Welcome!

Related Topics: Cloud Security, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Open Source Cloud, Containers Expo Blog

Cloud Security: Article

Test All Apps to Keep Hackers from Penetrating Castle Walls

Four major challenges when protecting apps and how to solve them

Despite all the news about hackers infiltrating major corporations, most businesses continue to leave themselves woefully unprotected. Some surveys estimate more than 70% of businesses perform vulnerability tests on less than 10% of their cloud, mobile and web applications. A majority also confess they have been hacked at least once in the last two years.

While most large businesses have begun application vulnerability testing, there is still a long way to go. After all, you are only as strong as your weakest link; hackers will undoubtedly find and attack any application without sufficient defenses.

Although testing and creating protection for high-value and mission-critical applications is better than not doing anything at all, leaving low-priority applications unprotected is still a major risk. If hackers can exploit just one application, that means they can then access the rest of your infrastructure. They'll eventually figure out a way to also attack your high-value applications.

Major Challenges When Protecting Applications
W
hy in spite of all the risks are organizations not identifying all the vulnerabilities in their cloud, mobile and web applications? Security professionals typically point to several reasons that hold them back:

  • Limited Budget: Businesses simply don't allocate enough money to test all applications. Whether additional headcount or technology is required, testing costs money, and most organizations do not set aside sufficient funds.
  • Lack of Expertise: Application security is still not a mature science. Even companies with the budget to hire expertise find it difficult to recruit security experts who really understand application security.
  • Compliance Focus: Most organizations are driven first by compliance requirements rather than security. So the focus is only on applications that help achieve compliance while other applications are ignored. Applications assessed for security are tested in many cases only to get a checkbox for compliance - not necessarily for sufficient security.
  • External Focus Only: One misconception when it comes to application security is that companies shouldn't worry about testing internal applications with no external interface. But think of insider threats. What if you have an internal human resources application with access to confidential employee information? If a less-than-ethical employee exploits a privilege, they can gain access to sensitive records, and your company becomes non-compliant with various standards.

Recommendations for Protecting Your Business
Despite these challenges, there are practical ways to protect your business. Here are a few recommendations to identify application vulnerabilities:

  • Respect the Impact of Hacking: According to research by Forrester and the Ponemon Institute, the average cost per record in the case of a breach is at least $300. Most companies have thousands of records. And more than 75% of attacks occur through web applications.
  • Outsource: You don't have to do everything yourself. Consider a managed service or a cloud service to help you secure your cloud, mobile and web applications quickly and affordably.
  • Create a Process: You can cut your costs by creating a pyramid according to the value of all your apps. First identify and then test all your applications. Based on what you find, you can prioritize applications that need deeper penetration testing. This way, you'll cover all your applications without spending a fortune and taking too long. Automated solutions and a good process can help you get there quickly.
  • Manage Your Risk: You will find hundreds of vulnerabilities within your applications, but you won't have time to fix them all. Take a risk management approach and prioritize these vulnerabilities based on a quantitative score. The ones with the highest score (i.e., most likely to be exploited) are the most sensitive and should be addressed right away. All others should be blocked with a web application firewall or other methodologies.

Raise Your Castle Walls to Thwart Attacks
Any breach can have a severely adverse impact on your bottom line. Cloud, mobile and web application vulnerabilities are low-hanging fruit for hackers - they would rather pick these than go after the hard stuff.

Hacking, unfortunately for the rest of us, has become a lucrative profession, and intruders will continue to attack to earn their living. Whether their motive is financial gain, espionage, hacktivism or perhaps something even more pernicious, hackers will continue to fire shots until they penetrate.

Although you can't fire back at the enemy and can't be 100% secure, you can certainly raise the walls of your castle. This puts you in a much better position to thwart their attempts.

More Stories By Michelle Drolet

Michelle Drolet is founder of Towerwall, a data security services provider in Framingham, MA with clients such as PerkinElmer, Smith & Wesson, Middlesex Savings Bank, Brown University and SMBs. You may reach her at [email protected]

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
Qosmos has announced new milestones in the detection of encrypted traffic and in protocol signature coverage. Qosmos latest software can accurately classify traffic encrypted with SSL/TLS (e.g., Google, Facebook, WhatsApp), P2P traffic (e.g., BitTorrent, MuTorrent, Vuze), and Skype, while preserving the privacy of communication content. These new classification techniques mean that traffic optimization, policy enforcement, and user experience are largely unaffected by encryption. In respect wit...
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pulzze Systems will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Pulzze Systems, Inc. provides infrastructure products for the Internet of Things to enable any connected device and system to carry out matched operations without programming. For more information, visit http://www.pulzzesystems.com.
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at EMC, will introduce a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organizati...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Am...
Traditional on-premises data centers have long been the domain of modern data platforms like Apache Hadoop, meaning companies who build their business on public cloud were challenged to run Big Data processing and analytics at scale. But recent advancements in Hadoop performance, security, and most importantly cloud-native integrations, are giving organizations the ability to truly gain value from all their data. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, David Tishgart, Director of Product Marketing ...
Fact: storage performance problems have only gotten more complicated, as applications not only have become largely virtualized, but also have moved to cloud-based infrastructures. Storage performance in virtualized environments isn’t just about IOPS anymore. Instead, you need to guarantee performance for individual VMs, helping applications maintain performance as the number of VMs continues to go up in real time. In his session at Cloud Expo, Dhiraj Sehgal, Product and Marketing at Tintri, wil...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
StarNet Communications Corp has announced the addition of three Secure Remote Desktop modules to its flagship X-Win32 PC X server. The new modules enable X-Win32 to safely tunnel the remote desktops from Linux and Unix servers to the user’s PC over encrypted SSH. Traditionally, users of PC X servers deploy the XDMCP protocol to display remote desktop environments such as the Gnome and KDE desktops on Linux servers and the CDE environment on Solaris Unix machines. XDMCP is used primarily on comp...
SYS-CON Events announced today that StarNet Communications will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. StarNet Communications’ FastX is the industry first cloud-based remote X Windows emulator. Using standard Web browsers (FireFox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) users from around the world gain highly secure access to applications and data hosted on Linux-based servers in a central data center. ...
SYS-CON Events announced today Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Adobe has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Adobe is changing the world though digital experiences. Adobe helps customers develop and deliver high-impact experiences that differentiate brands, build loyalty, and drive revenue across every screen, including smartphones, computers, tablets and TVs. Adobe content solutions are used daily by millions of co...
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.