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Enterprise Application Security: Benefits and Use Cases
Aug 31, 2023
Enterprise application development hasn’t been the same for the last 20 years. With companies transitioning from on-premise to cloud-native infrastructure, modern AppSec plays a critical role in ensuring the confidentiality, integrity and availability of business critical applications and their data — protecting against sophisticated cyber threats and maintaining stakeholder trust in your business.
In this post, we’ll discuss the importance of enterprise application security infrastructure. We’ll also share best practices to streamline operations and mitigate risks.
What is enterprise application security and why does it matter?
Enterprise application security refers to the processes, technologies and policies in place to protect digital assets from potential cyber threats. It involves secure software development, authentication and access controls, vulnerability management and threat detection.
According to IBM’s report, average data breach costs reached a record high of $ 4.35 million in 2022, marking a 3% increase compared to 2021. With the rise of cyberattacks, a proactive approach toward application security becomes more important than ever. A single security breach has devastating consequences, from tarnishing a company’s reputation to incurring significant financial losses.
Challenges of traditional enterprise application security infrastructure
Given the complexity of modern enterprise software environments, relying solely on traditional security measures and manual handling of security applications proves inadequate at best and potentially dangerous at worst.
Let’s take a closer look at the key challenges:
As enterprises scale in size and adopt new applications, APIs and cloud services, the attack surface widens, offering cyber threats more opportunities to penetrate the system. The sheer number of entry points makes it difficult for traditional security measures to keep up with identifying and addressing vulnerabilities.
Complex application architecture
Enterprise applications are often built on elaborate architectures making them increasingly complex, with intricate codebases and multiple integrations. Threat actors can exploit security vulnerabilities within applications to access critical data without authorization, endangering sensitive information and valuable resources.
Diverse technology stack
Organizations use various technologies and platforms to develop and run their applications. For instance, a large enterprise with hundreds of interconnected systems might have web applications, mobile applications and cloud services running concurrently. Each of these technologies may have unique security requirements, making it difficult to maintain a consistent security strategy across the entire ecosystem.
This fragmentation can create security blind spots, leaving vulnerabilities unaddressed and increasing the chances of a successful cyberattack.
Insider threat awareness
Human error remains a common cause of security breaches. According to a Verizon report, 74% of breaches involve the human element, via error, privilege misuse, stolen credentials or social engineering. Employees with access to sensitive data may unintentionally or maliciously compromise application security.
Compliance and regulations
Companies must navigate complex frameworks and adhere to various industry-specific requirements to ensure their applications meet the necessary standards. For instance, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) applies to organizations handling credit card transactions and sensitive authentication data. This compliance policy requires that organizations establish a vulnerability management program to ensure that systems and software are secured and regularly updated.
Scanning is not enough
Traditionally, application security has mainly revolved around scanning and detecting issues within the IT environment. However, merely identifying an issue without a plan for resolution does not effectively reduce the risk. On the contrary, it might even increase liability, as you may intentionally leave potential threats unaddressed. The challenge lies in efficiently understanding which vulnerabilities you should prioritize in order to minimize business risks.
Enterprise application security best practices
Here are five standard enterprise cybersecurity best practices to mitigate risks and improve software development productivity:
1. Secure the Software Development Life Cycle
Each stage of the software development life cycle presents an opportunity to address potential vulnerabilities proactively. Secure coding practices, thorough code reviews and vulnerability risk assessments are pivotal in protecting the application against cyber threats. Continuous testing and quality assurance are equally essential, guaranteeing that security protocols remain effective amidst evolving risks.
2. Implement authentication and access controls
Requiring users to verify their identities strengthens the application security posture because only authorized users have access to sensitive information and critical functions within the application. Access controls are crucial to ensure users only have the necessary permissions to perform their designated tasks. The combined power of strong authentication and access controls protects applications against unauthorized entry, reducing the risk of data breaches.
3. Protect data using encryption
By employing robust encryption methods, businesses can shield critical network data from being compromised, even if unauthorized access occurs. Encrypting data in transit prevents interception and eavesdropping while securing data at rest ensures protection when stored within databases or file systems.
4. Assess your application security posture
Enterprise application security posture management (ASPM) helps address security gaps, protect critical assets, assess the efficacy of your security measures and identify areas of improvement. Automation plays a vital role in ASPM because it enables real-time insights for the detection and remediation of security gaps.
With an ASPM platform, enterprises automatically collect and correlate vast amounts of data from diverse sources, including security tools, vulnerability scanners and threat intelligence feeds. This automation eliminates manual work, saves valuable time and resources and enables security teams to focus on critical tasks, such as analyzing and mitigating security risks.
Read our application risk management case study to learn how Brinqa helped a Fortune 500 financial services company to enhance their AppSec posture, achieving an 85% reduction in time spent by the security team on risk report creation.
5. Unify your enterprise AppSec efforts
A unified approach to enterprise AppSec enhances team communication and ensures all stakeholders are on the same page regarding application security. Brinqa, for example, facilitates seamless collaboration in an enterprise environment by integrating various security testing tools — static application security testing (SAST), dynamic application security testing (DAST), infrastructure as code (IaC) and software composition analysis (SCA). By additionally integrating the results from both penetration tests and bug bounty programs into a unified platform alongside application security testing (AST) results, businesses can centralize their application security data. This way, you can eliminate application security silos, creating a connected ecosystem where data and insights flow effortlessly.
Watch our webinar on incorporating business context for accurate cyber risk prioritization.
Strengthen your enterprise application security program with Brinqa
Brinqa prioritizes risks based on business context and threat intelligence to strengthen your enterprise application security program. With Brinqa, remediation and security teams can efficiently allocate resources and address the most significant threats to the organization.
Want to know more about how Brinqa can help protect your enterprise assets? Request a demo.
Frequently asked questions
What are the common vulnerabilities that enterprise application security aims to address?
The Open Worldwide Application Security Project (OWASP) Top 10 provides a comprehensive list of common vulnerabilities that enterprise AppSec teams must prioritize to minimize risks and produce secure code. The list includes injection flaws (e.g., SQL and NoSQL) injections, authentication and session management issues, sensitive data exposure, XML external entities (XXE) attacks, security misconfigurations, cross-site scripting (XSS) and cross-site request forgery (CSRF), insecure deserialization, broken access control, and insufficient logging and monitoring. By actively mitigating these vulnerabilities, enterprise applications can ensure robust protection against potential cyber threats, and safeguard sensitive information and assets.
What is the difference between enterprise application security and application security posture management?
Enterprise application security broadly focuses on securing the applications used within an organization to safeguard critical data and systems. It involves implementing application security testing (AST) — i.e., scans in order to detect vulnerabilities. Application security posture management (ASPM), on the other hand, complements AST by managing and improving the overall application security posture and securing the software development lifecycle (SDLC). In essence, enterprise application security is a broader security process, while AST and ASPM are two key components that play a vital role in this process.