Best Practices for Developing a Secure Application

Many organizations allocate a terrific amount of resources, time and money to protect their network from malicious actors, threats and hackers. But, no matter how excellent a security may be, it’s usually not enough in dealing with the vulnerabilities inside the network at the application layer.

The application layer is one of the highest vulnerable part from which the most devastating damage can arise, either through insider targets or lack of security. As a result, company’s confidential information can be exposed, resulting in harm to company’s reputation and loss of its customers.

There are many variables that influence Web application’s security, improving security in some critical areas can help reduce vulnerabilities. It’s significant that security be integrated in the initial Web designing phase and not retrofitted after the application is developed. While some experts disagree over where and when security integration and testing should be useful in the software development life cycle, everyone agreed with that it has become an essential factor to consider. The software industry is making evolution particularly in security aspect, with some providers are making integration of security compulsory to development teams during the application development process.

Integrating security into the software development life cycle is a process of negotiation within policy, risk and development requirements. Engaging all security teams (in-house or outsourced) during the definition stage of application development will help to determine the security areas necessary to satisfy policy and risk tolerance in the context of the organization.

Various areas to look before integrating and developing secure application development are discussed below:

Initial review:

The first step is the initial review, which will allow the security team to assess initial risks. The security team should work with the development team to gain an understanding of the following:

  • The purpose of the application in the context of its users and its market.
  • Its technical environment in terms of application development and deployment.
  • Policy drivers (regulatory and risk).
  • Processes and procedures.
  • Business continuity requirements for application availability.

Definition phase: Threat modeling:

In threat modeling we work with the developers to identify critical areas of applications that are dealing with critical information. Once the critical areas and entry points are recognized, security teams must work with the developers to build mitigation strategies for potential vulnerabilities.

Design phase:

Application design phase is the important phase in identifying possible security risks at the initial development stage. It involves reviewing application documents and interviewing developers and other stakeholders. Reviews are held at each stage of the development process.

Development phase:

During the development phase, the coding of the application takes place. Once modules and phases are completed, the unit testing for each unit is conducted. This includes unit testing and reviewing code for best security practices. During this phase, the focus shifts to the hardware and network environment, ensuring that segments and trust relationships are appropriate, servers are hardened at the operating system level, and application software is configured and administered securely.

Deployment phase:

In the deployment phase the whole application is then deployed as per requirement, while all security aspects are rechecked at the time of deployment.

Risk mitigation:

Risk mitigation involves prioritizing, evaluating and implementing the controls that the security team identifies as necessary to mitigate vulnerabilities discovered during the risk-assessment stage. In this phase the security team works intimately with the suitable teams in the decision-making process on the most appropriate mitigation options for each identified risk.

Maintenance:

In order to maintain the strong security posture established, it’s important to consider employing periodic security checks of all critical applications and controls. Securing an application is adequate for that moment in time, but new risks are introduced every day that could affect its security.

However, developing an application require expertise in each phase. Moreover, developing a social media app where the transmission of information is at a higher rate, is more sensitive and requires more security testing before its deployment. You can create a social media app through developers and software houses out there while mentioning your requirements. Also, you can create a dating app or other applications, but it also requires secure application development techniques to make it more secure for users and their details as it contains highly confidential and critical information.

Ehacking Staff
With more than 50 global partners, we are proud to count the world’s leading cybersecurity training provider. EH Academy is the brainchild of Ehacking, which has been involved in the field of training since the past Five years and continues to help in creating professional IT experts.

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