Race Against Time: Why a Robust Application Security Posture is Essential

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Both application and security teams strive to offer users the best high-performance applications, minimal downtime and tight security. But it’s when things go awry that a business often realizes that these teams aren’t closely aligned enough — this is especially true when we talk about application security. Businesses are increasingly reliant on applications to engage with and deliver services to customers, leading to vast volumes of personal user data being housed within the application. With applications running anywhere from on-premise to multi-cloud and cloud-native microservices, combined with accelerated innovation, the need for an integrated application-led approach to security is paramount to simplify vulnerability management and bridge siloes across IT teams. 

The speed at which IT teams have to move when there’s a security breach is familiar to anyone in charge of securing mission-critical applications. Every minute that goes by is a minute that can cause further damage to the company, its data and its users. Yet 66% of breaches take months to discover and longer still to resolve. It costs almost £3m to recover from a data breach, according to Ponemon Institute. And in February 2021 alone, there were 2.3 billion data breaches of personal information recorded in the UK. 

It’s the immediate steps that the business takes after discovering a breach that can make all the difference. But because there often isn’t enough synergy and insights being shared between application and security teams, they can’t move quickly enough to rectify security breaches or prevent them in the first place. 

It’s no secret that applications are critical to the operations of modern digitally-enabled businesses today. With so many applications in play, it’s more important than ever that they are created and maintained with security in mind. 

Bringing Security into the Inner Circle

IT teams know the benefits that security tools can bring to an application when integrated, although application teams can be hesitant to introduce these. Why? Teams don’t want to risk introducing any performance overheads that might make the app less responsive. This is where the tension between application and security teams becomes apparent. Instead of security being embedded into the application, it gets relegated to the perimeter. 

In many cases, security tools and processes haven’t kept pace with other technology advancements because they haven’t been allowed to get close enough to the product from an early stage. As a result, it takes far too long to rectify problems when they arise. Also, running periodical security audits leaves a lot of time for a vulnerability to impact a business negatively. Securing your applications and delivering a flawless user experience are both necessary to keep users happy and businesses competitive. Failure to have these in place to safeguard application security can not only put brand reputation at risk but impact consumer trust and loyalty in the long term.

Speed and Synergy

Security must be at the forefront of an application. Better still, security should be application-led. It needs to be embedded inside the application, not around it, as well as be continuous and automated since applications are dynamic and change so often. At the heart of all of this is real-time data that links application and security teams together — rather than throwing piecemeal information over the wall to each other without context. 

This critical shift will enable technologists to identify vulnerabilities within the application during production, correlate vulnerabilities and breaches with business impact, and bring together application and security teams to facilitate speedy remediation.  

Full visibility into an application helps set the context needed to determine how the security response is handled. When you can see and understand an application’s true behavior, you’re able to detect and block attacks automatically and identify deviations easily. Meanwhile, when security details are correlated with the application topology, it helps to apply business relevance to security threats or vulnerabilities and focus on the incidents that matter most. Marrying security and business insights in real-time helps teams prioritize remediation informed by business context and allows them to proactively prevent incidents before they impact the end-user and their experience.

For application security, time is always of the essence. Spotting a threat and remediating it used to be a process that took days of meetings between different IT teams. This is time that, with the growing use of applications, doesn’t scale well. A robust application security posture is one where teams have a single view of the entire IT estate, real-time data of what is happening at any given moment, and intelligence that helps them fix the most critical issues first. But this isn’t just an activity in doing things faster; it’s also about unifying teams that traditionally didn’t always work to the same end. Now they can. Everyone wants better, faster, more secure apps. Now they can have access to them without compromises. 

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