sb-au logo
Story image

Why cybersecurity challenges have become a primary driver for lifecycle management

17 Jun 2020

Article by Micro Focus A/NZ head of enterprise security, George Atrash.

The rate of application development is moving faster than ever before as organisations embrace a DevOps approach to digital transformation. As organisations look to secure the ever-accelerating process of software development, lifecycle management is often overshadowed by network security, exposing networks and critical data to threats and vulnerabilities.

Identifying critical cybersecurity components of an organisation’s IT infrastructure such as network availability, IT security systems, and any compliance related systems such as PCI-DSS, is the first step in ensuring those assets are kept secure. At the foundational level, cybersecurity risk mitigation can be boiled down into three main steps:

  1. Identification: this includes determining what systems, data, and networks are important to the organisation.
  2. Risk assessment: while some level of risk will always be guaranteed, businesses should determine the acceptable risk level.
  3. Control deployment: organisations should deploy the controls that get the organisation to its acceptable level of risk.

Cybersecurity challenges have become a primary driver for lifecycle management and vice versa. The risk resides in the data and the processes, systems, and applications that provide access to the data. Security teams are often aware of the risks associated with the network and infrastructure layers however are unaware of the security gaps that reside within the application and data layers.

An incomplete review of the risks and a lack of understanding of the business leaves the application layer out of scope for most security teams. Micro Focus has identified the key reasons that risk is so high within the application layer:

  • The application layer relates to commercial/open source software. Attacking multiple targets with the same vulnerability is efficient for any level of bad actor.
  • For legacy software, exploits, whether old or new, can be used proficiently against legacy systems that have not been updated or patched.
  • The application layer relies on custom or in-house software. This typically involves project-based developments. Application security is often not a priority during application development.

Bad actors are increasingly aware of vulnerabilities at the application layer and take every opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities to get access to the underlying data. Using runtime application self protection (RASP) technology, organisations can mitigate previously unknown risks.

As organisations move to agile development, RASP technology streamlines the security process to help DevOps teams make an application more secure. Embedded within the application or application runtime environment, RASP technology can control application execution, detect vulnerabilities, and prevent real-time attacks. RASP works from inside the software, rather than a network device, letting the technology access all the contextual information inside the application to provide broader protection and increased accuracy.

Organisations should look for RASP technologies that include numerous vulnerability and logging categories out of the box. These let the organisation operate more securely, eliminating bottlenecks in the application lifecycle.