When it comes to web app development, security has been one of the most critical aspects everyone needs to consider. As cyberattacks, such as DDoS attacks, have substantially increased in number, app developers need to make sure their apps are secure.
You cannot rely solely on security products to maintain a strong security posture and protect your data. From simple data backups to GDPR compliance, here are 5 best practices to develop secure web apps that you should add to your dev strategy.
Make Cybersecurity Inclusive
Security is still seen as the responsibility of specialized teams in some businesses. Unfortunately, this approach does not work anymore for several reasons. For starters, security teams are struggling to keep up with business growth due to an increasing cybersecurity skill gap. Cyber attackers can keep growing their collective consistently, compared to businesses that need to qualify their hires.
In addition, specialized security teams become bottlenecks of information throughout the development process. So, how do you deal with these potential issues? The answer is to make security inclusive with SecDevOps.
Security-first development and operations mean making all decisions with security in mind, which SecDevOps prioritizes. A key element of the process is cultivating a security mindset within every team member. With this enculturation, security is viewed as a shared responsibility throughout the entire development lifecycle.
When it comes to developing secure web apps, it’s not about building an app but ensuring secure and quality code. Most developers work on web apps by pairing with security professionals who later test the code. Due to the lack of proper security education, some devs do not understand the code’s implications.
The security threat landscape must be understood, as well as potential application vulnerabilities, as well as responsibilities for maintaining security. Educating all your devs takes time and effort, but the investment pays off.
Backup All Your Site Information
Data breaches are prevalent, and hackers are getting better and more innovative. Even though you have to follow security best practices, you cannot prevent all attacks and data breaches. Therefore, it’s crucial to back up all your web app data.
A good backup strategy is to perform sequential and incremental backups to secure your web app. If you can, it’s best to have an off-site backup, which is the most secure option.
Cyber security toolkits should include cloud backup services. With a cloud backup, you can recover any data you need, even if your data becomes encrypted and unreadable due to a virus.
Consider a backup service’s security policies as well. When working with cloud providers, ensure that they offer end-to-end encryption, rendering your data inaccessible to prying eyes. Ensure that your data center’s physical security is up to scratch.
Maximize System Encryption
When building a secure web app, don’t skip the encryption part. Encryption is crucial to protect your data, and most tools are readily available and easy to implement. When you encrypt your application data, you increase the security of your web application. However, encrypting your data does not solve all the problems. You need to encrypt your databases, as well as user credentials.
Take special care if sensitive information is included in the data when it is in transit and at rest. Use HTTPS whenever possible and do not allow HTTP access. Choose the right domain to associate your app.
The best encryption process to use is well known instead of having to devise your own. Utilize hashing techniques, along with encryption to ensure that data is secure. Encrypting databases and user credentials is especially important because hackers can use the stolen credentials to access any targeted web application.
Even if your web app is breached, encrypted data is impossible to read. Therefore, encrypted data cannot be leaked to cybercriminals, allowing you to avoid a data breach situation.
Secure API Authentication
Web APIs have become an integral part of any web app. While many developers focus on building APIs, they overlook security. As a result, APIs become vulnerable and expose data. Insecure API authentication methods can lead to harmful situations, such as unauthorized data access.
API authentication and authorization are basic security requirements for any API. However, many developers do not follow these best practices, which results in weak security. So, how can you secure your APIs?
Every web API should use TLS (Transport Layer Security). TLS encrypts the information your API sends during transit.
Those incoming API credentials and private data could be intercepted and read by a third party without SSL. This compromises the security of any authentication measures you install.
Integration with existing single sign-on providers (SSO) can be done using OAuth2. The SSO process allows you to access a resource by verifying your users with a trusted third party.
Use Exception Management
While developing secure web apps, it is essential not to overlook exceptions. Many developers do not configure exception handling properly or use generic error handling (e.g., logging exceptions).
These issues can lead to unexpected and harmful results. Based on the type of error, exceptions can trigger several security controls. For example, a null pointer exception can trigger a security measure by restricting access to a certain resource.
The security management should determine whether or not to grant the exception. Alternative mitigation measures should also be implemented if an exception is granted. These mitigation measures may be administrative, physical, or technical, or maybe a combination of them.
If an employee is granted an exception, they should be held accountable for adhering to any other mitigating measures, and sanctions for failure to comply should be consistently applied.
When developing secure web apps, you can’t rely on security products alone. Security must be part of the development lifecycle, and it needs to be treated as such. To make security inclusive, security professionals should educate developers about security requirements.
Security and development professionals should work closely to avoid common security issues and data breaches. The security lifecycle needs to be managed to enable devs to code securely.
Web application security is vital for any developer. It requires security professionals to work closely with devs to ensure that best practices are applied. When developers understand the security implications of their actions, they can make informed choices.