The Importance of Application Code Security

As technology continues to surge, applications and software have become increasingly complex, rising to meet the demand of our growing virtual world. Is cybersecurity keeping up with the application standard? Risks and threats of risks to security should be a concern to everyone creating applications and software. Although code writers do run tests on their own programs; typically, their priority is the functionality of the program and not necessarily the security. Security professionals are faced with the challenge of convincing code developers to implement application security.

Is the application code secured against accessibility?

First and foremost, are the code developers able to protect their intellectual property as they are writing the code?

Secondly, once the application is in use, encrypting the code controls which user has access, creating protection against hackers.  They physical environment where the code is stored is also worth considering: an isolated environment protects who has physical access.

When the code runs

Code security should protect what functions can or can’t be done with the application. Different users should have different access, privileges, or options and security within the code should protect and limit all these appropriately.

Security should protect the different levels of access within the areas of use of the software. It is vital that security mechanisms using authentication (are you who you say you are?) and authorization (what are you allowed to do?) should be sound.

Security also includes cross checking between different functions and different users of the system to check that the system is operating correctly and has not been compromised. Limiting security to specific users allows higher application functions to only operate by one user that establishes the limits (The System Administrator).

Processing data

Even if authentication and authorization is present, the system needs a level of security to ensure that incorrect data does not enter into the application. Checks on the system will prevent certain data input; for example system checks that should be built-in that are supplied by the vendor of the system. Again, accessing the code should be prevented to secure this system.

Tests written by programmers ensure that the application runs as it was intended to. The code of an application changes when it is updated but updates should not produce additional security risks and therefore updates should again be tested every time for new and old security risks. There are common areas of risk in application security that can be problematic, and it may be helpful to run tests for multiple problems common to applications. A code review may also be able to run testing on multiple levels. A code review tool has wider range and detail than the tests than programmers may have thought of.

Buyer confidence

Third party testing of application security also gives confidence to buyers that the application is sound. Third party testing ay also come with guarantee that alleviates some of the company’s risks.

Should we do it?

Code review tools can be easy to use, coders do not even need to necessarily scan entire code at each run, and users have incremental scan options that scan only files that have been updated.

Maybe code writers have the responsibility of rethinking the risk of not using third party application code testing.

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