Introduction 

In a world where technology is the key to stay competitive in any business, the demand for various application software is increasing. So, it is important to keep these applications safe from hackers. Application security is a set of security measures and practices that aim to keep your applications secure. A secure application helps the end-users perform various activities without the fear of the data getting stolen. Application security is incorporated and practiced while the application is being developed and also involves programs that protect sensitive information in the applications even after it is deployed for use. 

  1. What is Application Security?
  2. Importance of Application Security
  3. Types of Application Security
  4. Examples of application security

1. What is Application Security?

Application security incorporates hardware, software, measures, and procedures that have the potential or ability to detect or reduce security vulnerabilities. Application security definition states that it is a set of disciplines of tools used while developing, designing, and throughout the lifecycle of the application to identify and rectify the loopholes.

Various security applications are built within an application that helps the organizations to keep their applications secure and safe. A router and firewall are types of application security where the former is a hardware application security used to protect the IP address from the hackers and the latter defines the various activities that are permitted and prohibited. 

2. Importance of Application Security

The development in technology and programming has made various applications available in different networks and are often connected to the cloud which makes it highly vulnerable to threats of hackers. Therefore the use of application security is inevitable and is a great way to keep the applications away from any unauthorized access. Businesses depend on this to protect vital data from being modified and stolen.

Since there are a huge number of applications used by internal and external stakeholders, businesses depend on application security to protect intellectual property and sensitive data. The increasing pressure of application security threats from hackers more today than before also makes application security they need for today’s survival in companies. 

3. Types of Application Security

The various types of application security include authentication, authorization, encryption, logging, and application security testing. 

A) Authentication

It is a type of application security used while developers build an application with procedures to ensure only authorized users can access the application. It essentially ensures that only users with valid credentials can gain access to the application. Generally, authentication by a server uses a username and password to validate the user or other modes of authentication can be fingerprints, retina scans, or even facial recognition. 

B) Authorization

This ensures that only those users who are authorized can read or make changes in the database thereby reducing the chances of application attack. Usually, authentication and authorization are coupled to make sure only the designated users are allowed to access a file or resources. Authentication is followed by authorization so that the system can validate the user’s access by effectively comparing the user’s identity and list of authorized users. 

C) Encryption

It is an important process wherein the data is transformed so that it is not accessed or read by anyone without the description key. This is a vital step after authentication and authorization that aims to protect the data even from cybercriminals. The various applications today are cloud-based where traffic containing sensitive data travels from end-user to the cloud, this traffic is encrypted to keep the data secure and away from cyber vulnerabilities. 

D) Logging

Logging is a crucial step where it helps in identifying the security breach in authorization as the specific time-stamped for logging in can help in identifying the user and the data accessed without authorization. 

E) Application security testing

It is a set of processes that makes the applications more resistant to cyber threats as it identifies security vulnerabilities while coding. It basically checks all the above steps and their effectiveness. Organizations use several combinations of application security testing tools to make their applications immune to security threats. 

F) Controls

Application security control is a process where the system blocks unauthorized access to make changes that possibly put the data at risk. These are techniques to enhance security in applications like it determines the way an application should react to unexpected cyber breach or threat. A programmer or developer can use different control techniques where the programmer gets the upper hand in case of an unexpected security threat by a criminal.

The programmer codes different control functions according to the business of the specific application. It includes completeness, validity checks, authentication, authorization, input controls, and forensic controls. Overall, application security controls enable better privacy and security of data while transmitting data between applications. 

G) Challenges

Though application security is a must in today’s technology-driven world there is no single tool that can help protect your applications individually. So businesses have to depend on multiple application security tools which might not be feasible for all due to financial positions or shortage of resources. Among many challenges that application security comes with is the lack of in-house professionals to manage cybersecurity.

In this case, the managed services are a better option to strengthen applications without burdening the in-house staff. Another challenge is that while inheriting old codes the developers impose technical debt which is a big risk as it is more prone to hackers. The content management system is also getting increasingly vulnerable to external threats for their application as the WordPress platform saw a 30 % increase in the security threat. 

4. Examples of Application Security

  1. Mobile and network application security: The use and need for mobile phones are increasing drastically over the years these mobiles also transmit data within various networks and hence there should be the use of encryption while designing mobiles. Traditional applications like firewalls and antivirus should be present in every node to keep the data protected and provide access only to authorized users. 
  2. Web application security: Businesses must give due diligence to protect the services that users access over the internet to protect sensitive data as web applications are on remote serves and not on the user’s system. This web application security is vital for those businesses that provide web application services as they are more prone to an application security vulnerability. 
  3. Trends: The demand for application security developers has made their salaries skyrocketing in recent years. According to the statistics in 2018, the top 25% of information security analysts earned a salary of $127000 on average and the rest earned an average of $98000 salary. The increasing need for application security specialists has impacted even small businesses as a survey by Continuum in 2019 more than 75% of the small businesses are expected to outsource at least half of their cybersecurity needs in the next five years. 

Conclusion

The increase in threats for application security makes it inevitable for companies or businesses to introduce application security as a vital part of their applications to protect their internal and external stakeholders’ data and to help the developers build applications with confidence. 

So, have you made up your mind to make a career in Cyber Security? Visit our Master Certificate in Cyber Security (Red Team) for further help. It is the first program in offensive technologies in India and allows learners to practice in a real-time simulated ecosystem, that will give you an edge in this competitive world.

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