The New Coding Landscape Requires High-Quality Application Security Tools
Effective strategies and tools — such as static code analysis and code refactoring solutions — are essential if teams are to protect their apps in an increasingly fraught environment.
Application security has never been simple and over the past few years, it's become far more challenging for several key reasons. Most notably, the number of threats has increased dramatically, as cybercriminals' techniques have become far more complex. At the same time, the stakes have gone up, meaning that effective application security must be a priority for nearly every organization — not just software companies.
The Impact of Increasing Code Complexity
The difficulty of protecting applications from cybersecurity threats is exacerbated by the evolution of coding in recent years, as Dark Reading contributor Jeff Williams recently explained.
He pointed out that the average midsize financial firm now has a portfolio of more than 1,000 applications, each of which will have 100s of 1000s of lines of code. Code folios are growing rapidly.
This is a massive amount to oversee, and mistakes affecting any aspect of this code can potentially lead directly to a security issue. Considering these numbers, it's not surprising that so many companies have experienced cybersecurity breaches in recent years.
Why Application Security Is Important
Application secruity is important because individuals and organizations need to be careful when utilizing apps, as these resources may be vulnerable to cyberattacks. Malicious attacks can lead to data breaches, identity thefts, fraud, and other negative outcomes. However, companies do not always do enough to ensure the apps they release are secure.
With tight deadlines and rapidly-shifting markets, it can be appealing to release applications quickly without strict security adherence. However, there are two major benefits to strong attention to application security:
How Brand Reputation can be Impacted
By releasing an unsecure app, organizations run the risk of experiencing a significant backlash, as their reputation can be severely damaged. Recently, Facebook’s popular WhatsApp came under international fire for its massive security breach.
As a result, both Facebook and WhatsApp faced a PR firestorm which eroded public confidence in both platforms. Focusing on ironclad app security is part of a solid brand strategy; one that instills confidence in consumers over time.
How Identity and Information Protection can be Impacted
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of protecting their sensitive information — such as bank account number, social security number, and home address — from cyberthreats. To ensure that their private information is safe, they will avoid firms that have failed to safeguard their clients' data.
When DevOps focus on developing applications with security in mind, consumers feel safer in providing sensitive information. Attention to security in form development and information intake features in an app helps to strengthen app users’ engagement long-term.
A New Approach to Application Security
According to Williams, this new coding landscape demands an updated approach to application security. He noted that while manual penetration testing and code review were sufficient enough in the past, they are simply inadequate for the more complex and larger code sets that companies now utilize on a regular basis.
High-Quality Application Security Tools
One new key approach, Williams asserted, is the use of high-quality tools that are automated and instantaneous.
"These tools instrument the software development process, gathering security information in real time as applications are built, integrated, tested, and deployed," Williams wrote. "Most importantly, these tools, like continuous integration and continuous delivery tools, don't disrupt the normal software delivery process. Security tools that interfere with or slow down software delivery don't get used."
As teams develop code with more features, shorter timelines, and stricter standards than ever before, it gets increasingly difficult to find bugs and fix security flaws. With this complexity, developers need to select high quality application security tools like Klocwork. Find problems at the earliest possible point before the build and spend less time testing later.