Security Testing: How to Keep the Egg From Cracking
In a recent study conducted by the Capgemini Consulting Group, it was found that less than one-third of retail banks and insurers offer both strong data privacy practices and a sound security strategy in equal measure.
There is a pressing need for robust security testing. It is also important to understand Gartner’s concept of DevSecOps, a merger of security and DevOps, which is taking the IT industry by the storm.
The subject of cyber security has been somewhat controversial. On one hand, there are cyber security firms that suggest that merely insuring the business is not enough. Small and medium enterprises are in constant danger of being hacked and being driven to bankruptcy, security firms insist. On the other hand, there are many who believe that the truth is being contorted and that the extent to which hackers can break into secure systems is exaggerated.
Both may be true in their own right because the concept of cyber security is like an egg. Whole and contained in a shell neatly protecting the environment within; however, the moment it is forcefully and unceremoniously broken open, the damage is often a painful, gooey mess. For this reason, it becomes all the more important to ensure that there are no chances for even a single crack in the egg, to begin with.
The Impact of Failed Security
The process of security testing can be automated by tools specifically designed to meet the needs of each business. It is important to note that online and digital services do not run by the currency of the country, but rather by the currency of trust. Once it is broken, the subsequent damages seep into far too many layers and impact far too many users. For example, if a famous e-commerce company is hacked, customers may be shown false information and have their money whisked away from their bank accounts. Such an experience would, of course, be a blow to a customer’s trust in the online retail system.
In this example alone, we see the following entities being directly or indirectly impacted:
- The e-commerce platform.
- The e-commerce supply-chain.
- Authentic sellers of the e-commerce platform.
- Customers who lost valuable time and money.
- Friends and family of the impacted customers (through social media).
- Competitors and other e-commerce platforms (the trust of being able to shop online may be questioned altogether).
A similar case of a security breach or data leak in a sensitive industry such as the banking industry would only result in far more disastrous consequences.
The Deal With DevSecOps
Gartner’s report on “DevSecOps: How to Seamlessly Integrate Security Into DevOps” notes that:
Information security architects must integrate security at multiple points into DevOps workflows in a collaborative way that is largely transparent to developers, and preserves the teamwork, agility and speed of DevOps and agile development environments, delivering "DevSecOps."
Security controls must be implemented at every junction, in such a way that manual configuration is not required, insists Gartner.
The element of security in IT has become inconvenient to deal with, owing to the rigidity of existing frameworks and the lack of a software element to readily work on making it more robust. As most organizations work in Agile and implement DevOps, it becomes difficult to work with existing security frameworks. Gartner insists that it is essential to embrace a “trust and verify” mindset. In addition, security platforms will be required to expose their functionality through APIs, in order to enable automation. Such measures ensure that security becomes an intricate detail of the entire software, and results in the formation of several layers of protection, in the event of a breach.
Why DevSecOps Is Important
According to Gartner, by 2019, more than 50% of enterprise DevOps initiatives will have incorporated application security testing for custom code, up from less than 10% in 2016.
Information security professionals will soon be involved deeply in the software development lifecycle. While it is crucial for software developers, Quality Assurance (QA) engineers, and operations executives to continue working collaboratively and communicating effectively in DevOps, the inclusion of security testing and information security professionals would result in effectively optimizing and improving the overall security measures, through seamless integration of security measures.
Organizations are usually skeptical about investing in security testing and are afraid that users will be unwilling to make use of sophisticated security measures. However, research shows that most online users, predominantly millennials, are more than willing to pay higher for enhanced security.
Security testing is pivotal in a company’s business strategy, which would invariably be aligned with DevOps. To overlook system and information security is akin to business suicide. As crucial as security testing is, and as useful as security testing tools are, the implementation process is highly customized to suit the need of the business and integrates seamlessly with the existing agile methodology and DevOps process. For this reason, it is important to have a trusted software security testing vendor.