Web applications and APIs are the primary means by which a company interacts with its customers, making application security a top-of-mind concern for all companies. Any issues with them can create a negative customer experience and have a devastating effect on the company’s image.
These essential resources are Internet-facing, which makes them accessible to customers and cybercriminals alike. As such, protecting these resources against evolving cyber threats should be a major component of a corporate security strategy.
Corporate applications and IT infrastructure are constantly evolving, especially in recent years, and it should come as no surprise that the major trends in application security change regularly as well.
Let’s take a look at some of the top trends in application security in 2021
Cloud adoption has accelerated dramatically in recent years. Pre-pandemic, almost all organizations were using some form of cloud-based services. With the move to remote work and the need to make corporate resources accessible to off-site employees, cloud adoption continued to grow.
The cloud provides a number of benefits for corporate applications, including flexibility, agility, and scalability, which are essential for supporting DevSecOps processes. As applications increasingly take advantage of these benefits, companies are looking for security to keep up.
Securing the cloud requires solutions that are designed and built for the cloud. Companies are looking for security options that are agile, flexible, scalable, and composable to ensure that increased adoption of cloud computing and remote work does not place corporate assets and data at risk.
Most security operations center (SOC) teams are overwhelmed. The average SOC receives approximately 10,000 security alerts per day, far more than it can effectively triage, investigate, and remediate. As a result, true threats are lost in the noise as security analysts waste time on false positive detections.
A major contributor to this alert overload is the fact that many organizations’ security infrastructure is composed of disparate, standalone security solutions. The modern corporate network is complex, spanning on-premise environments, cloud deployments, remote sites, and mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. An array of security solutions designed to address specific issues in a particular environment creates a security architecture that is difficult to monitor and manage.
As companies work to modernize their IT infrastructure, they are also looking to consolidate and simplify their security architectures. Deploying security solutions from a single vendor that address corporate security needs across their entire IT environment makes it simpler and more feasible for security teams to monitor and manage their security infrastructure and to effectively detect and respond to potential incidents.
Historically, application security efforts have focused on web applications. The original Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) top ten list was for web application vulnerabilities, and companies deployed web application firewalls (WAFs) to protect Internet-facing assets against exploitation.
Over time, the corporate web attack surface has shifted from being predominantly web applications to a mix of web applications and web APIs. According to Forrester, companies are exposing over half of their applications to the internet or to third-party services via APIs.
While web APIs have many of the same potential vulnerabilities as web apps, they also face unique security challenges. This fact has inspired OWASP to release a top ten list focused on API security challenges and has driven the development of Web Application and API Protection (WAAP) solutions to replace legacy WAF technology.
Bots are programs designed to interact with websites or web APIs. A common use for bots is to automate cyberattacks. For example, a bot may be used as part of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack or to perform credential stuffing against an authentication service. Alternatively, bots can be used for fraudulent activities, such as credit card fraud.
Developing bots requires a certain level of cybersecurity knowledge and programming skills, which once limited the field of attackers able to use them. Now, Bot-as-a-Service providers make malicious bots available to anyone, lowering the bar for performing these attacks.
As bots become more widely accessible, companies are looking for ways to protect against them. Bot management solutions are increasingly a vital component of an application security strategy to ensure that bots cannot be used to attack an organization’s web-facing applications and APIs or to waste resources that would otherwise be used to fill legitimate requests.
SOC teams face a number of challenges when working to protect their organization against cyber threats. Some of these challenges include:
SOCs are expected to take on expanding responsibilities with understaffed teams. As they become overwhelmed, threat detection and response slow, increasing the cost and impact of security incidents to the organization.
As a result, many companies are exploring security automation as a solution to their expanding security challenges. Artificial intelligence offers a solution with its ability to automate data gathering, threat identification, and incident response. With security automation, limited security personnel and resources can be used where they provide maximum benefit to the organization.
The top trends in application security mainly deal with companies’ efforts to adapt to their changing environments and the evolving application threat landscape. Corporate applications and APIs are increasingly hosted in the cloud and are protected by understaffed and underwhelmed security teams looking for solutions to help simplify monitoring and management of their security infrastructure.
A critical part of this is identifying a security vendor with solutions that can secure applications in any environment and that offer support for automation by using AI to reduce workloads for SOC teams. An important first step in managing the rapidly evolving application security threat landscape is to identify the gaps in your organization’s application security that leave it vulnerable to attack and develop a plan for closing these security holes.
For more information about securing cloud-based workloads, download Check Point’s Cloud Application Workload Protection ebook. Then, to learn more about how to create an application security strategy, check out Check Point’s Application Security Blueprint.
Check Point CloudGuard offers protection for web applications and APIs in any environment powered by contextual AI. To learn more about CloudGuard and see for yourself how it can help to improve your company’s application security strategy, sign up for a free demo.