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Hong Kong will see automation at forefront of application security

A recent report noted that despite the increase in cyberattacks on companies in Hong Kong, many of the city’s firms still rely on rudimentary technology like firewalls and antivirus software.

It was suggested that these companies include threat intelligence and detection technology in their information security infrastructure; many companies do not have total visibility across all their applications thereby contributing to the lack of application security protection in their organisation.

These companies have low readiness in security risk assessment; they lack technology and process controls; and, not only is cybersecurity talent is thin on the ground, the ones we have are short on cybersecurity training around using threat detection technologies like threat hunting, forensics and cyber threat intelligence, the managing director noted.

An expert underscored the need for regular training to keep cybersecurity professionals up to date.

It was also noted that human capital is essential for securing applications. Thus, companies should invest in training their employees in appropriate security measures; to supplement their cybersecurity capabilities, companies should work with reliable technology partners who can offer well-rounded security solutions.

New apps appear with such velocity and are also becoming a critical element of companies’ engagement with customers. Thus, companies tend to trade off security to meet time to market.

In “The State of Application Security 2018” report, analysts made the same observation.

The report noted that security pros struggle to adapt to speedy releases. Open source vulnerabilities continue to plague enterprises as developers rely more on these building blocks to help speed development and delivery.

The study stated that web applications continue to show vulnerability to attacks such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting, with little relief in sight. The challenge is that development teams are buried under mountains of requirements to make apps more user-friendly and engaging within a shrinking period of time, which leaves essentially no room to strengthen and assure application security.

Unfortunately, the size of a company size does not protect it from web application attacks.

It was noted in the report that the challenges of application security vary greatly by industry.

Retail and wholesale companies are bracing for malicious bots. Bot management is not just for preventing large-scale DDoS campaigns; they can also perform business-disrupting actions such as inventory hoarding and web content scraping.

Meanwhile, utilities and telecoms are trying to shore up open source security and prevention technologies; and financial services firms are facing regulatory pressure and falling back on penetration services for compliance, the report said.

A forecast analysis of the worldwide information security market said that by 2019, more than 50% of enterprise DevOps initiatives will have incorporated application security testing for custom code, an increase from fewer than 10% in 2018.

The analysts of the aforementioned study predict that the application security market will exceed US$7.1 billion by 2023, a 16.4% compound growth rate from 2017. Global spending on application security is expected to more than double in the next five years.

In its forecast, it was predicted that the explosive growth of the application security market will be spurred primarily by increased spending on automated security scanning tools.

Companies will prioritize their efforts to reduce the number of security weaknesses and vulnerabilities in their application over-relying on runtime protection tools to prevent external application attacks.

In 2017, Forrester reported that security scanning tools accounted for 60% of the overall application security market.

It was noted that the latest advancements help companies integrate scanning tools into the software delivery lifecycle to the software delivery lifecycle to take advantage of continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) automation, which gives developers early, actionable data with every application release.

The study listed the security scanning tools to include dynamic application security testing (DAST), interactive application security testing (IAST), software composition analysis (SCA) and static application security testing (SAST) tools.

Over the next five years, scanning technologies will become more integrated into the CI/CD pipeline and will create remediation advice that developers trust, eventually even implementing fixes automatically.

Runtime protection tools will take the same leaps from manual rule modification, to rule change suggestions, and finally to automatic rule implementations.

This change will allow application security pros to morph from a task-driven role to a predominantly governance role to monitor for applications outliers that are not following predefined security scanning and runtime protection.

Thus, allowing application security resources to become security designers that help develop customer experiences that are enhanced by security.

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