Security Testing: Types, Techniques, and Tools for Building Better Products
- March 7, 2021
- Hiba Sulaiman
An organization’s reputation, customer satisfaction, and brand loyalty are directly associated with and rely on its security stature and readiness. Customers always expect fast, reliable, and secure applications. One of the best ways to ensure app security is by implementing web application security testing. Security testing is a term that is broadly used in the software development process as well as by security teams while managing apps that are running in production.
Why Consider Application Security Testing?
Most organizations that choose to release apps faster end up with the need to compromise on quality. Since they need to ensure speed, they often miss out on security testing. However, you should know why application security testing is so important.
So security testing identifies the web application vulnerabilities and security gaps. Investing in efficient web app security methodologies allows security experts to eliminate the security issues and reduce the risks of exploitation. Security testing focuses on protecting against malicious threats as well as pre-empts situations like data breaches, web page crashes, latency, etc. It also validates the processes like authorization, authentication, availability, integrity, etc.
The core objectives of performing web app security testing services are:
- It aids in preventing sensitive data and information from a breach.
- Retains customer trust and loyalty.
- Increases confidence that an app is free from unexpected downtime.
- Saves costs while addressing security issues.
- Prevents inconsistent app performance.
Application Security in the Cloud
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising operational costs, organizations are adopting the cloud. Many applications have moved to the cloud in the past year, making organizations more concerned about cloud security. Security in the cloud is quite different from the security for applications that are located on-premises. Firstly, there is no refined network perimeter, so trying to protect a perimeter is difficult and different components of an app can actually be located in different cloud environments. So security becomes even harder. This is where it is important to have security located with the app since the app can be residing almost anywhere in the cloud. And since apps in the cloud can be virtual, having a security solution is a must, that can work in any environment.
Adopting Automation Security Testing Tools
It is true to say that web apps in this era are complex and can come with several security issues. Whether it is misconfigured servers, bad code, or anything of that sort, web app security needs to be a top priority for a company. This is why a company might need strong cybersecurity policies and standards that should be applied without disrupting the development process. So security teams need to integrate security checks into the SDLC and also automate them so that organizations can deliver quality products at a faster speed.
With the help of web application security testing tools, testers can scan their apps and identify vulnerabilities before the actual users interact with the app. This helps in preventing security issues in real-time. Security testing services include code analysis and security feedback with insightful reports as soon as the security testers detect any issues. Most importantly, they can also help organizations in overcoming security challenges without hampering the software development process.
IT researchers also predict that organizations may need to release app updates up to 120 times per year. In order to meet such expectations, security testing automation with web app security testing tools becomes crucial. These tools help developers in providing faster responses and allow them to handle security issues much more efficiently. When talking about automation security testing, it does not mean that it overtakes the need for manual security testing. Although automated testing tools are capable of continuously scanning an app for technical issues and security vulnerabilities, manual testing is also important to secure an app. Security testing needs to be monitored by the internal or external security testing teams on a regular basis.
Advantages of Web Application Security Testing Tools
Automated web application vulnerability scanners are extremely useful in identifying web app vulnerabilities. Web app security testing tools offer faster and safer software app delivery. Their benefits include:
- They help in performing vulnerability scans faster than manual testing, thus the speed of finding security issues also increases.
- During manual security testing, the security analysts test the apps one by one which can be a tedious task. Web app security testing tools cover many modules for thousands of vulnerabilities.
- Since automated security testing tools take over the repetitive and time-consuming areas of security testing, security teams will be freed from the tedious work. They can focus on other complex areas of app development.
- Automation testing tools play a crucial role in compliance with industry security standards and frameworks. With the help of an automated vulnerability scanner, teams can easily comply with security requirements considered compulsory by the regulatory standards.
When teams implement automated testing tools properly they can identify unexpected software behavior and bugs in the application. Due to these benefits, most businesses that follow DevOps practices consider automating their security testing.
Choosing the Right Tools for Web Application Security Testing
Ideally, an organization should include tools that allow their teams to automate as many tasks as possible. Simultaneously, it should also allow manual monitoring of the results whenever necessary. Additionally, the security testing services providers should also offer manual penetration testing for testing web apps for common issues like SQL injection, XSS, etc. There are some web app scanners that scan for vulnerabilities without checking the findings. It is important to minimize the chances of false positives and save time since a team manager cannot afford to have distractions for their team. User experience is as important as the quality of the vulnerability findings. A tool is expected to provide a comprehensive report of the vulnerability findings. So when choosing amongst security testing tools for web apps, it is worth ensuring that their reporting features meet the needs of an organization and provide sufficient details to understand the results.
Without any doubt, the risks increase when a company prioritizes faster delivery at the expense of quality. As mentioned above, there are several benefits and reasons why testers should include web app security testing tools in their testing suite. By picking the best security testing tools for their apps organizations can strike the right balance between faster delivery and reliable application security.