With increasing cyberattacks, application security is one of the essential aspects of the business. Global cybercrime costs have reached almost 32.4% of the world’s GDP. So, it can be costly if you don’t have enough application security assessments. However, neglecting the application security can have a cascading impact on your business than just being costly.
Fortunately, cloud-based security assessment can help you reduce such risks. There are many cloud security assessment tools that you can use to secure apps. Apart from the tools, you also need best practices implemented at an organizational level for enhanced protection. So, let’s look at cloud-based application security assessment best practices, strategies for cloud-based application security, and a checklist. First, it is essential to understand the fundamentals of app security assessment.
What is Application Security Assessment?
A security assessment evaluates your application’s security against different types of cyberattacks. The purpose is to identify potential vulnerabilities and recommend necessary corrections. Application security assessments typically include the following:
- Inspecting application source code for potential vulnerabilities
- Analyzing attack vectors and identifying threats
- Identifying privileged access points and weak policies/certifications that attackers could leverage
- Evaluating the organization’s security controls and their effectiveness
- Testing the applicability of security controls to realistic attack scenarios
The assessment will also identify gaps and recommend enhancements to improve system security. Applications are routinely subjected to security assessments to identify vulnerabilities and recommend appropriate countermeasures. A typical process includes inspecting application source code for suspicious or buggy coding practices, covering these steps:
- Identifying attack vectors that could be exploited by malicious actors
- Profiling the operating system, browsers, and other components used on the target system; assessing which users have access to sensitive data areas
- Performing penetration tests against realistic threat scenarios using common hacking tools and techniques
- Evaluating organizational security controls against real-world attacks (e.g., ransomware); verifying compliance with applicable policy directives.
Why is Assessing Application Security Important?
Different application security assessments can help organizations identify and mitigate threats to their apps before they can impact users. You’re also enabled to identify and mitigate potential weaknesses in an application’s configuration, design, implementation, and operation. Especially if you have a cloud-native application, it becomes crucial to identify and mitigate data risks with a stringent cloud security risk assessment process.
Organizations can reduce the likelihood of attackers successfully compromising sensitive information by identifying and mitigating potential weaknesses. Cloud-based monitoring of applications ensures organizational leaders can quickly detect and recover from system breaches. By taking appropriate action before such a breach occurs, they can minimize its impact on both their users and the organization.
How Cloud Computing Facilitates Application Security Assessment and Strategy Building?
Cloud computing has made it easier for organizations to access and deploy applications securely. In addition, cloud computing enables organizations to dynamically provision resources as needed, which helps improve application security. Organizations can use an application security assessment tool to identify potential vulnerabilities in applications before they are deployed on the cloud. Once vulnerabilities have been identified, an organization can develop a strategy for mitigating those vulnerabilities.
This includes implementing secure coding practices and deploying firewall solutions. Cloud computing also provides an opportunity to improve application security by using security-related features of cloud platforms. For example, a company can use public clouds for hosting applications and then use platform-based security features (including authorization management) to enforce access control and protect data.
However, you need a strategy to create cohesive efforts to enhance data protection and app security. So, here is a cloud-based security assessment checklist to keep in mind while strategizing the assessments.
Cloud-based Application Security Assessment Checklist
Here is a list of elements to cover in a cloud-based application security assessment checklist:
- Identity and access management (IAM) ensures that users have the appropriate permissions to access applications, data, systems, and services. IAM solutions can help you manage user identities, authentication methods, policy settings, user profiles, entitlements, and security architectures.
- Network security includes a variety of technologies that can be used to counter attacks on computers connected to the network as well as data stored on those systems. Itis an essential part of any information system, but it’s also critical in business-to-business (B2B) environments where sensitive customer data may be at risk.
- Data security ensures that sensitive data is encrypted both in transit and at rest. Apart from encryptions, it is essential to check whether appropriate controls are in place to protect against data leaks.
- The compliance part is where you confirm that the application complies with relevant industry regulations and standards (PCI DSS and HIPAA).
- Security monitoring and reporting ensure that the application has mechanisms for monitoring and reporting security-related events.
This is just a starting point, and the specific items on your checklist will depend on the specific requirements of your application. You can create a cloud-based application assessment strategy based on the above checklist. Cloud-based application assessment strategy implementation is not just about choosing the right cloud security assessment methodology, but the execution, too, needs to be spot on. It requires certain best practices to ensure optimal security.
Best Practices to Overcome Application Security Risks on the Cloud
Here are some cloud-based application assessment best practices for overcoming application security risks on the cloud:
- Use a cloud provider with strong security measures and certifications, such as SOC 2 and ISO 27001.
- Enable multifactor authentication for all user accounts to add an extra layer of security.
- Use encryption for data in transit and data at rest to protect sensitive information.
- Regularly update and patch your applications to prevent vulnerabilities from being exploited.
- Use a web application firewall (WAF) to block malicious traffic and protect against common web vulnerabilities.
- Follow the principle of least privilege when setting up user accounts and permissions.
- Use a network intrusion detection and prevention system (IDPS) to monitor and respond to security threats.
- Monitor your cloud environment for unusual activity and implement security incident response plans to handle any possible breaches.
- Consider using a cloud access security broker (CASB) to provide additional security controls and visibility into cloud usage.
When it comes to cloud-based application security risk assessment and data protection, planning becomes crucial. However, it is a multi-faceted strategy, so you need effective analytics to make the right decisions. Cloudlytics offers you cloud intelligence solutions that allow you to enhance application security assessment. So, if you are looking to secure your app experience, start assessing the vulnerabilities and security risks with our intelligent solutions.