Everything You Need To Know About Web Application Security Practices

Last updated on May 11th, 2024 at 11:39 pm

Web application security is a tremendously important part of your development process. Web apps can be a hacker's first target.

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According to data shared by CVE Details in 2020, approximately 50 new vulnerabilities are being discovered every day. This means that organizations must develop a web application security checklist to ensure the safety of their business.

However, several businessmen, especially those new to the concept of web application security and safety, often ask why following the web application best practices for security is necessary.

If you look at the financial and reputational damages suffered by businesses due to data breaches and cyberattacks, you will understand the importance of web app security. For starters, IBM reported that the cost of security breaches is around 3.86 million dollars on average.

The report shared by IBM also pointed out that nearly 16 percent of the security breaches stemmed from third-party software vulnerabilities. The 2021 Data Breach investigation report from Verizon suggested that 39 percent of security breaches stem from compromises in web application security.

A Layman’s Guide To Web Application Security

Before moving into the best web application security practices that businesses need to follow, we should look into what web app security means. First, most of you would probably be aware that web applications are software programs, which run on web servers, which means that they are not limited to traditional desktop software or other individual devices.

Web app security can be defined as a term that encompasses everything related to securing or protecting web apps, servers, and services against threats and cyberattacks. In other words, web app security will entail everything from policies and procedures used to mitigate risks and vulnerabilities that others may exploit.

Some of the most common targets of web app attacks are database administration tools, SaaS applications, and content management systems. Web applications are among the high-priority targets of hackers and cybercriminals due to several reasons.

  • The complexity of the source code in web applications increases the chance of malicious code manipulation and unattended vulnerabilities.
  • Most web app security attacks can be indiscriminately launched and easily automated.
  • High-value rewards that include sensitive and confidential private data

Businesses that fail to adopt necessary web app security measures are more likely to suffer from information theft, financial issues, damaged client relationships, loss of customer trust, and more.

scrabble letters with text DATA PROTECTION over yellow and red background. web application security

Why Having Strong Web Application Security Matters

Web applications should never exist without having adequate security measures in place. Here are some of the most common consequences that several businesses suffer just because they don’t have enough web app security measures.

  • Penalties and compliance
  • Revenue loss
  • Loss of customer data
  • Loss of brand reputation

Web Application Security Best Practices

Fortunately, you will be able to stay away from the issues mentioned above by including essential web app security measures in place. To help you get started, we have prepared a list of some of the best web app security practices.

Ensure SSL Certificate Is Installed For Data Encryption

Website visitors that are visiting your web application will be sharing confidential information and personal details. Therefore, businesses need to protect this data from cybercriminals. If you can ensure that data is encrypted when it is in transit between your server and visitor’s browser, then you can stay away from data breaches.

SSL/TLS encryption enables businesses to ensure that data is encrypted by encrypting all the communication transpiring between your website and website visitors. This is why business websites need to buy SSL certificates and install them.

SSL certificates will not just help your business to encrypt data and prevent the chance of cyberattacks and data breaches, but they will also help with your SEO strategy. This is mainly because Google prefers websites that contain SSL certificates over websites with no SSL certificates.

HTTPS use is considered as one of the important ranking factors of Google. As per BuiltWith, approximately 65.76 percent of the top websites in one million are using SSL/TLS certificates. If you are running your website without an SSL certificate, it is best to consider investing in one before your site becomes the target of hackers.

Businesses must remember that they will need to secure data at rest too for preventing server-side interventions. System administrators, office staff, or employees might take copies of drives or remove them, which will make all web app security measures useless. Here is how you can protect data at rest.

  • Storing data in password-protected and secure databases
  • Using strong algorithms to encrypt data before it is stored
  • Implementing network firewalls
  • Making investments in infrastructure security
White-collar employees in the office of corporation

Conducting A Full-Scale Security Audit

Several business owners do not know if their web app or website is following essential security practices or not. If that’s the case, then it is best to conduct security audits because it will help you ensure that you are following optimal security practices and help you identify security loopholes.

If you want to get an objective and comprehensive viewpoint on your web app security, it is best to seek the help of a third-party testing team. However, if you have employees with professional security experience, they will help you detect issues and vulnerabilities that need to be mitigated or patched. A web app security audit can be any of the following types.

Black Box Security Audit

A black box security audit is often described as a hacker-style security audit, where the app will be tested for security vulnerabilities that can be exploited without asking anything about the app. In fact, the block box security team will ask you just the web app’s URL.

White Box Security Audit

A white box security audit is quite the opposite of a black box security audit. During a white box security audit, you will be asked to share all the information regarding the web to the audit team. This type of security audit helps businesses to see if they have the best web app security measures in place or not.

Gray Box Security Audit

Gray box security audit is a mix of white and black box security audits, where businesses will be asked to share web app information. For instance, you will need to provide testing account credentials before the security audit is performed.

After completing a security audit, you will need to start working on fixing the security vulnerabilities. It is best to categorize the security vulnerabilities based on their impact and then start fixing high-impact vulnerabilities.

In addition to the above-listed web app security practices, here are a few more that every business should follow.

  • Implement real-time monitoring of web app security
  • Regular check for common security vulnerabilities in web applications
  • Conduct Regular vulnerability scans

Final Thoughts

Web applications are important for most businesses today mainly. However, since we use web applications for several things, much sensitive information will be passed around. Also, new security threats are being discovered every day. However, you can stay away from such troubles by implementing all necessary web app security measures, including those listed above.

Business Tech Analyst

Randy is a Business Tech Analyst. He loves to share his knowledge and experience with his friends and colleagues.

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