Addressing the increasing risk of web applications
According to Verizon’s recent security report, attacks on web applications are now the leading source of data enterprise breaches, up 500% since 2014. The spike in attacks has caused cyber security professionals to be most concerned about customer facing web apps introducing security risks to the business.
Organizations of all sizes and industries are increasingly concerned about the security of their web applications, mobile applications, and or other software packages. Application related breaches can lead to lost revenue, significant recovery expense, and a loss of brand reputation. Three factors that any and all organizations should be very concerned about. In response, many organizations implement incentives to prevent gaps in the security policy of an application or to avoid vulnerabilities in the underlying system that could be caused by flaws in the design, development, deployment, upgrade, or maintenance or database of the application.
How to Prevent an Attack
As you know, the battle against hackers is a long and difficult fight. An attacker just requires one vulnerability to break in and you need to find all of them to keep them out. While this may seem like a daunting, if not an impossible task, with the help of Key CDN, we have some tips, technique, and advice for keeping the bad guys out.
1. Create a Web Application Security Plan
Like any good idea, there needs to be a thought out and intelligent plan behind it. All too often, companies take a disorganized approach and end up accomplishing next to nothing. Develop a detailed, actionable web application security plan that clearly states your organization’s overall goals.
For example, perhaps you want to enhance your overall compliance, or maybe you need to protect your brand more diligently. Your plan should prioritize which applications should be secured first and how they will be tested. Whether you choose to do so manually, or through a managed service provider, like Secure Sense. Additionally, if your organization is large enough, it’s best practice for your blueprint to name the individuals within the organization who should be involved in maintaining web application security on an ongoing basis.
2. Perform an Inventory of Your Web Applications
As organized as you think your organization may be, you probably don’t have a very clear idea about which applications it relies on a daily basis. In fact, most organizations have many rogue applications running at any given time and never notice them until something goes wrong. You can’t hope to maintain effective web application security without knowing precisely which applications your company uses.
How many are there? Where are they located? Performing such an inventory can be a big undertaking, and it is likely to take some time to complete. While performing it, make a note of the purpose of each application. Chances are that when it is all said and done, there will be many applications that are either redundant or completely pointless.
3. Prioritize Your Web Applications
After completing the inventory of your existing web applications, sorting them in order of priority is the logical next step. You may doubt it now, but your list is likely to be very long. Without prioritizing which applications to focus on first, you will struggle to make any meaningful progress.
It’s best to sort the applications into three categories:
Critical applications are primarily those that are externally facing and contain customer information. These are the applications that should be managed first, as they are the most likely to be targeted and exploited by hackers. Serious applications may be internal or external and may contain some sensitive information. Normal applications have far less exposure, but they should be included in tests down the road.
By categorizing your applications like this, you can reserve extensive testing for critical ones and use less intensive testing for less critical ones. This allows you to make the most effective use of your company’s resources and will help you achieve progress more quickly.
4. Conduct Security Awareness Training
Despite the size, industry or location of an organization, employees are almost always the cause of a data breach. Why you ask? We’ve answered it here in an older blog!
If you run a company, chances are that only certain people within your organization have a decent grasp of the importance of information security and how it works. The majority of users have only the most basic understanding of the issue, and this can make them unintentionally careless. This is also problematic because uneducated users fail to identify security risks.
By educating employees, they will more readily spot vulnerabilities themselves. In essence, bringing everyone up to speed about cyber security is a terrific way to get everyone in on the act of finding and eliminating vulnerabilities. With this in mind, consider introducing a security awareness training program, like Security Mentor to help train and inform employees.
By bringing everyone on board and making sure that they know what to do if they encounter a vulnerability or other issue, you can strengthen your overall security posture and maintain the best possible web application security best practices.