What simple steps can businesses take to improve their application security?

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The cyber threat landscape is rife with opportunistic malicious actors lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce on any crack in an organisation's security. In turn, businesses must action the best possible application security to stand a chance against attackers.

To be clear, it's not the app itself that cyber criminals are after – it's the data within them. Any application that's crucial to the enterprise must be watertight to stop the inevitable, which is that some malicious actor somewhere is making a beeline for the valuable data within it.

Businesses often shoot themselves in the foot from the get-go, as security is usually an afterthought during the application development phase. Mistakes are made too in development, of course, so organisations must take it upon themselves to identify security issues quickly.

Thus, boosting enterprise application security is often considered to be no easy feat. However, there are some simple steps organisations can take towards ensuring the best security possible.

Simple ways to boost application security

If businesses haven't already, they must up the ante and start testing continuously, rather than periodically. This is especially necessary as many businesses have applications that are in constant development. Continuous security testing will provide you with 24/7 surveillance so that you can proceed with your development endeavours with more confidence.

In particular, organisations should embrace always-on, automated solutions that enable earlier identification. In turn, if a problem does arise, you won't be in deep enough to have to rip systems up and start again.

Furthermore, every employee at every company should only have access to the privileges necessary for  carrying out their unique tasks. The Principle of Least Privilege is really non-negotiable; it's a simple, quick fix to protect your business from what could be a huge mess.

If an account gets compromised that has full access privileges, the attacker will be able to snoop for sensitive information. Of course, this is a huge problem in itself, but it'll feel ten times worse if that account didn't need those privileges in the first place.

Also, although it's a hard pill to swallow, it could very well be one of your own employees that decides to hijack your data. Alternatively, someone could make an innocent mistake and do your data some damage. The Principle of Least Privilege will ensure that scope for manoeuvre is minimised as much as possible.

Finally, businesses must keep on top of patching to keep vulnerabilities at bay. If you can enable automated updates, fantastic. If not, which may be the case for larger networks, it is imperative that critical system patches are tested strategically. An attractive way to do so would be to through Security-Operations-Centre-as-a-Service solutions. These manage and monitor your network and assets so that you don't have to.

Enjoy this article? Next, check out why cyber resilience is just as important as cybersecurity.