The Importance of Security Testing

The Importance of Security Testing

As technology continues to etch itself into nearly all aspects of our daily life, the threat of being hacked – whether that be your personal information or your company’s data – becomes more real. In fact, some major companies such as Apple and Google, offer large cash rewards to hackers who can identify security vulnerabilities in their websites and software products.

Cyber security is a serious concern for both individuals and businesses who are trusted to securely store data online. This ranges from customer names and email addresses to more sensitive information like credit card numbers and trade secrets. In today’s technological age, data is currency and there are many people who are willing to go to great lengths to obtain it. It is because of this, that enterprises now more than ever before, must practice extensive software and security testing for their applications, websites and any other digital platform where sensitive information is stored.

Security and software testing is a necessity for both individuals and companies who want to protect themselves from outsiders accessing their information, but what methodology and approach is best for deterring hackers?

Historically, many businesses and they technological partners only addressed security testing after they had completed their works. This meant they were leaving themselves vulnerable to hackers from moment they commenced their project up until completion and when testing began. Nowadays, vendors are using an end-to-end approach when it comes to security testing. This proactive approach to cyber security ensures that individuals and companies are being protected before they even begin new works. Below is a basic timeline of steps involved in security testing by vendors who use the end-to-end approach:

  • Outline security requirements for products or platforms
  • Determine security requirements, abuse cases and perform ambiguity testing
  • Work with solution architects to determine secure architecture of websites or applications
  • Evaluate design process against established security criteria
  • Perform decision and risk analysis
  • Perform security testing and risk-based security testing based on attack patterns
  • Review code and perform static code analysis for common vulnerabilities
  • Perform web/mobile application penetration testing (WAPT)
  • Perform vulnerability assessment and penetration testing (VAPT)
  • Expose application’s security controls and network vulnerabilities

While many vendors use security scanners to quickly run through the code review, it is important not to overlook manual testing to validate every bug, even if you think it might be harmless.

It is recommended that vendors take a comprehensive approach to data testing which involves testing absolutely everything thoroughly before deployment, before moving onto penetration testing where they enlist the help of ‘white hat’ hackers to exploit the application and try to identify any real-world vulnerabilities. This helps to keep testers on their toes and ensures they can identify any issues first. The old saying ‘better safe than sorry’ rings true for cyber security so the more thorough ones testing is, the better.

Hackers trying to access the sensitive information of individuals and business’ online, whilst being a serious threat, is not the only threat. Individuals and companies must also be vigilant when it comes to virus’ and bugs that can inhabit your system which means testing is required to protect from these type of threats also. Think of this type of testing as the anti-virus software that keeps things running smoothly, some of the following benefits include:

  • Fixed attack paths are closed both on-premises as well as in private and hybrid cloud environments
  • Risk is managed properly across all networks
  • Business disruption is avoided without cyber-attack disruptions
  • Attacks on client/customer information are minimised
  • All parties interacting with your business are protected
  • PR and brand image remain untarnished

So before your brand faces a PR nightmare from a devastating cyber-attack, make sure you thoroughly assess your current testing program and consider contacting a security and software testing company who uses an end-to-end approach.

PC Security