In today’s digital world, applications play a crucial role in our daily lives. From social media to banking, we rely heavily on software applications to conduct our personal and professional tasks. However, as the usage of applications continues to rise, the risk of cyber attacks also increases.
This has led to an urgent need for organizations and individuals to prioritize SaaS apps’ security to protect against potential breaches. At the same time, performance is another critical factor that cannot be overlooked.
In this article, we will explore ways to increase application security without compromising performance. Also, we will discuss key strategies and best practices to strengthen application security while optimizing performance to ensure a seamless user experience.
10 Tips to Improve Your Application Security
Here are 10 tips that can help you improve your application security and protect your digital assets.
1. Keep Track of Your Assets
To protect your assets, you must first know what they are. Tracking your digital assets is crucial to understanding which servers and open-source components you use for specific applications and functions. Failing to keep track of your purchases can lead to devastating consequences.
Additionally, automating the asset tracking process is essential for organizations that continue to scale their development. Classifying your assets is critical, prioritizing those crucial to business functions for threat assessment and remediation purposes.
2. Maintain Your Patching Schedule
Staying current with software updates is essential for maintaining a secure system. It’s necessary to regularly patch your operating system and third-party software with the latest versions to minimize the risk of vulnerabilities. Failure to do so can leave you exposed to cyber threats.
When a security vulnerability is discovered, responsible vendors or open-source communities release updates to fix it. Patching these updates is one of the most important measures you can take to ensure the security of your software.
Neglecting to do so can leave your software open to attack, making it easier for hackers to gain unauthorized access to your system.
3. Invest in Security Professionals
Investing in the expertise of security professionals is a wise decision and a best practice for web application security. Keeping up with the latest vulnerabilities on your own can be a daunting task, even with the help of our tips.
A security expert or service provider can perform security audits and scans and monitor your web application for potential threats. However, it’s crucial to conduct thorough research before hiring any specific company or freelance specialist to ensure that you choose a reliable and trustworthy partner who can help safeguard your digital assets.
4. Apply Security to Every Component of the Application
Applying appropriate security measures to each app component is essential for comprehensive security. Conduct an analysis of each component to determine which security measures are necessary.
Additionally, program execution resources may require intrusion detection/prevention systems, while database or storage components may require access controls to prevent unauthorized access to data.
Also, it’s crucial to establish network access controls that allow only approved users or application components to send traffic to other parts of the application.
5. Regulate Your Containers
As more organizations adopt containers for their flexibility in building, testing, and deploying applications across various environments, managing container security is critical.
Containers have the built-in advantage of being self-contained and segmented by design, reducing the risk to other applications. However, container exploits, such as breakout attacks, are still risky, and the code stored within a container may be vulnerable.
Encryption is a crucial element of any application security list. Failure to encrypt traffic properly can lead to sensitive data exposure through man-in-the-middle attacks and other forms of intrusion, posing a significant risk to your customers’ privacy.
To ensure encryption, use SSL with an up-to-date certificate and HTTPS to protect user IDs, passwords, and other sensitive information. Hashing is also a useful encryption technique.
7. Manage Access Rights
Limiting access to applications and data to only those who need it is a crucial application security best practice. Not everyone in an organization requires access to everything, as it poses a security risk. By managing privileges, you can reduce the risk of both external and internal threats.
Hackers who gain access to a system using a team member’s credentials should not be able to access sensitive data areas, such as finance or legal. Additionally, limiting employee access to only the necessary data can reduce the risk of unintentional insider threats, such as losing a laptop or attaching the wrong file to an email.
8. Transfer Non-strategic Apps to External Saas Providers
To ease the workload of IT security teams, often overworked and under-resourced, offloading non-strategic applications to external Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings can be a good option.
That allows IT security teams to concentrate on critical applications and reduce work scope. Moreover, email, which is a common target for hackers, could be more secure if operated by a specialist provider.
Allowing a provider to take responsibility for email security can free up IT security teams to focus on higher-priority tasks, increasing an organization’s overall security.
9. Focus on Security Monitoring
In the world of next-generation applications, tracking and protecting numerous resources with proper security monitoring is essential. Configuring security settings to generate alerts is crucial, but it can be challenging to balance them to avoid missing critical signs hidden among irrelevant data.
This requires continuous assessment, configuration updates, and tools to display security anomalies and send critical alerts to staff. Doing so can address security issues promptly, ensuring that potential security threats are addressed before they become significant problems.
10. Testing for Penetration
Penetration testing is an essential application security tip that automated tools cannot replace. Penetration testers scrutinize your code to identify vulnerabilities that automated tools may miss. They understand precisely what tactics determined hackers will use to breach your application.
Hiring professional hacking firms or freelancers who work with bug bounty programs can provide an objective assessment of your application’s security. Although penetration testing may be an extra expense, it’s better to pay for white hat hackers to try and break in than to face the severe consequences of a malicious breach.
Implementing effective application security measures is critical to safeguarding your digital assets against ever-evolving cyber threats.
By following the ten tips to improve application security outlined above, you can strengthen your security posture without compromising performance.
Each way plays a vital role in securing your applications, from tracking and classifying your assets to encrypting data and managing privileges.