Software Security Testing Services

Software is everywhere. From desktops to mobile devices, in-house solutions to cloud-based offerings, Marc Andreessen’s famous quote has never been more relevant: Software is eating the world.

Hackers, meanwhile, are looking for a free lunch, and they’ve found one — 100 percent of all web-based applications are vulnerable. That’s right — 100 percent. This hasn’t gone unnoticed. Predictions put global information security spending at more than $110 billion in 2018 with room left to grow. The challenge? Making sure these security budgets are spent on services and solutions that shore up companies’ largest attack surface — software.

The solution? Software integrity and security testing services designed to improve defense, limit risk and enable business outcomes

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Software Security Basics

As noted above, no software is perfectly protected — if attackers can leverage existing vulnerabilities, zero-day flaws or create successful phishing scams, even supposedly secure apps may be compromised. The result? Everything from data and monetary loss to reputation damage and compliance failures. Making things more complex is the divide between client side application security and server side application security; both administrators and end-users must operate in a secure environment.

Software security testing services are designed to mitigate this risk. Typically, the process begins with a security assessment or security auditing and a software composition analysis: Which applications are at risk? What is their most likely risk vector? If compromised, what other network services can hackers disrupt? Then, more in-depth vulnerability scanning is conducted to determine specific points of weakness.

Armed with this knowledge, information security teams develop testing protocols to determine the overall risk, implement countermeasures to close potential gaps and then evaluate the outcome to determine success.

Asking for Help

Broken down into component parts, software security testing sounds simple, right? Just work with your application developers to carry out some interactive application security testing to find weak spots in your applications, fix them and measure the outcomes. The problem? Recent survey data found that while half of all companies have already experienced a data breach, one-third couldn’t point to a specific person in charge of network security or more specifically, web application security testing. More worrisome is half of application developers said they had “no clear security objectives in developing their software.”

It makes sense: Companies are hard-pressed to justify software security budgets if they’ve never experienced a breach or can’t point to specific points of vulnerability. Therefore, it’s worth partnering with a reputable and experienced security testing services company, like XBOSoft, for a professional security assessment to determine exactly where problems are occurring, and develop a specific plan of action to close loopholes and eliminate vulnerabilities.

Software Security Testing – Where to Start?

The Importance of Security Testing: One popular (and false) myth about security testing is that there is no return on investment (ROI) in security testing, which is why not every company is prepared to do it. However, security testing can point out where your applications can be improved in order to improve efficiency, reduce downtime and enable maximum throughput.

A good start is employing the Pareto Principle, better known as the 80/20 rule. It states that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. This principle can also be applied to security testing, fixing 80% by focusing on the 20% causes. This can be achieved by identifying and classifying your applications on business criticality so that it´s clear which apps are vulnerable to eventual revenue or reputation loss. This distinction helps you to apply the appropriate security testing type (and assign the associated budget) to each application category, enabling you to be more efficient. Your current systems also need to be updated regularly with the latest security updates, so make sure your organization implements a patching process schedule, as well as a secure Software Development Life Cycle process. This ensures that security assurance activities such as penetration testing, code review, and architecture analysis are an integral part of the development effort.

Goal Setting

On its own, even great software security testing isn’t enough, Companies also need a way to measure security progress. Are things getting better? Staying the same? Getting worse?

A security assessment of software performance means first defining security goals — in the form of metrics — and then measuring these goals to determine their overall impact on security posture. As noted by OWASP (1), “defining the goals for the security testing metrics and measurements is a prerequisite for using security testing data for risk analysis and management processes.”

In practical terms, this means using objective measurements such as the total number of vulnerabilities detected in software before and after security testing occurs. In addition, testing can attempt to uncover “root causes” of software issues which can be reported, categorized and addressed.  OWASP also suggests setting software testing goals that align with business outcomes: How does securing “X” piece of code lead to “Y” corporate goals?

(1)The OWASP Top 10 is a standard awareness document for developers and web application security. It represents a broad consensus about the most critical security risks to web applications. Companies should adopt this document and start the process of ensuring that their web applications minimize these risks. Using the OWASP Top 10 is perhaps the most effective first step towards changing the software development culture within your organization into one that produces more secure code. https://owasp.org/www-project-top-ten/

Testing, Testing, and Testing

To achieve effective and long-lasting software security results, multiple testing types are recommended. These include:

  • Manual testing: The starting point for software security testing. Experts use advanced penetration tools and techniques to uncover potential weak points.
  • Dynamic testing: The sheer number of applications now used by businesses makes automation a necessity. This is the goal of dynamic testing; security teams use automated processes to discover if software is vulnerable to large-scale issues such as SQL injection or XSS flaws.
  • Web application security testingHere, the goal is digging down into user and admin permissions. Are both sides of the software chain secure? What potential vulnerabilities exist?
  • Interactive application security testingWith increasing focus on client-facing and cloud-based applications, it’s easy to forget about operating systems, databases and network applications. Effective software security testing must include software composition analysis, regular system evaluations to ensure foundational software doesn’t present undue risk.
  • Penetration testing: Also called “pen testing,” this type of testing has experts attempting to “hack” their way into company software with the intention of uncovering uncommon vulnerabilities. Think of it as getting into the hacker mindset. Attackers often think outside the box — your security needs to do the same.

The XBOSoft Advantage

At XBOSoft, our security testing services deliver the software testing expertise and experience necessary to improve your security posture. From certified ethical hacking (CEH) to uncover key vulnerabilities to our Web Application Security Testing Vulnerability Assessment and API Security Testing Service, we’re prepared to help you every step of the way — enhancing network security with system software evaluations, discovering critical flaws through automated testing and designing software security testing plans that address your specific business needs to deliver actionable results.

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