Reducing Risk Through Security Qa Automation
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Organizations are under constant pressure to protect their critical assets from cyberattacks that have plagued a wide variety of industries. However, there is currently no set method of how to ensure that company applications will be safe from these threats. Quality assurance teams have implemented a wide range of approaches to ensure security, but manually executing all of these cases can be time-consuming and lead to potential vulnerabilities. For this reason, QA should look into security automation to reduce risks and improve overall program capabilities.
Have realistic expectations
When building security into the software development life cycle, there are numerous benefits businesses can see, including seamless protection integration and awareness of team members. An AT&T white paper noted that automated vulnerability scanning can be a great first step for QA teams to implement as it can easily and quickly identify commonly occurring issues. At the same time, however, it's not foolproof, since it cannot detect more sophisticated defects like authentication issues or business logic vulnerabilities.
That being said, security QA automation can be a major asset to development efforts and can reduce overall risk, but will still require other tools like manual testing to fully evaluate the threat landscape. After the app has been released, automation can often be essential for finding threats, while enabling QA teams to focus on current projects that are still underway. This helps lower the potential risk across the board while still ensuring that each program gets the attention it needs, no matter where it is in its life cycle.
Tools for the job
There are a number of resources that QA teams can utilize to test the security of their projects. TechTarget contributor Michael Cobb noted that automated QA verification is often executed through code analysis and vulnerability testing. Both of these assets can quickly find errors that may be easily missed during manual evaluations. This alone helps significantly reduce risks to app functionality and security capabilities while ensuring that QA teams are eliminating common vulnerabilities. These tools paired with human testers can effectively find issues and better protect their projects for the future.
"Despite advances in computer automation, humans are still superior at ensuring applications are developed securely, probably because the best challenge is posed by humans, notably those who can think as an attacker would," Cobb wrote. "However, human work is often more effective if a framework guides it."
Relying on QA for better security
Even if QA teams leverage automated tools for security needs, they must still have an understanding of how these tests work and be able to execute them. Chiron Professional Journal noted that while QA professionals may not often be security experts, having the tools on hand can help them perform the necessary processes and mitigate critical risks.
"Let's be clear here – we're not expecting a QA analyst to be able to cobble together a complicated script to evade an anti-cross-site scripting library … but we should reasonably expect that the analyst can either effectively use a tool, or follow a well-documented process that has varying tests and permutations allowing the analyst to think for themselves and flag questionable results for review by the security experts," the Chiron Professional Journal stated.
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