Trends in Technology

The Biggest Application Security Trends in 2020

February 11, 2020 by Bobby J Davidson
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Security Trends

Application security continues to be a challenge for developers and security administrators worldwide. In the third quarter of 2017, over 200 million web application attacks were reported in the U.S alone. However, most companies don’t seem to be bothered by it.

According to a 2017 study on mobile and IoT application security, almost 70% of companies fail to allocate the resources needed to secure mobile and IoT applications from various threats. More worryingly, less than 40% of the companies test these applications for vulnerabilities, with many delaying the testing until production.

To avoid being exposed, companies must approach the identification and resolution of application security vulnerabilities proactively. While this may mean spending more time and money on application development, taking this step will be worth the effort in the end. However, achieving application security is anything but easy. One can easily get overwhelmed by the plethora of threats facing an application.

To avoid this, you need to move away from the traditional ways of ensuring application security and onto the latest trends that are changing application security for the better. The following are some of the biggest applications security trends in 2020.

Self-Evaluating Applications

AI and machine learning will play a key role in application security in 2019 and beyond. It is already known that these technologies can detect external threats. Now they will be used to help applications protect themselves.

In a massive network, small vulnerabilities can easily be missed by a human operator. This can leave some areas in the network exposed and vulnerable to attacks. The combination of AI and automation can help solve this problem.

In 2019, one of the most significant movements in this regard will be the development of the runtime application self-protection (RASP). This technology will allow applications to detect security vulnerabilities without any human intervention.

By detecting, diagnosing, and providing protection against application-level attacks, RASPs offers an additional layer of application security. Perhaps, this is the reason Gartner predicts that almost 40% of enterprise-level businesses will be using RASPs by 2020.

The Increased Popularity of the ‘Serverless’ Concept

An application security trend that has become increasingly popular in recent years is the concept of ‘serverless.’ Here, a third-party is fully responsible for providing backend services while the application exists only in the cloud as programming code. Today, the implementation of this concept is evident in AWS Lambda, which is a ‘Functions as a Service’, and Google Firebase, which is a ‘Backend as a Service’.

Just like with any other technology or technological concept, the serverless concept also comes with its fair share of security concerns that organizations need to be aware of. This is especially important for the bigger companies that need to think about the ease with which one can start using these services. At times, these services may be used in a way that security and IT departments are oblivious to.

These departments are likely to come across several providers of backend services who could be storing the data of the company. This may happen even when the IT and security departments have just gotten acclimatized with their research and development involving the major providers of public cloud.

On the upside, the flexibility offered by the serverless concept makes it possible for developers to lower the complexity of backend infrastructure significantly. For this reason, we can see the use of the serverless concept for application security becoming more widespread in the future.

Monitoring Tools

Today, public and private clouds are used for running applications. The security risks posed to these applications are far higher than those faced by on-premise apps. This makes cloud application management critical for organizations.

A key part of this application management is the identification of the software-as-a-service applications used by a company’s employees. This is needed to prevent any vulnerabilities from creeping into the system. One way to ensure this is through the use of SaaS application monitoring tools. With these monitoring tools, it becomes easy to find vulnerabilities across an entire application portfolio.

Greater Focus on Application-Level Security Monitoring

For many years, critical control has been security detection, monitoring, and response at a network level. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about application-level security. While Web Application Firewalls (WAF) can be a useful aid, they generally exist on the outskirts of the application.

WAF can recognize standard attack patterns and address generic attacks. Still, there is no guarantee that it will have the knowledge that is specific to the application and which is needed to identify attacks on vulnerabilities in the application logic.

Additionally, with the growth in the size of the application base, protecting the application from the different vulnerabilities will get more difficult; the identification of this will also become critical. The good news is that progress is now being made in solutions for monitoring and response that are either present within or just outside the application; these solutions have a degree of knowledge about how the application functions. Soon, this functionality will be evident within the end-products. All this will begin with a greater focus on application-level security monitoring in 2019 and the next few years.

Mobile Behavioral Analysis

In some ways, the tools for analyzing mobile behavior are similar to the solutions for user and entity behavioral analysis (UEBA). Like the latter, the tools for analyzing mobile behavior monitor applications to determine if their behaviors are malicious or risky. Apps that seem suspicious are then flagged; this makes it possible for IT to take corrective measures before it’s too late.

For long, application security has been a real challenge for developers and system administrators worldwide. However, new technology and emerging application security trends are promising to make their lives a whole lot easier in 2019 and beyond.

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