How secure are the software applications within your organization? Think about it. Were they fully secure a month ago? How about yesterday? Maybe you’re not sure. Regardless of how you answer these questions, what you really need to consider is—how secure are your applications, right now, at this very moment? We learned last week, it’s never too early to think about application security.

As we move into week two of our coverage on Forrester’s recent report, The State of Application Security 2020, we’ll dig deeper into the evolution of application software and how it’s constantly changing to meet the demands of today’s customer. Many organizations believe this progression forward is what actually keeps applications one step ahead—but this is not true. And security efforts will be greatly hampered by such a false sense of comfort.

The truth is, bad actors will find ways to adapt their tools and strategies to keep pace with new security practices. Progressive hackers now boost tools and tactics with the latest AI and automation technology to improve their odds of exploiting bugs and flaws. This is one of the main reasons why AppSec must be continuous.

Trying to make this goal a reality has become a moving target for DevOps teams, who need independent, reliable reports—like those found here—to establish better AppSec programs. This Forrester report is here to educate you, and ZeroNorth is here to help you turn those security insights into legitimate practices.

So, how can today’s organizations ensure a continuous state of security for their software applications?

The Battle to Adapt

Software applications advance at the speed of the customer, increasing in complexity to meet the competitive demands of digitizing businesses. New languages, architectures, containers and methodologies reach the height of popularity today, only to become obsolete tomorrow. And as we know from week one with Forrester’s report, applications are still the most favored external attack method overall, despite the continual improvements of security.

All of this means security has to be adaptable, flexible—holistic. Software development isn’t what it used to be. With the growing adoption of cloud-based and container technologies, organizations are now pushing code to production faster than ever. And this significant uptick in speed has forced security teams to reexamine their methods for security integration throughout the software development lifecycle (SDLC).

And yet, Forrester cites only 14% of organizations have fully integrated security at all phases, moving slowly towards implementation in prerelease scanning in development—and even more slowly towards scanning in design. And firms must now “double down” on application security prerelease scanning—early and often—if they hope to address real risk.

The Solution in a Word: Visibility

Logic dictates you can’t protect what you can’t see. In the modern arena of cyber warfare, comprehensive, real-time visibility is critical to enable a strong, continuous AppSec management program. Defense teams must operate with a real-time, comprehensive picture of conditions inside all software application environments. And to achieve this, security integration must happen throughout development. Full visibility allows for the better gathering of critical information, such as defensive strategies and processing the results of security scanning tests.

If vulnerabilities exist in the software, where and to what extent are they exploitable? This is crucial, as application security often becomes a race to see who can discover these vulnerabilities first. Without a complete, real-time view of one’s potential vulnerabilities, managed through an orchestrated program, defenders can’t defend. And one of the most successful ways to find this strength is to embrace continuous security measures throughout the entire SDLC.

Visibility Achieved: Here’s How it’s Done

Businesses today struggle with how to gain visibility in AppSec, from managing vulnerabilities to orchestrating security tools, and how best to use their data. This uncertainty makes sense, especially considering reports suggest some quarter of respondents are running almost 80 security tools across their enterprise.[1] It’s difficult for any organization to obtain a clear, consolidated view of risk across applications while juggling so many different tools.

What they need is help.

Organizations looking to improve visibility and ensure continuous security across their software applications need to team with a partner to:

  • Simplify the process of managing disparate security tools through orchestration to a single, centralized platform
  • Monitor and view all security testing results from this centralized, integrated platform
  • Maintain a real-time, comprehensive reporting of vulnerabilities across all stages of the software development life cycle (SDLC) to effectively manage risk
  • Prioritize risk based on potential business impact to optimize the speed and effectiveness of remediation efforts

Application Security Moving Forward

There’s no reason to believe the continually shifting battle of adaptation between cyber defenders and attackers will subside in the future. If the first big step in application security is about standing up and maintaining a robust program, the second one is about keeping that protection running in a continuous fashion—and with full visibility into ongoing risk.

So, how secure are your organization’s software applications today? Not sure? Your insight is here. Comprehensive, real-time visibility is your go-to organizational ally when shooting for the highest level of continuous security, now and into the unforeseeable future.

Download Your Free Copy

Download your complimentary copy of The State Of Application Security, 2020 to explore vertical-specific trends, learn about testing security earlier in the SDLC, understand automation’s increasing role in remediation and more. Feel free to contact us at ZeroNorth to learn more about our capabilities for application vulnerability discovery.

[1] Source: Why poor visibility is hampering cybersecurity

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