnerabilities.
- Encouraging compliance with industry regulations and secure coding standards.
- Ensuring that security is standardized across teams.
Why Is Application Security Development Important?
Application security development is important to ensure that your application is free from coding errors and bugs. And controls the risk and helps safeguard against security vulnerabilities.
What Is Application Security Testing?
Application security testing — or AST — is a process to safeguard applications from security threats by identifying security weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the source code. As applications have grown in both size and complexity, AST is often handled by a combination of application security testing tools — such as SAST and DAST.
What Are Application Security Development Best Practices?
To ensure that your application is safeguarded against security vulnerabilities, follow these application security development best practices.
Enforce Secure Coding Standards
Secure coding standardshelp to ensure that your software is safeguarded against security vulnerabilities. The essential secure coding standards for application security development are CERTand OWASP — including the OWASP Top 10. In addition, an application security testing tool — like SAST— can automate code analysis and help recommend solutions for the security vulnerabilities it has identified. This makes it easier to address security issues as they arise.
Perform a Threat Assessment
A threat assessment enables you to identify all of the potential vulnerabilities in your application that could be exploited. This information helps to organize the weaknesses in your application are along with you to better address security vulnerabilities.
Scan for Security Vulnerabilities
Analyzing your code helps to ensure that any coding errors and vulnerabilities are identified early on in development. This often involves automated code reviews, which an application security testing tool — like SAST — is able to do.
Test the Security of Your Application
By testing the security of your application, you are able to verify whether the identified vulnerabilities had been effectively mitigated as well as identify new vulnerabilities that may have been missed. An application security testing tool — like DAST — can test the security of your application as it runs, within the full system environment to ensure that there are no security gaps.
Monitor Your Application Security Development Process
It is essential that you keep track of the identified software vulnerabilities and what actions were taken to mitigate or eliminate them. This provides a clear picture of the overall status of the application’s security.
Application Security Development Tools
Application security development tools are essential to safeguarding your software. As manual code reviews and traditional test plans are time-consuming practices that often introduce new vulnerabilities. For that reason, the most effective application security development tools are those that automate testing and identify security vulnerabilities early in the development lifecycle, ideally before code is committed.
Two of the most commonly used application security testing tools include:
SAST toolsare easy to automate, scalable, and automatically provide the highest levels of code coverage. A SAST tool analyzes source code as it’s being written to identify and report on any coding errors and vulnerabilities. This enables you to detect and address security vulnerabilities earlier in development.
In addition, this type of application security testing tool is able to provide you with the following benefits:
- Finding issues by looking for known vulnerability patterns for internationally recognized coding standards for security, as well as safety, and quality.
- Identifying defects earlier, which leads to lower costs of remediation.
- Supporting a shift-left approach — analysis available everywhere, including developer desktop and CI/CD pipelines.
- Delivering fast feedback and providing the exact location of vulnerabilities and their cause.
A DAST tool “looks inside” an application and dynamically analyzes execution logic and live data. This type of application security testing tool provides you with the following benefits:
- Analyzes the whole application as it runs, within the full system environment.
- Attempts to break encryption algorithms from outside.
- Verifies permissions to ensure the isolation of privilege levels.
- Checks for cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and other software security vulnerabilities.
- Tests for vulnerabilities in third-party interfaces.
- Records application execution for post-mortem test failure analysis.
- Catches hard application failures.
Both tools complement one another. Both are essential to a comprehensive application security testing process.
Why SAST Is Necessary for Application Security Testing and Development
A SAST tool— like Klocwork— is essential for effective, efficient application security testing and development. By using a SAST tool, you are able to ensure that your application security development is free from errors, bugs, and vulnerabilities. In addition, Klocwork automates analysis, complements DevOps processes, and enforces coding standards, such as CERT.
Klocwork also enables you to:
- Detect code vulnerabilities, compliance issues, and rule violations earlier in your application security development process.
- Enforce industry and coding standards, including CWE, CERT, and OWASP.
- Report on compliance across product versions.
See why Klocwork is an essential part of application security testing and development. Sign up for a free trial or watch our on-demand Klocwork demo.