A Guide To Web App Security In 2023 | 5 Best Practices

Security is one of the biggest threats modern companies face that strive for faster software delivery and better user experience.

While security makes users feel safer when using applications and websites, it is also essential for organizations to ensure best security practices since it can cost them millions in case of a successful attack. 

It is also vital to note that there is a growing security concern due to digitalization and the usage of web apps.

The attack surface is also growing rapidly, so organizations have to start worrying about proper protection even more in 2023. 

While not all companies take security seriously, it is essential to know the best security practices to ensure your web app is protected in all possible ways.

Understanding Web Application Security (Web AppSec)

Web App security, also known as Web AppSec, is a software security paradigm that intrudes security controls to protect web applications, websites, as well as assets from potential and real cyber threats.

It requires developers to craft resilient apps that can withstand complex cybersecurity attacks. 

Like any piece of software, web apps usually have defects and bugs. This makes the software supply chain one of the key sources of such security risks, where engineers use open-source and third-party code having vulnerabilities. 

And these vulnerabilities can make your web app and servers open to various cyber threats.

Web apps are at risk since users must interact with the app network and servers, whether it would be emails or online shopping.

And in this case, any kind of vulnerability within the web app can be fatal if it is too easy to manipulate the software with malicious intent.

Even though testing web apps can protect from this kind of attack, testing alone won’t prevent these actions in all their forms.

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That is why it is crucial to implement strict security measures throughout the SDLC to make sure your developers address every flaw in the web application.

Encrypt Data

One of the best methods to ensure your web app is properly secured from Visitors and customers could share sensitive information on your website.

The information in transit between the server and the visitor’s browser has to be encrypted.

Encrypting all data in transit not only boosts customers’ loyalty and trust but also plays a crucial role in SEO ranking. It is a practice-proven fact that search engines like Google rank websites with SSL higher. 

Real-Time Security Monitoring

Regular security audits are crucial for any web application. However, those will not be enough without proper real-time monitoring.

That is why most modern organizations consider using open source WAF, which greatly helps block any malicious activity in real-time.

As web app firewalls allow companies to indicate false positive events or miss some threats, consider using ASMP or RASP.

Proper Logging Practices

If you want to have good insights about events happening within your web app, like what happened at a specific time or how events affected the current status of the app, you must consider establishing proper logging in place.

While this information is vital to occasionally check and monitor, it also plays a big role in case of a security incident.

When an accident happens, companies should check how and why, so they can avoid the same mistakes in the future.

So if your company doesn’t have proper logging in place, you will experience the same risks repeatedly.

In contrast, a proper logging mechanism in place will give you the power to analyze the cause and understand the bad actor in case of a data breach, so it will save you money and time.

Implement Security Hardening Measures

Even though some developers leave this point without checking, default settings are usually not enough for some components and will require hardening security measures, including:

Define Maximum Script Execution Time

It is vital to set the maximum time a chosen script will run on the server. The small period can help you reduce the possibility of attacks. Choose the maximum script execution time based on your web app use case.

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Disable Modules

If your web app has modules and extensions on the server, disable them.

Apply A Content Security Policy

A well-thought-out content security policy can help prevent issues like redirection malware.

Regular Vulnerability Scans And Updates

Based on the Forrester report, software security flaws accounted for attacks in about 47% of companies. Modern attackers can easily find web apps that run on vulnerable software.

That is why it is always best to stay ahead of hackers and perform regular vulnerability scans to identify weak spots in your web applications or websites before they hit production.

This can be done by implementing automated security testing into your CI/CD pipelines or by hiring experts in the field. 

For example, penetration testing is one of the most popular practices in the cybersecurity field.

It allows you to see how hackers can penetrate your web app security posture and what you can lose in case of a successful attack.

Pen testing uses the same methods and tools as hackers to imitate real attacks. Many other regular scans should be done regularly to ensure your web app is protected from unwanted access. 

Final Thoughts

Considering digitalisation and the increased use of mobile phones, the need for web app security is growing every day.

Ensuring your web application is protected is becoming a key goal for most businesses, especially those who have already faced attacks and lost money.

Web AppSec is an essential practice that involves various stages to protect web apps, websites, servers and databases.

You can automate security processes by using tools or by hiring an experienced team for regular monitoring and security scans.

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Jonathon Spire

Jonathon Spire

Tech Blogger at Jonathon Spire

My diverse background started with my computer science degree, and later progressed to building laptops and accessories. And now, for the last 7 years, I have been a social media marketing specialist and business growth consultant.

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Jonathon Spire

I blog about a range of tech topics.

For the last 7 years I have been a social media marketing specialist and business growth consultant, so I write about those the most.

Full transparency: I do review a lot of services and I try to do it as objectively as possible; I give honest feedback and only promote services I believe truly work (for which I may or may not receive a commission) – if you are a service owner and you think I have made a mistake then please let me know in the comments section.

– Jon