The IT world continues to evolve, and like many of your colleagues, you’ve decided to implement cloud-based technology in your organization. Your reasons for doing so probably included the following:
- You want to lower your overall IT costs.
- You manage a global team, and a cloud infrastructure permits you to collaborate more effectively in a distributed environment.
- You’re frightened by the prospect of managing security on your own, and you’d prefer to engage industry experts to help secure your business applications.
Those are all great reasons. This article will concentrate on another — and arguably the most important — reason for your organization to make the move to the cloud: enhanced security protection. Specifically, we’ll present the case for conducting application security testing on cloud.
Making the Case for Application Security Testing on Cloud
When developing and deploying applications, you can leverage cloud-based security services to significantly extend your organization’s data protection at a reasonable cost without impeding application development activities. Application security testing is a specific area that you certainly don’t want to miss out on.
In the past, companies couldn’t conceive of running application security testing in cloud-based infrastructures. This was largely because:
- Fear that such testing was too risky to implement and might expose highly confidential information to outsiders was widespread.
- Application security testing activities were too cumbersome and required significant manual workarounds in order to generate meaningful results.
- Cloud services didn’t align with agile programming and continuous engineering models since previous technology couldn’t always return testing results in a timely manner.
As a result, organizations believed they had three finite choices:
- To form security teams and manage their own security with on-premises tools;
- To seek outside expertise in the form of external penetration testing teams or managed services providers;
- To do nothing and hope their limited network security protection proved to be sufficient. This can be referred to as the “hope-and-pray” strategy.
You can see that none of these options is truly viable and cost-effective in the long run.
There is a fourth choice that you should consider: automated, cloud-based services for application security testing.
Automating Application Security Testing Protection
Does it make sense for your organization to utilize automated cloud services? As with many technical scenarios, the answer to that question is, “It depends.” Why is that? If you aren’t already performing application security testing and are instead relying on the hope-and-pray strategy outlined above, then yes, automated services present a viable option. With recent technological improvements in the space, automated services produce reliable, thorough and easy-to-interpret results while generating low false positive rates.
On the other hand, if you utilize on-premises solutions or managed services offerings, you need to ascertain if those solutions protect your entire application portfolio and make use of all available testing techniques. If your organization focuses solely on high-risk applications and leverages a single security solution, then you should consider cloud-based automated application security testing solutions to complement your existing application security program.
Extending Security Protection With Cloud-Based Testing
Cloud-based application security testing solutions can be leveraged to test high- and medium-risk applications, to perform one-off scans or to test applications early in the development life cycle. Alternatively, on-premises and managed services should be utilized for more comprehensive testing activities. Engage in cost and functionality comparisons of on-premises and managed services solutions against cloud-based automated services since automated services generally offer enhanced convenience and flexibility at an affordable price.
The most significant value of self-service automated testing solutions should be their impact on your overall security posture and the inherent value of not placing additional burdens on your security team. Designed to be lightweight and easy to use, these solutions can be easily integrated into your development life cycle. As you may know, the earlier you detect security vulnerabilities in the development process, the easier and less expensive it is to remediate them.
Protecting Your Brand Image and Mission-Critical Data
If you value your business’s reputation, the protection of your customers’ data and your untarnished brand image, then you must include application security testing in your security program. If you don’t, sooner or later a cybercriminal will target your organization and you’ll be left defenseless. Such a breach could result in government and industry fines, diminished brand equity and a complicated series of legal and financial hardships.
Many organizations aren’t able to afford managed services early in their application security game plans since managed services can be more expensive. But enterprises can typically gain a good sense of overall application security preparedness through the use of automated, cloud-based services.
The most logical step for most organizations is to consider cloud-based services in the near-term, wherever and whenever they make sense. By their very nature, automated security testing services will typically represent a viable option, especially when compared to the much-followed but seldom-acknowledged hope-and-pray approach used by some businesses.
Are You Ready to Test Drive Application Security Testing on Cloud?
In order to address the growing market need for improved application security testing, IBM offers a comprehensive solution for application security in the cloud, known as IBM Application Security on Cloud.
The solution offers the following capabilities:
- Static Application Security Testing (SAST), including Intelligent Finding Analytics (IFA) and Intelligent Code Analytics (ICA) cognitive learning capabilities
- Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)
- Mobile Application Security Testing for iOS and Android Devices
- Open-Source Testing
All capabilities are provided in a convenient, cloud-based delivery model and produce reports that summarize your most significant vulnerabilities so you can keep your organization’s remediation efforts on track.