Any software that runs on a web server is referred to as a web application. Web apps aren’t limited to individual devices and are exposed to many security risks because of that. With more and more data being stored in the cloud, physical servers are slowly becoming obsolete, giving way to more advanced solutions that host web applications in an affordable, easy, and secure manner.
Digital businesses also invest in solutions that allow them to connect web analytics, email marketing tools, CRM software, and other marketing tools to their web applications to improve their performance.
However, these solutions also expose them to the risks of cyberattacks. Hackers simply love authentication flaws, cross-site scripting attacks, and SQL injections, as these are their favorite attack vectors that allow them to target multiple business web apps.
Since web application security matters a lot, let’s explain what it is and what you can do to improve it.
Why your app security is vital
The term web application security refers to everything relating to securing your business web servers, services, and applications against the latest cyber threats. That encompasses everything from the technologies you use to your business policies, procedures, and data that hackers and cybercriminals can exploit.
The internet is now all about dynamic websites that excel at providing each user with an exceptional online user experience. It allows users to interact with websites more easily, and internet users are increasingly exposing their sensitive information, like passwords, usernames, and financial credentials on the web.
The problem is that hackers rely on that information to deploy their attacks, malware, and malicious links that enable them to steal private and sensitive data. Aside from causing individual internet users a lot of trouble, hackers can also use their means to target business brands with their cyber attacks.
If a business doesn’t have web application security in place, it can become exposed to a wide range of risks, including:
- Loss of customer data
- Loss of revenue
- Compromised brand reputation and loss of consumer trust
- Problems with compliance and penalties
Failing to protect your data, assets, business processes, customers, clients, and partners can have devastating consequences for a modern business today. Let’s see what you can do to improve your web application security.
5 tips on improving app security
According to a recent study, nearly 40% of data breaches come from compromised web application security. Here are five things you can do to improve app security.
1. Encrypt and backup your data
Each time some internet user pays a visit to your web app, they generate data. Whether it’s just their online activity or sensitive information, it needs to be protected from hackers. One of the safest and easiest ways to ensure data is secured is to encrypt it.
Both your stored data and data in transit need to be encrypted using SSL/TLS encryption to protect the communication between your web apps and your consumers via the secure HTTPS protocol. Since this is the latest security standard on the web, it can increase customer trust in your brand.
It also comes with certain SEO benefits simply because Google takes kindly to web apps with SSL. When it comes to securing your stored data, you can implement network firewalls, use the strongest encryption algorithms, and choose top security databases for storing data.
In addition, in case of malware infection, data, or security breach, you’ll need data backups to restore your business operations. Make sure you backup your data regularly.
2. Follow the latest cyber security trends to develop the best practices
Staying on top of the latest cybersecurity trends is an excellent way to ensure additional web app security. Developing the best practices allows you to get ahead of cybercriminals.
Some of the best practices at the moment include deploying the latest version of TLS and HTTPS, using multi-factor authentication for all your apps, and creating unique and strong passwords for each application you use. You should also tap into the X-XSS-protection security header to prevent XSS attacks.
3. Implement security monitoring in real-time
Real-time security monitoring is an excellent way to prevent any threats before they cause damage and patch all your security vulnerabilities. It ensures 24/7 protection and allows you to set a web application firewall and detect any malicious activity in real-time. You can combine it with an app security management platform for even more protection against unknown threats.
4. Implement advanced security measures
Each web app has its own default security settings that you can additionally strengthen by implementing advanced security measures. These measures ensure:
- Maximum script execution time – define this time based on your common web app use cases. The less time it takes for your scripts to run on your server, the fewer attack possibilities hackers have.
- Disabled modules – any extension or module on your web server that isn’t used by your web app should be disabled.
- Content security policy – you can prevent malicious infections by adding a solid content policy and specifying trusted redirected URLs.
5. Use common HTTP headers
HTTP security headers are common HTTP headers that can be used for improving web application security by providing an additional layer of security and restricting malicious behaviors. Some of the most common HTTP headers for improving web app security include:
- HTTP strict-transport security – replaces HTTP communication with encrypted HTTPS connections.
- Content security policy – top protection solution against XSS attacks.
- X-frame options – ensure protection against XSS attacks with HTML iframes.
- Clear-site data – makes sure the user’s browser doesn’t store any sensitive data after the user logs out by clearing all browsing data related to that site.
- Feature-policy – this header can improve security by restricting access to specific browser APIs and features for each active page.
Of course, you can do many other things to ensure additional security, but these five ways can help secure your web apps immediately. Check this online blog article for more information about the most common HTTP headers.
The dynamics of the internet are constantly changing very rapidly, and there is something new every day. In the realm of web app security and cybersecurity in general, the more you’re up to date with the latest events, the less you risk reputational damages and financial losses to your business. The good thing is that modern cybersecurity technologies are very user-friendly and easy to get into and use.