Feeds

Time to dismount the hamster security wheel of pain

Quit patching, build a library

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

If you're tired of the application security scan-and-patch hamster-wheel-of-pain, then it's time establish just such a library. But what of the classic pain point of actually getting people to use the library, rather than falling back on established practices and techniques? Once you show that using this "secure" approach is the fastest and easiest way to get applications built, you'll see dramatically increased levels of interest in the library.

So how do you create your enterprise security library?

Most organizations need roughly 100 methods across all the different security controls, organized into a simple library. Every organization's library will be a little different, as they each use different platforms, systems, directories, databases and infrastructure.

While many organizations have standardized approaches for authentication, access control, and perhaps logging, most have not created common solutions for critical areas like input validation, encoding, encryption and error handling.

You may be able to search your best applications for these mechanisms and institutionalize them. The best approach is to spend some time designing the API for your organization's security needs, and then implementing the mechanisms.

Assuming your library is critical, you'll want to spend time on design reviews, code reviews, and security testing. Borrowing the "test-first" technique from agile methodologies is a great way to develop a test suite that you can use for regression testing.

Faster, shorter, simpler

Organizations that create a standard security library for developers will experience significant cost savings across the entire software development lifecycle. By simplifying application security, many activities across the lifecycle will take less time and yield better results. For example, security training will be shorter and more focused, security requirements reduced to half their former size, and security design and implementation will be easier. Security testing will become more effective and remediation much simpler.

Application security is getting more complicated every day with increasing connectivity, more mixing of code and data, more parsers, more interpreters, more assets, and more functionality available.

We have to take steps now to simplify the problem. So if you're tired of securing one application at a time, and wrestling with the same vulnerabilities again and again, establishing your organization's standard security library is one of the best things you can do.®

Jeff Williams is the founder and CEO of Aspect Security and the volunteer chair of the Open Web Application Security Project. His latest project is the Enterprise Security API, a free and open set of foundational security building blocks for developers.

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?
Google's app permissions far too lax – security firm survey
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
OpenWRT gets native IPv6 slurping in major refresh
Also faster init and a new packages system
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.