The cloud is an amazing thing. People can now store and access incredible amounts of information simply by tapping a few buttons on a screen. Cloud-based applications also open up a new world of threats for both individuals and enterprises. As evidenced by recent large-scale attacks on cloud-based data farms, all that information stored up in the cloud is definitely ripe for the picking from the viewpoint of cyber criminals. Hackers are committed to exploiting the potential flaws and weak points that are being found in many cloud-based applications and platforms. The complexity of cloud-based applications and the availability of data makes it hard for developers to cover every base when it comes to keeping information protected. The good news is that there are tools and processes that can make it easier to create applications that are more secure.
Planning Is Everything in the Cloud
It takes a very strong and organized strategy to deploy an application that you can be confident about. The secure systems development life cycle (SSDLC) process is one of the most solid ways of ensuring that everything is covered because it can be used for combinations of hardware and software. The clearly defined work phases of the cycle allow engineers and designers to create something that works like an assembly line. The result is accuracy, precision and real-time detection of issues. The cycle consists of the following steps:
- Establishment of requirements
Developers should also make a point to pay attention to the OWASP Top 10 list that is published by the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP). This list ranks the 10 most critical (and common) security risks that web applications face. The list is created by taking the opinions and findings of the world’s leading security experts into account. Risk levels are determined by attack frequency, scope and impact. It goes without saying that this is a must-have resource for anyone who operates in the world of application development.
Security Matters at Every Phase
The importance of designing applications with security in mind from the very first step cannot be overstated. Applications with unseen security flaws are almost certain to result in a security breach when those flaws are exposed by hackers. A developer or development company can lose credibility and become legally responsible if security flaws of a vulnerable application put user’s personal information at risk. However, even solid applications can become breached by malicious hackers or common viruses after they are introduced to the marketplace. Some estimates show that as many as 80% of the top free apps have been compromised. A developer’s job is truly never done when it comes to keeping a cloud-based application secure for the duration of its existence. Regular security assessments are critical. Of course, not every developer has the time or resources to personally vet every application they have released for consumption. This is why using a third-party security firm to provide security assessments and tools is so important. The best way to truly test the integrity of an application is to hire a cyber security firm that specializes in application security to conduct a controlled simulated hacking attempt and identify weak points. The trained security engineers can actually perform a penetration test that relies on the same set of skills and resources today’s hackers use when attempting to infiltrate cloud-based applications. Penetration testing from a security firm allows you to see and address the damage that can be done in real time without letting the bad guys in. Because they are coordinating the testing, it will minimize downtime and service gaps. Keeping information safe should be one of the highest priorities in the finalized product presented to the public. Keeping up with security measures regularly will help ensure long term success.