Digital transformation is changing the contours of business with enterprises pushing an open and transparent line, as far as the sharing of data and information with authorized third-parties is concerned. To survive in this competitive ecosystem, enterprises are migrating to the cloud and moving away from using the legacy systems. Also, a section of the highly agile and distributed workforce in such organizations is working from remote locations.
Enterprises are getting transformed from stand-alone entities to being distributed, agile, and connected through cloud systems and the Internet of Things. This has created an open ecosystem where data and information are freely exchanged among various stakeholders. No wonder such enterprises and their IT systems are subjected to cyber attacks using malware, ransomware, trojans, and viruses. In such cases, the mandate to ensure cybersecurity is not confined to the standalone IT infrastructure only. Rather, it includes the monitoring of IT assets and the entire value chain of applications, systems, networks, users, and data irrespective of geography and ownership.
To top it all, the frequency of cyber attacks has been increasing alarmingly. According to statistics, the quantum and scale of cybercrime are expected to touch $6 trillion annually by the year 2021(Source: Cybersecurity Ventures). Do these staggering statistics mean users have become more aware of the dangers of cybercrime? The answer is a resounding NO as around 78% of people continue to click on unknown links (Source: Erlangen-Nuremberg University.) Where does it leave the enterprises with as far as ensuring security is concerned? The answer is in pursuing a rigorous security testing exercise in the SDLC.
The imperatives of pursuing software application security testing to preempt cybercrime have made stakeholders more aware than ever. Consequently, new regulations have been formulated and implemented with greater ferocity. For example, Basel III, IATA, EU, GDPR, and NIS are very stringent with any deviation inviting severe penalties. Since IT has virtually enveloped every aspect of our personal and professional lives, the vulnerability of the human factor has become significant. In order to fully harness the benefits of digital transformation, a paradigm shift in enhancing security through security testing has become critical.
A Holistic Approach
The IT architecture of any organization comprises interconnected digital systems spanning third-party IT service providers or vendors. This introduces vulnerability into the architecture leaving some areas weak and prone to being exploited. Every organization should adopt a holistic approach to application security testing. They should do so based on their classification and criticality of processes and data, which is otherwise not possible to enforce using traditional security measures. Every layer of the IT architecture needs to be secured using the application security testing strategy of ‘defense in depth’. This entails tightening the security of key areas of a business while simultaneously allowing it to run seamlessly.
To actualize the holistic approach for security testing, enterprises require increased visibility of their IT architecture and its connections to the partner networks. The visibility can only be achieved through collaboration with every stakeholder within and outside the organization. Remember, you can only protect the security of the digital systems that you know. You should get a comprehensive view of the threats and vulnerabilities in real-time and analyze them.
Cloud and AI
The paradigm shift in enforcing static and dynamic application security testing combines AI, cloud computing, and big data. Artificial Intelligence can look into voluminous data or codes and identify patterns that do not conform to the established parameters. AI, powered by cloud, can look for hidden patterns to monitor systems, mitigate vulnerabilities, and fend off attacks on the IT infrastructure.
To tackle the rising menace of cybercrime, enterprises should take recourse to automate their testing procedure. This will free the human resources of the organization and allow them to focus more on other critical tasks. Automation helps IT systems to perform tasks quickly with fewer resources. Importantly, the foundations of test automation systems are based on the cloud. This is because cloud systems are already aligned to protocols or ways to enforce cybersecurity.
Ensuring cybersecurity and delivering on the new security paradigm, enterprises need to use the latest cloud technologies, automation, and AI to run web application security testing. So, instead of implementing reactive security measures such as endpoint controls, anomaly detectors, and application firewalls, they should go for a robust application security testing methodology.