Evolving, multiplying threats demand superior application security efforts

Evolving, multiplying threats demand superior application security efforts

on Nov 24, 14 • by Chris Bubinas • with No Comments

The only way for companies to protect themselves while continuing to take advantage of application development is by embracing new, advanced security tools, such as static code analysis solutions...

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The rapid expansion of application development's importance and impact has been a mixed blessing for countless companies. The benefits are fairly apparent: Companies rely on newly developed apps to improve in-house operations, meet client demands, appeal to new customers and much more. The cost of this trend? An ever-increasing risk to corporate cybersecurity. 

Obviously, companies are aware of these risks and take numerous precautions to protect themselves and their assets. Unfortunately, though, many recent surveys and studies suggest that these efforts are insufficient. As of now, many organizations simply cannot keep pace with evolving cybersecurity threats in the field of application development. The only way for companies to protect themselves while continuing to leverage these invaluable resources is by embracing new, advanced security tools, such as static code analysis solutions.

Function over all
A big part of the problem when it comes to application security is the developer dynamic in place at many organizations. As a recent Gartner report revealed, many developers are more focused on meeting application functionality goals than security standards. When addressed at all, application security is approached with far less seriousness and concern than app performance.

This state of affairs poses serious problems for companies and end-users across the board. Most obviously, any person or organization leveraging an under-tested application may be at risk of experiencing a breach or other security incident. If this happens, the companies that are actually developing the apps in question would see their reputations severely wounded, perhaps irreparably. Consumers and companies now understand the need to avoid utilizing products and services provided by firms with histories of cybersecurity lapses.

Course correction
To avoid these outcomes, organizations need to revisit their approach to application development, and deploying the right tools can play a big role in this capacity. 

As noted, developers frequently face a tremendous amount of pressure to deliver application functionality, and they therefore sacrifice security concerns. But high-quality static code analysis solutions can enable developers to drastically improve their application security without compromising productivity. These tools identify potential security problems early in the development cycle, without forcing programmers to manually pore over their work. This means that developers can continue to hit their functionality goals while also delivering a fully secure product, rather than being forced to choose between either feature improvement or flaw corrections.

In conjunction with making these tools widely available to developers, business leaders must also take pains to emphasize the importance of application security. After all, the pressure developers feel to deliver functionality at all costs, as highlighted by the Gartner study, does not originate out of nowhere – managers and executives in countless organizations enforce policies and strategies that explicitly or implicitly establish this prioritization. Developers simply react to their superiors' cues.

Investing in effective, time-saving security solutions, such as static code analysis, is a critical step for these leaders to reverse this trend. But that alone is not enough. Additionally, business decision-makers must make security a priority across the board. Internal messaging should regularly reiterate this message. Developers should receive the time and resources they need to effectively ensure the integrity of the apps they work on. They should also have the chance to pursue training and other educational opportunities that can improve their application security efforts.

While all of this will inevitably require a significant investment on the part of the company, it is easily worthwhile. It is far cheaper to catch and correct security flaws in the development stage than later on, and the reputation for delivering trustworthy, secure applications is virtually invaluable. 

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