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Introduction to Application Security

What is Application Security?

Application security is the process of protecting data, code and the users of any application by implementing security control that paves a way for better processing, communications and retrieval of information. That being said no application is a one hundred percent secure. The security process and controls aim for a significant reduction of risk, resulting in a better security posture

Need for Application Security

The origin of internet goes back to 1960’s. During its inception the  World Wide Web (WWW) had what is called a Website instead of web applications. These websites in original form all are static in nature. Organizations hosted these so called web-sites on web servers. There was no need for a mechanism to protect data since most of these web sites are publicly available and are not tailored for a specific user. What we see today on the internet is poles apart from what was available in the earlier days. With web applications, everything has become interactive over internet today and the need for security has heightened. 

Most of the applications available over internet today are insecure with security flaws and loopholes. The primary reason for this state today is the emphasis or focus given to functionality over security. Most organizations and individuals prioritize availability of information and the much needed functionalities for users to perform necessary actions on their web application, but the same importance is not given to the other pillars of information security like confidentiality and integrity that deal with unauthorized disclosure and manipulation of information.

A data breach which is a result of a loophole being exploited in an insecure application could cost organizations, business owners and individuals. Studies from the recent years show a significant increase in data breaches and application security compromises and take-overs with the increased internet activity. Over the years data breaches has caused millions of dollars of loss for businesses and a huge reputation impact.

What is covered in Application Security?

Information security is a broad subject. With the need to protect networks, servers, infrastructures, cloud environments, internet of things, software’s and hardware’s of all kinds, often the question on what encompasses application security is left open.  With various information security domains, each having its own methodologies, standards, practices, tools and the like, it is challenging to have a discrete set of things within application security. Even so application security predominantly includes any security control, measure, tools, testing and practices that has to do with web applications, thick clients, software applications, mobile applications and applications in the cloud. While much focus is given to anything that communicates over HTTP and HTTPS protocols, adequate practices are also adopted for other forms of communication (say for example TCP).

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