6 Ways to Take Your Agency’s Application Security Program to the Next Level

If your agency has already implemented some form of application security, you’re already ahead of the curve. But your program may still have room for improvement.

To help you take your application security (AppSec) program to the next level, we’ve put together this list of best practices from DLT partner, Veracode.

1. Shift Left

Shift left is an approach to software testing in which testing is performed early in the lifecycle to improve quality and reduce issues. When applied to AppSec, a shift left approach treats security not as an add-on that comes at the end of the project, but as part of the development process from the get-go. By shifting security left, your teams can embed security into the software development process as they create code, checking for and removing vulnerabilities before they emerge – instead of after the fact, which can get costly.

2. Use Different Testing Methods

When testing AppSec, different methodologies can test for different vulnerabilities, and each play a vital role in a holistic testing strategy. But whether you use static, dynamic, manual testing, or software composition analysis, over-relying on just one of these can provide a false sense of security. It takes a balanced approach to properly evaluate and mitigate risks, says Veracode, and it pays to know when to use which assessment type.

3. Always Be Scanning

There’s a strong correlation between how many times a year an organization scans and how quickly they address their vulnerabilities. That’s because the same incremental processes and automation that security-minded teams put in place to make it easier to scan more frequently also lend themselves to faster remediation.

When creating a scan strategy, Veracode stresses that it’s important to prioritize frequent scans of small builds over one big scan of a large build. This allows developers to make gradual, continuous improvements to the security of your software when the code is still fresh in their minds and easier to fix.

4. Evolve the Role of the Security Professional

As your AppSec strategy changes, so too does the way that your security teams, development, and ops work together.  As developers take more responsibility for day-to-day testing, security’s new role should include higher-level strategic work like setting policies, tracking KPIs, and providing security coaching to developers, advises Veracode. Each person on both teams should know who their peer is on the other side and meet with them regularly and developer training should be provided on any new tools used as security shifts left.

5. Create Security Champions on Your Dev Team

To ensure security stays top of mind in a sea of developers, create security champions among your development teams who are armed with the knowledge needed to review code, escalate any issues, and teach their fellow team members best practices.

6. Take Advantage of Integrations

If you’re already a customer, Veracode strongly recommends that vulnerabilities are fixed early in the software development lifecycle by integrating its own plugins, wrappers, and APIs. This ensures you can establish seamless, reciprocal data exchanges between the Veracode Application Security Platform and your development teams’ IDEs, build systems, bug tracking databases, and other systems.

If you’re not a customer, know that Veracode enables organizations to speed application delivery without sacrificing security and ensuring security compliance. The company’s platform integrates with the development, security and risk-tracking tools you already use. And, its flexible API allows you to create your own custom integrations or use community integrations, built by the open-source community and other technology partners.

For more tips on how to strengthen your AppSec program, read this Application Security Best Practices Handbook.