The Complete Application Security Checklist

Our Complete Application Security Checklist describes 11 best practices that’ll help you minimize your risk from cyber attacks and protect your data.

The Complete Application Security Checklist

Application security is a crowded, confusing field. And it grows more confusing every day as cyber threats increase and new AppSec vendors jump into the market. Securing your applications against today’s cyber threats means facing a veritable jungle of products, services, and solutions.

If you’re setting off into the application security jungle, don’t leave home without a map. Our Complete Application Security Checklist outlines 11 best practices to secure your applications and protect your data in the current threat environment. Read on, or see the whole checklist here.

The Complete Application Security Checklist

11 Best Practices to Minimize Risk and Protect Your Data

1. Eliminate vulnerabilities before applications go into production. To address application security before development is complete, it’s essential to build security into your development teams (people), processes, and tools (technology).

2. Address security in architecture, design, and open source and third-party components. If you’re only checking for bugs in your proprietary code or running penetration tests against your system, you’re likely missing a substantial number of the vulnerabilities in your software.

3. Adopt security tools that integrate into the developer’s environment. One way to do this is with an IDE plugin, which lets developers see the results of security tests directly in the IDE as they work on their code.

Complete Application Security Checklist: Put the right tools in place.

4. Build an “AppSec toolbelt” that brings together the solutions needed to address your risks. An effective AppSec toolbelt should include integrated solutions that address application security risks end-to-end, providing analysis of vulnerabilities in proprietary code, open source components, and runtime configuration and behavior.

5. Analyze your application security risk profile so you can focus your efforts. Knowing what’s important requires a team of experienced security experts to analyze an application portfolio quickly and effectively and identify the specific risk profile for each app and its environment.

Complete Application Security Checklist: Ensure your team has sufficient skills and resources.

6. Develop a program to raise the level of AppSec competency in your organization. Be sure you’re focusing on the actions that will have the biggest positive impact on your software security program at the least possible cost.

7. Provide your staff with sufficient training in AppSec risks and skills. High-quality training solutions can help security teams raise the level of application security skills in their organizations.

8. Augment internal staff to address skill and resource gaps. Find a trusted partner that can provide on-demand expert testing, optimize resource allocation, and cost-effectively ensure complete testing coverage of your portfolio.

Complete Application Security Checklist: Address changing AppSec risks when moving to the cloud.

9. Make sure you understand your cloud security provider’s risks and controls. It’s essential that your security, development, and operations teams know how to handle the new security risks that emerge as you migrate to the cloud.

10. Develop a structured plan to coordinate security initiative improvements with cloud migration. Once you fully understand the risks, you can create a roadmap for your cloud migration to ensure all teams are in alignment and your priorities are clear.

11. Establish security blueprints outlining cloud security best practices. Security blueprints can help guide development teams and systems integrators in building and deploying cloud applications more securely.

Turn your checklist into an action plan

Application security is not a one-time event. It’s a continuous journey. To do it effectively means building security into your software development life cycle without slowing down delivery times. Following some or more of the best practices described above will get you headed in the right direction.

Ready to put these best practices into action? Check out The CISO’s Ultimate Guide to Securing Applications.

Get the CISO's Ultimate Guide to AppSec

This post was originally published Feb. 20, 2019, and refreshed April 21, 2020.

Synopsys Editorial Team

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Synopsys Editorial Team

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