Highlighting continuous security testing

19th September 2016
Source: PALADION
Posted By : Enaie Azambuja

Over the past few years, the application development and deployment landscape has experienced significant changes, and these, along with the other more gradual changes that are occurring on a daily basis, have empowered organisations, as well as developers, to push applications faster than ever before. The concept of continuous security testing, in this regard, is rather straightforward.

It implies that your security tools and products should allow you to integrate security tests early on in the application lifecycle. This allows organisations to fix a greater number of vulnerabilities, that too, in a shorter period of time.

You will be able to identify problems as they occur during the development cycle and enact fixes when it is most cost-effective: prior to the release. However, the problem most organisations face is that existing security products are far too complex, and not to mention expensive, to natively integrate within the application lifecycle.

What Is Continuous Security Testing? 

Since existing security products are not adaptable to the way applications are being developed and pushed today, continuous security testing proves an ideal solution that helps in the early detection of issues. Unlike continuous integration, where testing is an essential component of your development efforts, continuous security testing involves running security tests to identify which components of your application network may be at risk during the application development process.

If your organisation has a continuous integration strategy in place (well, of course you do!), it probably includes tests such as user acceptance tests, regression tests and unit tests, among others. Continuous security testing, on the other hand, is simply a range of tests that automatically run security checks on your code and application in order to effectively and efficiently manage and respond to security risks and exposures.

Why Should It Be an Integral Part of Your Security Strategy? 

Be it any business, whether a small local venture or a large multinational company, the effective management of issues is crucial for success and growth. For example, most online companies have a comprehensive strategy to manage issues as they occur, and there are plenty of security products available that allow developers to easily classify, organise, replicate, test against, and ultimately, fix bugs.

The same general concept applies to security incidents as well. Your organisation should have security products that will inform you when a security issue arises and why it arose so your developers can categorise the importance of the incident, organise an appropriate response plan and fix the issue to mitigate threats. Companies today need to have a security response management strategy to effectively handle issues, and that’s where continuous security comes in handy.

Here are a few other reasons why continuous security testing should be high on your priority list:

Better Security Awareness

With complete access to continuous security testing feedback, developers will be able to immediately identify and rectify any mistakes, which in turn, makes for a more effective and efficient development process. As security practices are continually improved, organisations will be able to benefit both in the short and long run, while reducing future expenditure on remediation of security vulnerabilities and bug fixing.

Secured Agile Development

Using agile development processes not only requires competent and qualified personnel, but also ongoing security testing. This is mainly because with so many changes made to applications during the development process, emerging security vulnerabilities can easily go unnoticed, and ultimately, end up in the finished product.

With continuous security testing in place, however, organisations can continually monitor and analyse each stage of the application development process thoroughly. This, in turn, allows new issues and vulnerabilities to be identified and addressed during the development cycle before they put the entire application at risk.

Improved Bug-Fixing

If your organisation attempts to retroactively repair code, it can end up making bug fixing a potentially damaging and costly pursuit, with a far greater risk of it breaking the application during the development process. And trust us when we say, that is the last thing you would want to happen when you are half-way through the development of your application!

Continuous security testing makes it considerably easier for developers to fix security vulnerability and bugs in the application, as they will be able to work on the code whilst the problem is still fresh in their minds. And since they will receive real-time feedback from their fixes, you will be able to immediately ascertain whether or not the issue is resolved.

Conclusion

Although continuous security testing offers consistency, the unwillingness of organisations to accept and adopt any ‘automated process’ does make sense on some level. However, let’s not forget that security is a crucial aspect of any business and with continuous security testing in place the result is undeniably better overall security with considerably less manual effort.

Therefore, in the end, the organisations that embrace continuous security testing will not only be more secure, but also have an edge over the ever-increasing competition in the market, especially on those that insist on handling something significant and important as security the traditional, old-fashioned way.


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