08 Feb, 2021

What  Is An Application Risk Assessment And How Does It Work?

by nVisium

Applications are the life blood of every corporation today when it comes to managing digital assets, so it stands to reason that they are also the most at-risk area of your IT security strategy. This has given rise to application risk assessments and smart CISOs routinely implement this as a core to their security strategy.

What Is An Application Risk Assessment

If you are not familiar with this concept then according to ISACA an application security risk: assessment and modeling is defined as:

“Currently, a generic risk assessment metric is used to assess application security risk (ASR). This does not encompass the basic factors of application security such as compliance, countermeasure efficiency and application priority. Obviously, the results are not commensurate with actual risk posed by application security.”

Because real application security risk is generally perceived and actually measurable, the article goes on to also offer these metrics for evaluation:

“The entire process of metric design allows the business to find the optimum answer for the following questions:

  • What path could an attacker take to get inside the application?
  • What tools are required to defeat the existing security measure?
  • What are the possible signs of an attack particular to each category of application?
  • Can existing security measures detect the attack?”

Most organizations are not able to implement all of the required security controls necessary to block or prevent every possible attack. So, most businesses are unaware of its applications’ susceptibility to attack. Cyber criminals understand this better than most and that is why they continue attacks on applications despite knowing that organizations are deploying robust security measures. Now that you understand what an application risk assessment is, it is time to discuss how to do them effectively.

How Does An Application Risk Assessment WOrk?

An effective application risk assessment will evaluate all aspects of an application and test risk mitigation solutions for a fully comprehensive security assessment. Done correctly this may require both continuous and non-continuous application security assessments, or more specifically, authenticated and non-authenticated assessments.

First, you should consider utilizing a hybrid application assessment approach that leverages a multi-step methodology combining the strongest aspects of both static and dynamic analysis to provide the most extensive and efficient assessment possible. A hybrid assessment combines source code review with black box (or dynamic) testing and allows for the most comprehensive and effective assessment.

Effective application risk assessments also look at runtime environments from both a structure versus function perspective. You will need to review the application in its runtime environment in order to learn how the application works from a purely functional standpoint. This allows you to better understand the application, as well as identify key areas where business logic should be thoroughly reviewed. After determining how the application works, you should perform a review of the source code to discern the structure of the code base.

The end result will provide a list of action items for potential remediation to ensure best practices have been implemented at all levels.

Application Risk Assessments Made Easy

Bottomline is that identifying risks in software for web, client, and server applications requires modeling systems like an attacker would and pinpointing areas of weakness that can be exploited. You will need to provide secure code reviews and web application penetration testing to identify security bugs and flaws while helping development teams rapidly remediate any discovered issues so finding the right partner with proven success will mean the difference between success and failure.

nVisium empowers organizations to eliminate application and cloud security vulnerabilities before cyber threats exploit them with proven in-depth security assessments, remediation and training programs. Our experienced team of security-savvy developers and engineers guide organizations to build best practices with high ROI into their engineering and secure development lifecycles across applications, operating systems, networks, mobile, cloud and IoT through services, software solutions and R&D unique to business operations and compliance initiatives. Additionally, nVisium provides a fully managed platform for tracking and measuring performance as well as instructor-led and online training.

nVisium empowers organizations to eliminate application and cloud security vulnerabilities before cyber threats exploit them with proven in-depth security assessments, remediation and training programs. Call us when you are ready for security assessments to test the vulnerability of your applications, Internet of Things (IoT), networks, mobile and cloud or better yet, schedule a consultation today or download our new eBook titled “Demystifying DevSecOps” to get started yourself.


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