Best Practices for Web Application Testing

Data breaches or disclosure of information records have become a regular part of business news. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s 2021 Data Breach Report, there were 1,862 data breaches reported in 2021.That is a 68% increase in breaches from 2020. The most prominent method used by hackers to access this data is through website or web application hacking. Because web applications are publicly accessible and available around the clock, hackers can easily identify vulnerabilities to exploit them and use them as entry points to gain access to sensitive data. Without web application security, companies leave themselves open to become prime targets for these attacks, and the implications that come with them.


What is Web Application Security?

Web application security is the implementation of security measures that help prevent attacks or hijacks of data or code within an application. Web Application security should be considered and implemented throughout the entire life cycle of the application itself. By extension, this then becomes important to software developers, end users, clients, and major stakeholders by ensuring regulatory compliance mandates.

Web application testing is not only restricted to network based, but cloud based as well. More and more organizations are either in the cloud or moving to the cloud, giving more reason to ensure that along with increased visibility there is also a commensurate or better level of security implementation.


Why is Web Application Security Important for Mid-market Companies?

For midsize companies, data breaches can be crippling, costing on average $3,533 per employee. It takes roughly 191 days to identify before remediation even starts. Many small-to-midsize companies also lack the cybersecurity expertise needed to properly test and secure web applications.

With limited budget, staff, and resources to address data breaches, it’s critical that organizations look to proactively prevent them. This is accomplished by applying industry best practices that ensure due diligence is being exercised when deploying web applications or software. Best practices are defined by the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) and are utilized to help minimize putting client data at risk (exposure / unauthorized access) through proactive testing and securing of web applications.


What is OWASP?

The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is a non-profit foundation dedicated to improving the security of software. OWASP is considered an ‘open community’ model, that anyone can contribute to. In essence, it is a repository of web application security approaches, built upon the experience and working knowledge of its contributors. The OWASP Top 10 is a collection that outlines the ranking and mitigation approaches for the 10 most critical web application risks agreed upon by a consensus of security experts throughout the globe.


Who Does OWASP Apply To?

Just about every organization uses one or more web applications in their organization to help provide functions and capabilities. The most common use cases for web applications include:

  1. Driving business agendas to be competitive and improve efficiency through streamlined workflows
  2. Use across various technologies (desktops, tablets, laptops, mobile, etc.)
  3. Ease of use, scalability, and 24 x 7 availability


Why You Should Use OWASP for Web Application Security Standards

While a web application test is somewhat like penetration testing, it is much more specific in its intent, and focuses on key areas within the application or software itself. The OWASP framework can help to uncover weaknesses such as misconfiguration, outdated libraries, cross-site scripting, SQL injection, broken authentication, and other common web application vulnerabilities.


Recent Changes to the OWASP Framework

The OWASP framework was recently updated in 2021 from the previous 2017 edition. There have been a number of changes, including some new category additions, naming, and scoping changes and some consolidation of categories.

Foresite Cybersecurity is developing a blog series to cover this content in depth. This blog series is aimed at breaking down each of the individual categories and their purpose. It will provide a better understanding of what the OWASP framework is used for and how its implementation can be used to strengthen an existing security program to proactively prevent data breaches.

Foresite Cybersecurity offers a wide variety of web application security solutions to help mid-market businesses protect their business reputation by:

  • Identifying vulnerabilities in your web applications.
  • Helping your business meet regulatory requirements through our Foresite Integrated Risk Management (FIRM) solution.
  • Providing unbiassed 3rd party opinion on your web application security.

Contact Us today to learn how to best secure your web applications.


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