How to eliminate risk when scaling application security

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Building robust application security is a lot like building a house—you want it done thoroughly, without any missing parts. However, there is a difference between missing a lick of paint and missing an entire beam in the foundations of the building. One might look a little odd, the other could collapse the whole house.In the world of DevSecOps, calculating risk is a constant exercise. While you might be presented with thousands of issues every time you run a security check, not all of them are going to destroy everything you’ve built. It, therefore, becomes imperative to work out the level of risk posed by each raised issue, so you can act accordingly.

While the idea of sifting through thousands of potentially threatening issues might sound overwhelming, there are plenty of ways to easily navigate these kinds of findings. And awareness is the first step to success.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the benefits of eliminating risk (as far as possible!) when scaling your application security, as well as the tools to help you do it.

HOW TO AUTOMATE RISK MANAGEMENT

A good place to begin when managing levels of security risk is to work out how likely the threat is to cause long-lasting problems or significant cost if it were to happen.

To put your findings into perspective, at Uleska we give all detected threats an associated cost based on risk modelling. This way, users can easily visualise whether a threat is a high-priority that needs to be dealt with right away or something that could perhaps be fixed at a later date. For example, a risk showing up with a potential cost of £300 perhaps isn’t worth prioritising right now. On the other hand, you might find that a security issue that could easily result in a £6,000,000 fine. That one you’ll want to fix quickly.

With more and more high-profile security breaches making headlines as technology becomes more advanced and data more valuable, the pressure is on for companies to have a firm grasp of what could cause serious damage and what won’t.

RISK VERSUS VULNERABILITY

Similarly, an effective way to calculate risk is to work out the magnitude of the issue relating to where it is used in your business or project. We sometimes reference this as ‘risk versus vulnerabilities’.

A vulnerability is essentially static in terms of the technical problem, but the risk that a vulnerability represents to the different types of products can really differ. For example, many tools will flag an SQL injection—a common vulnerability—as a high-priority issue. But not all of these vulnerabilities will be high risk. Not all of them lead to important data breaches or even run the risk of being exploited.

To put this into perspective, a vulnerability relating to employee bank details is very different to, say, a vulnerability in the digital code that relates to your computer avatar. Both are risks, but only one is risky.

There are a number of risk models to help us think about the overall impact of vulnerabilities on our business. FAIR Institute is one of them. This particular tool lends itself to measuring risk values against technical flaws in software development.

We’ve implemented this framework inside our product here at Uleska. Whenever any of the tools we run bring back vulnerabilities, we automatically run through that algorithm to produce an impact and risk score. This helps understand across projects and vulnerabilities what the risks are and helps to issues, measure what’s happening and move forward.

WE KNOW THE RISK

Those working in the world of DevSecOps know that security issues are not created equal. But gone are the days when it was solely up to these teams to manually work out which are a cause for alarm, and which hardly require a shrug of the shoulders. 

At Uleska, that’s what we’re here for. Calculating risk is our speciality, as is sourcing the tools to do it. Our platform makes scaling your application simple, seamless and - above all - secure. And did we mention you can sign up for free? 

Should you want a bit more information about finding the right tools to help you manage and eliminate risk, download our brand-new guide: The DevSecOps Toolkit, which provides comprehensive information on how to scale your application security, safely.

The DevSecOps Toolkit - A guide to scaling AppSec testing

 

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