Ensuring application security is crucial to protect your organization against breaches and cyber attacks. One aspect of application security is to identify vulnerabilities early in the development life cycle to prevent bigger security issues from forming.

However, with organizations developing and deploying software in high demand and at faster speeds, enterprise application security can be a challenge for most organizations. In this overview, we’ll explore the different aspects of application security across formats like web and mobile, from understanding risks to version control and ongoing support:

What Is Enterprise Application Security?

Application security, commonly referred to as appsec, is exactly what it sounds like — the process of making applications more secure to prevent breaches that could damage your company’s reputation and compromise sensitive information.  In terms of application security basics, understanding CVSS scores, which measure the severity of vulnerabilities, and having patch management and risk response protocols in place is a good first step. 

According to the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), some of the most common vulnerabilities and critical risks include code injection, broken access control, security misconfiguration, and cryptographic failures.

To prevent these and other risks, appsec best practices include:

  • Threat modeling via the STRIDE method to find potential vulnerabilities that could be exploited
  • Risk assessment with the DREAD framework to understand the likelihood of specific kinds of attacks

These two exercises are key, as they will enable you to identify weaknesses so you can protect your software and be prepared in the event of an attack.

Open Source Enterprise Application Security

Given how open source software is communally developed and supported, it’s understandable to be concerned about open source security. However, many open source projects — especially those with the most enterprise viability — are backed by a robust community that is deeply invested in stability and security. Most open source projects are following best practices to identify and fix vulnerabilities on all the components or dependencies that make the open source project. While no software system can be 100% secure, open source software is no more or less risky than commercial or proprietary software.

In addition to vulnerabilities at component level, another area to secure open source software in the enterprise relates to software configuration, not the software itself. So it’s critical to have the expertise to deploy and scale open source software properly, as well as keeping up with the latest versions that fixes for the latest vulnerabilities. OpenLogic also offers consulting and advisory services to help teams prior to deployment and with scalability and configuration.

Every open source package comes with unique security considerations. For example, if you are using Apache Kafka, reviewing these Kafka security best practices would be wise so you understand why encryption and authentication are essential. With Apache Tomcat, consider taking steps to improve your Tomcat security hardening to get your server production-ready.

For CentOS security, OpenLogic provides security-hardened images for CentOS 7.3 and CentOS 6.8 and can help you plan a migration to an alternative (like Rocky Linux or AlmaLinux) since CentOS 6 and 8 are already end of life, and CentOS 7 is sunsetting in 2024.

No matter how your organization is using OSS, it’s a good idea to adopt governance and management policies, stay up to date with open source security news, the latest releases, and understand how to reduce your risk when a project reaches end of life. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, having access to expert technical support can minimize disruption to your business in the event of a security incident.

Static Application Security Testing (SAST) For Enterprise

To ensure that your application security measures are efficient and effective, you need the right application security tools, including SAST tools.

Also known as “white-box test,” static application security testing (SAST) is a software testing methodology designed for inspecting and analyzing source code. SAST tools analyze code as it is being written to identify and report weaknesses that can lead to security vulnerabilities earlier in development.

In addition to supporting best practices for secure software development, SAST tools also support shift-left development practices.

DevSecOps

DevSecOps refers to the integration of security into a development life cycle. An extension of that is a DevSecOps pipeline, which is a set of security practices incorporated into a software development life cycle to build, test, and deploy secure software faster and easier. One way to ensure that each of the DevSecOps phases are met is to use a DevSecOps checklist. This checklist covers four key areas: team norms, development, testing, and monitoring.

Secure Coding Practices

Secure coding practices are essential as they help to ensure that software is safeguarded against software security vulnerabilities. A key part of software security is the use of secure coding practices, which can be divided into four main sections: project requirements, development process, tools, and DevSecOps.

Enterprise PHP Security

Web applications can serve as a highly visible attack surface for malicious parties who want to find and exploit vulnerabilities. Because most web applications use PHP as their server-side language of choice, keeping PHP versions up to date is one of many PHP security best practices that teams need to consider as they develop and maintain their web applications.

To improve PHP security, teams need to regularly perform PHP security audits. Regular PHP security code reviews ensure that teams are using the supported and patched PHP versions, libraries, extensions, and so on.

In addition to regular code reviews, it’s important for teams to also try to minimize their potential attack surface during and after development. After development, teams can turn to tools like PHP obfuscators to make code less accessible to malicious activities and less vulnerable to exploits.

For a language as popular as PHP, there will undoubtedly be PHP security issues. However, as long as teams keep up with the regular patches for supported PHP versions and follow general best practices for their PHP-based web applications, they can avoid being low-hanging fruit for malicious parties.

For those on end of life PHP versions, teams need to ensure they have PHP long-term support that provides patches for any potential vulnerabilities.

Looking for additional information on PHP CVEs? Be sure to check out the Zend PHP Security Center.

Enterprise Mobile and Web App Security Testing

Enterprise application security must also stay top of mind during software testing. Critical best practices for security testing for software include:

  • Threat modeling. Documenting actions that teams can take in response to probable threats helps expose vulnerabilities earlier on in testing, which assists in finding architecture risks at earlier stages of development.
  • Penetration testing. This type of testing assesses the application’s overall security posture by simulating a cyber-attack against your system to check for exploitable vulnerabilities.
  • Code reviews. Code reviews help developers find and fix software vulnerabilities in the development cycle itself by removing common vulnerabilities such as memory leaks, format string exploits, and buffer overflows.

What all these security testing best practices have in common is their emphasis on testing earlier. Instead of running in a silo, security testing needs to shift left and integrate fully into the application development process. Once this integration happens, teams can achieve continuous security testing and rest assured that they are releasing well-protected apps.

Related: Watch this shift left testing webinar to learn how 5-star mobile apps optimize for speed and quality >>

To incorporate security testing into your development lifecycle, you need to leverage the right tools and technology as part of your tech stack. JMeter security testing is a great open source option for getting started. With JMeter, teams can implement security testing types such as Site Spidering, Fuzzing, and Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS).

With larger commercial solutions like BlazeMeter, teams can benefit from even more robust features that enable better security, such as secrets management at both the team and bucket level during API monitoring.

Related Reading: Learn how organizations in need of apps with the utmost security accelerate their web and mobile testing with this Perfecto banking case study >>

Enterprise Version Control Safety

Version control systems store some of the most valuable assets to organizations — intellectual property (IP). Often the most important IP is proprietary product information, trade secrets, customer and employee records, and financial data.

Unfortunately, intellectual property theft is an all-too-common occurrence. For that reason, it is important to ensure that your version control system is secure.

There are several security best practices that can help protect IP.

  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): An authentication method that requires users to verify identity using multiple independent methods. One example of multi-factor authentication is a personal identification number.
  • Cloud Identity and Access Management: Identity access management provides a framework that enables users to connect to applications, often cloud-based services that sit outside of a network.

In addition, as nearly every developer uses Git development at some point, it is important to know: is Git secure? Native Git is not secure, meaning that it is not free from danger or threats.

Putting Everything Together For Stronger Enterprise Application Security

Enterprise application security can include checkpoints and safeguards that are already part of your plan, but more than likely, there are additional considerations to make your strategy even stronger.

An enterprise functions across devices, formats, and versions, which makes each of the elements we’ve discussed critical to secure and maintain in your enterprise application security plan. You may have already considered and planned for one aspect of ongoing security, like web and mobile security, but feel less confident or may not have the resources to support another part of your plan.

Security breaches and attacks don’t take a rest, and a good appsec plan will stay vigilant to the latest trends in version testing. From reviewing code to reviewing threat models, we hope that you were able to find a new perspective or tactic to apply to your plan within this article.

If you are looking into strengthening or starting an enterprise application security strategy for your business, Perforce offers solutions for everything that we’ve covered today.

Start With A Great Security Foundation

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Develop a Functional Enterprise Application Security Plan With the Power of Perforce

Perforce Software can strengthen your current resources and provide the expert planning that your organization needs to keep applications secure and functional. Explore how the resources we’ve included in this article can support your team’s ongoing application security efforts:

Helix Core

Version Control + Code Review

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Perfecto

Web and Mobile App Testing

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BlazeMeter

The Complete Continuous Testing Platform

Explore BlazeMeter

OpenLogic

Enterprise Open Source Support

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Klocwork

SAST and Static Analysis for C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, Python, and Kotlin

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Zend

Enterprise PHP

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