What is Application Security (AppSec)?

Uncover what Application Security (AppSec) is and why it's crucial. Learn best practices, testing methods, and trends to fortify your applications.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Keep up with the latest from ArmorCode.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Application Security (AppSec) is the practice of securing applications throughout their entire lifecycle, from the initial design phase to deployment and ongoing maintenance. This includes securing them from vulnerabilities and weaknesses that could compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the application and its data. It involves a combination of processes, tools, and best practices aimed at identifying, fixing, and preventing vulnerabilities and weaknesses that could be exploited by attackers.

Why is AppSec important?

Applications store sensitive data, connect us to essential services, and power our daily interactions. But with this power comes responsibility – the responsibility to secure these applications from ever-evolving cyber threats. 

In the year 2023, there were 2,365 cyberattacks resulting in 343,338,964 victims. By prioritizing AppSec, organizations can effectively mitigate security risks and build resilient and secure digital ecosystems.

Here are a few reasons to have an Application Security (AppSec) strategy in place:

  • Protects sensitive data: Applications often handle sensitive information such as personal data, financial records, and proprietary business information. AppSec ensures that this data is protected from unauthorized access, theft, or manipulation, safeguarding the privacy and confidentiality of users and organizations.
  • Maintains brand reputation: A security breach can severely damage an organization's reputation and erode the trust of its customers, partners, and stakeholders. AppSec helps prevent security incidents and demonstrates a commitment to security, enhancing brand reputation and credibility.
  • Ensures regulatory compliance: Many industries are subject to regulations and compliance requirements regarding data protection and security. Non-compliance can result in hefty fines, legal consequences, and reputational damage. AppSec measures help organizations meet regulatory standards and avoid costly penalties.
  • Prevents financial loss: The global average cost of data breaches in 2023 was USD 4.45 million. Security breaches can lead to significant financial losses through various means, including data theft, fraud, business downtime, and legal expenses. Investing in AppSec reduces the risk of such incidents and mitigates potential financial consequences.
  • Mitigates business disruption: Security incidents can disrupt business operations, leading to downtime, loss of productivity, and damage to customer relationships. By proactively addressing security vulnerabilities, AppSec helps minimize the risk of disruptions and ensures business continuity.
  • Fosters customer trust and loyalty: In today's digital age, customers expect the applications they use to be secure and trustworthy. By prioritizing security through AppSec measures, organizations demonstrate a commitment to protecting their customers' interests, fostering trust, and building long-term loyalty.
  • Supports innovation and growth: Secure applications enable organizations to innovate with confidence, knowing that their digital assets are protected from security threats. AppSec provides a foundation for growth by mitigating risks associated with new technologies, business initiatives, and expansion into new markets.

Application Security Testing Methods and Tools

Application security is the process of protecting applications from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction. Different types of application security testing methods and tools can be used to identify, assess, and mitigate vulnerabilities in applications.

Static Application Security Testing (SAST)

SAST tools analyze application source code, bytecode, or binary code to identify security vulnerabilities, coding errors, and compliance issues without executing the code. They're excellent for spotting common coding errors that could lead to security issues.

Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)

DAST tools assess applications while they are running to identify security vulnerabilities by sending malicious payloads and analyzing responses. They simulate real-world attacks to see how the application would respond under pressure.

Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST)

IAST tools combine elements of SAST and DAST by instrumenting the application to monitor its behavior and identify vulnerabilities during runtime. They provide a more comprehensive security posture evaluation. 

Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP)

RASP tools are embedded within an application or its runtime environment to monitor and protect against security threats in real-time. They can detect and block attacks in real-time.

Mobile Application Security Testing (MAST)

MAST tools are specifically designed to test the security of mobile applications. They identify vulnerabilities like SQL injection and insecure data storage.

Web Application Firewalls (WAF)

WAFs are network security devices or services that monitor and filter HTTP traffic between a web application and the internet to block malicious requests and attacks.

Container Security

Container security tools focus on securing containerized applications and the underlying infrastructure, including container orchestration platforms like Kubernetes.

API Security

API security tools protect APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) from security threats such as unauthorized access, data breaches, and injection attacks.

Cloud-native Application Security Testing (CNAST)

Cloud-native application security testing encompasses the examination of applications operating within cloud infrastructures, analyzing their components and interactions, such as containers, storage, and compute resources. 

These are just a few of the many different types of application security testing tools available. The best tool for a particular application will depend on the specific needs of the application and the organization.

In addition to application security testing, there are a number of other best practices that can be followed to improve application security. These include:

  • Secure coding practices to help prevent vulnerabilities from being introduced into applications in the first place.
  • Regular security reviews to help identify and address vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by attackers.
  • A vulnerability management program to track and prioritize vulnerabilities, and ensure that they are addressed promptly.

Application Security Posture Management (ASPM)

ASPM platform ingests and normalizes findings from across disparate applications, infrastructure, and cloud scanners and correlates them along with business context and threat intelligence. It helps you prioritize risks and automate triaging and remediation workflows more effectively.

Utilizing a combination of testing methodologies and tools alongside a distinct governance layer platform like ASPM can furnish a robust and comprehensive strategy for safeguarding your applications.

AppSec Best Practices

AppSec, or application security, is a critical area of focus for any organization that builds or uses software. Here are some key best practices to consider:

Using the Right AppSec Tools 

Effective application security relies on choosing the right AppSec tools for your development process. These tools empower both developers and security teams to identify and fix vulnerabilities early, ensuring the software is built with security in mind from the beginning.  However, with a vast array of options available, selecting the most suitable tools requires careful consideration of your specific needs and development workflow.

Application Security Training

To bridge the security gap, it is important to empower everyone involved in the software lifecycle with AppSec knowledge. Developers, testers, and stakeholders can all benefit from training on secure coding practices and prevalent vulnerabilities, fostering a collaborative environment to build secure applications from the ground up.

Start with a Threat Assessment

To effectively mitigate threats, first conduct a comprehensive threat assessment. This involves creating an inventory of all your critical assets, prioritizing them based on value and sensitivity, and then identifying potential threats and vulnerabilities. By understanding the security gaps, you can develop a mitigation plan that leverages existing measures and implements additional tools or methods to safeguard your most important assets.

Shift Security Left

Shift left security is a proactive approach to building secure software. Traditionally, security checks happened late in development. Shift left integrates security throughout the entire process, from design to deployment. This means catching vulnerabilities early on in the code when they're easier and cheaper to fix. 

This saves time and money compared to fixing major flaws discovered later in the development process. Shift left security empowers developers to build secure software from the ground up, leading to more robust and reliable applications. By baking security in from the start, you release secure and reliable software faster.

Prioritize Remediation

Security tools generate a flood of findings, overwhelming security teams and developers. To cut through the noise, consolidate these results and prioritize vulnerabilities based on your specific business context, threat intelligence, and internal risk hierarchy. This allows you to focus on the most critical issues first. Platforms and approaches like ASPM (Application Security Posture Management) can streamline and help with this process to reduce risk effectively.

Measure AppSec Results

Don't settle for a static security posture. Continuously monitor and evaluate your AppSec program's effectiveness by measuring key metrics. Track if vulnerabilities are decreasing, risks are lowering, and overall application security is improving. This ensures your program justifies the investment of time, effort, and resources, proving its value in keeping your applications safe.

Manage Privileges

To minimize the damage from security breaches, enforce the principle of least privilege. This means giving users only the access (data, systems, functions) they absolutely need to perform their jobs. Combine this with zero trust principles when connecting integrated systems. Zero trust assumes no user or system is inherently trustworthy and verifies access every time, regardless of prior authorization. This layered approach creates a more secure environment by limiting access points and the potential damage if a breach occurs.

Trends and Considerations in Modern AppSec

The AppSec landscape is constantly evolving. Here are some key trends to watch for in 2024:

Integration of AI and ML: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are increasingly used for threat detection, anomaly detection, and security analytics.

Rise of Zero Trust Architecture: With the growing complexity of networks and increased remote work, Zero Trust Architecture becomes more prevalent, emphasizing strict access controls and continuous authentication.

Focus on DevSecOps: DevSecOps integrates security into the DevOps process, promoting collaboration between development, operations, and security teams and also integrating security throughout the development lifecycle. 

Application Security Posture Management (ASPM): As the number of security tools explodes, managing application security becomes overwhelming. Application Security Posture Management (ASPM) platforms are rising in popularity to tackle this challenge. ASPM offers a one-stop shop for visibility, prioritization, remediation, and monitoring, simplifying application security.

Container security: As containerization gains popularity, securing containerized applications becomes a priority, with a focus on container orchestration security and runtime protection.

Growing adoption of cloud-native AppSec tools: Tools designed specifically for cloud environments are gaining traction.

The continued threat of the OWASP Top 10: These common web application vulnerabilities remain a significant risk. This includes broken access control, cryptographic failures, injection, insecure design, security misconfiguration, vulnerable and outdated components, identification and authentication failure, software and data integrity failures, security logging and monitoring failures, and lastly server-side request forgery. 

Application Security with ArmorCode

By implementing a comprehensive AppSec program and utilizing the right tools, you can significantly reduce the risk of application security breaches. 

ArmorCode offers an ASPM platform designed to streamline and improve application security (AppSec) practices within the DevSecOps pipeline. The AI-powered ArmorCode ASPM Platform integrates with all your scanners to create a unified understanding of risk across your application portfolio and leverages intelligent risk scoring to prioritize your most critical risks. 

Experience reduced security chaos, faster release cycles, and improved security posture with ArmorCode’s ASPM platform. 

Building secure applications is a continuous journey. Don't let complex security tools slow you down.  

3 Mandatory Steps to Mature your AppSec Program Today

Read this whitepaper to discover how to mature beyond scanning and burn down your critical security debt by >80%.

Related Content


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam felis sit luctus eget com
Get in touch
What is ASM ?
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam felis sit luctus eget commodo ut. Id adipiscing quam enim sodales arcu consequat enim rhoncus, volutpat. Senectus fringilla viverra dui nunc pretium arcu bibendum sem pulvinar
What is ASM ?
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam felis sit luctus eget commodo ut. Id adipiscing quam enim sodales arcu consequat enim rhoncus, volutpat. Senectus fringilla viverra dui nunc pretium arcu bibendum sem pulvinar
What is ASM ?
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam felis sit luctus eget commodo ut. Id adipiscing quam enim sodales arcu consequat enim rhoncus, volutpat. Senectus fringilla viverra dui nunc pretium arcu bibendum sem pulvinar
What is ASM ?
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam felis sit luctus eget commodo ut. Id adipiscing quam enim sodales arcu consequat enim rhoncus, volutpat. Senectus fringilla viverra dui nunc pretium arcu bibendum sem pulvinar

Seeing is believing.
Schedule a demo today.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.