Over the last decade, applications have become an integral part of our day-to-day life as they simplify our lives. However, due to this drastic increase in usage, hackers have seen an amazing opportunity to capitalize on apps where security is overlooked. In fact, certain statistics and trends show a drastic rise in cyberattacks in 2020 and 2021, indicating that hackers are always looking for a way to exploit users.

With apps, there are many different places where a hacker could find a flaw, which is why numerous possible exploits exist. This includes stealing login information, SQL injection attacks, and viruses. Still, the majority of these attacks are preventable thanks to modern security testing like SAST, DAST, and IAST. 

Now, with the basics out of the way, let’s dive deeper into the importance of application security.

Why Application Security Is Needed

Putting it simply, application security is the process of protecting applications from potentially malicious activities. This includes safeguarding against virus attacks, malware, as well as unauthorized access, and data theft.

In other words, application security protects an app from being compromised by external threats. It prevents hackers from accessing sensitive data, as well as ensures that the application remains usable and secure. As such, it is essential to secure any application that handles sensitive information or interacts with other applications. The benefits of having robust application security are the following:

Better Reputation and Brand Image

In today’s world, having a secure application is becoming increasingly important. Having an app that is not secure can result in the loss of customer trust and reputation damage. In fact, having a catastrophic data breach or a MITM attack, for example, will not only scare your current clients and users away, but it will also stain your brand’s reputation for years to come. As such, it is essential to ensure your product is as secure as possible so you can maintain a good brand image.

Improved User Experience

Application security plays a significant role in indirectly improving the user experience. Having robust application security ensures that the product is reliable and secure, meaning that users can use it with confidence. A high level of security also means that the app is easy to use and has no bugs or glitches that worsen the end-user experience.

Increased Trust from Potential Investors

A secure application is essential for any business looking to raise funds. Potential investors need to be confident that their investments are safe and that the product is secure. As such, businesses building apps should invest in comprehensive application security testing to ensure they can gain the trust of potential investors.

Types of Application Security Testing

Now that we’ve established why application security is essential, our next step is understanding how to implement it. This is where the three main types of application security testing come in – SAST, DAST, and IAST.

SAST

SAST (Static Application Security Testing) is a type of security assessment that looks for potential vulnerabilities within the code. Namely, this is a white-box approach, which means it tests the application’s source code rather than its behavior and output. Thus, SAST is best used in the development phase when developers are actively making changes to the code.

DAST

DAST (Dynamic Application Security Testing) is the opposite of SAST, and it examines how the application behaves while in use. This type of security assessment looks for potential vulnerabilities that are not found through static testing, like authentication issues or improper authorization, for example. DAST tests can be performed both in the development phase and in production.

IAST

IAST (Interactive Application Security Testing) combines both static and dynamic testing to provide a comprehensive view of an application’s security posture. IAST looks for vulnerabilities that may not be detectable through either SAST or DAST alone, such as session hijacking or command injection.

Conclusion

Application security testing is essential for any application that handles sensitive data or interacts with other applications. It ensures that the product is secure and reliable and provides numerous benefits like better user experience and improved brand image.

To ensure this, you’ll need to implement robust security testing of different types, like SAST, DAST, and IAST, which each have their own advantages and disadvantages. By taking the time to understand these different types of security testing, businesses can find the one that’s best for them, ensuring that their apps are secure and protected.