Feeds

Time to dismount the hamster security wheel of pain

Quit patching, build a library

Boost IT visibility and business value

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.

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.