Prevent Vulnerabilities With Adequate Testing

21-02-2014
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Managing risks and information security is one of the key aspects of any organization, particularly for those dealing with sensitive and confidential information. Any breach or attack can not only cause them harm from a business perspective but also create a number of compliance issues resulting in loss of reputation and goodwill. Therefore, the need for controlling threats and targeted attacks is triple important for such organizations. This business imperative demands for rigorous technical security assessments at a regular basis. These assessments need to be also carried out during any and every change to platforms or the network in order to stay protected against emerging and sophisticated, automated malwares and targeted attacks.

The two vital parts of this exercise are threat assessment and vulnerability assessment which will then enable you to do a proper risk analysis. Any amount of preparedness is not enough to completely block out threats as that is an unknown and ever-changing territory. However, vulnerability of your organization can be gauged and defined. If a hacker breaks into a well-known vulnerability to access your system that could have been restricted, it definitely looks very bad on your organization’s reputation.

A good way to minimize the probability of such attacks is to proactively observe security measures at the very early stages of the application systems development and during the pre-production phase. Some smart tips to enable this:

  • Software engineering teams must develop business applications with adequate threat modeling, that helps in applying a structured approach to security and address the top threats with maximum potential of affecting the system. Additionally, effective data validation frameworks such as Struts, Spring, Drupal, Symfony and Hibernate Validator should be deployed.
  • Secure code review must be performed on the business applications to identify coding errors and business logic flaw that can lead to security exposures and vulnerabilities.
  • Penetration testing on the business application and underlying infrastructure should be performed in the pre-production environment with final build & configuration, which should be completed before the go-live stage. This helps the business stakeholder to take an informed decision to accept or mitigate the security risk findings prior to go-live.
  • On-going Grey Box, White Box & Black Box testing for technical security assessments should be conducted in the production environment to ensure a ‘defense-in-depth’ strategy is in place to protect and ensure that the information system is operating effectively.

The key to effective information security and risk management lies in the ability, frequency and effectiveness of testing and assessments. Although, there is no amount of readiness to stop sophisticated malwares and attackers, adequate amount of testing can prevent vulnerabilities and protect your organization from an attack that is preventable.



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