Businesses use third-party application security testing services for a variety of reasons, and one of the largest is a lack of trained or experienced security professionals. A continued shortage of cybersecurity workers is likely to result in more organizations getting their cybersecurity needs addressed as a service, according to the (ISC)2 cybersecurity professional organization. In fact, (ISC)2 notes that 70% of its survey respondents who are experiencing staffing shortages expect to use third-party services to fill their cybersecurity gap.
And there’s definitely a need to fill that gap. The Forrester report, “The State of Application Security: 2022,” notes that web application exploits are the third-most-common cybersecurity attack. Of the 4,000+ tests Synopsys Application Security Testing (AST) services conducted for its annual “Software Vulnerability Snapshot” report, 95% uncovered some form of vulnerability in the target applications.
The Synopsys AST services tests probe running applications as a real-world attacker would, with the goal of identifying vulnerabilities that could then be triaged and remediated as necessary.
With that much exposure, it’s clear that organizations need to probe their running web applications in the same way that attackers will, and then identify and eliminate vulnerabilities before they are exploited by outside agents.
Some organizations may also want to validate their own testing and ensure that their internal security controls are working. Still others may need to comply with regulatory or business requirements that mandate third-party assessments. For example, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) requires penetration testing on a regular schedule or after any significant changes to the software or system.
The 2022 BSIMM13 Trends and Insights report found that 88% of the organizations participating in the Building Software in Maturity Model (BSIMM) project use external penetration testers to find problems. These tests can uncover issues that might have been missed by internal testing and may highlight a weak link in an organization’s security toolset. If a static analysis tool is failing to capture security defects that surface during dynamic application security testing (DAST) or penetration testing, there may be a problem in the organization’s overall security testing portfolio.