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Cloud Application Security Shouldn’t be Up in the Air

The WhiteHat Security team is seeing a massive shift towards cloud adoption largely driven by organizations looking to reduce cost, mitigate risk, and to allow them to scale quickly and be agile with their resources. Large organizations with millions of users have now joined the bandwagon and adapting to this approach.Microsoft Office 365, Dropbox and Google G Suite, for example, are now available in the cloud to enable faster time to market, seamless on-boarding, resource savings, and ease of use, and to support the growing remote workforce for their customers. Additionally, smaller companies with smaller budgets are starting to see the value in this approach and doing the same.

Just 3-4 years ago, companies shuddered at the thought of deploying apps this way. Now, according to a joint study from Virtustream and Forrester, 60 percent of enterprises are now moving or have already moved their mission-critical apps to the public cloud. Also, in the same study, a whopping 86 percent of respondents see their cloud strategy as “multi-cloud,” enabling their business with a truly cloud agnostic infrastructure.

But as with most new and exciting technologies, the focus has heavily been on performance while security remains an afterthought, especially for the up and coming companies with tighter resources and budgets.

A few well-known breaches of cloud applications include the 2016 Dropbox compromise, which leaked 68 million account users’ data, and just recently, Microsoft notified its customers of an email breach across Outlook, MSN and Hotmail accounts, due to hackers using a set of stolen credentials from Microsoft customer support, exposing account holders’ personal data.

So, what are some of the key risks to consider when building or deploying an application in the cloud? Being aware of these dangers can help prepare your company to avoid breaches like these and more diligently protect your customers’ information.

Cloud applications are most effective using APIs. These are, essentially, a grouping of routines, protocols and tools for building applications that specify how software components should interact. But APIs are turning out to be a double-edged sword when it comes to scaling B2B connectivity and security at a massive level. APIs, when insecure, break down the very premise of connectivity they have helped establish by compromising the entire application.

Another prevalent risk presented by cloud applications is that developers are increasingly utilizing existing software components from third-party open source libraries. According to WhiteHat’s 2018 Application Security Statistics Report, up to 70 percent of applications are now comprised of these reusable third-party software components. This is likely because these readily available off-the-shelf application code libraries include powerful feature components that developers can plug directly into their applications. This greatly speeds up the development cycle and their ability to meet tight deadlines.

But many of these components are known to contain security vulnerabilities. And like a contagious illness, every time one of these components is reused, any vulnerability it contains is also replicated. They can even serve as an open door for hackers to exploit the application and steal customer data— or gain a foothold to gather corporate information.

With the shift towards DevOps and CloudOps, developers are responsible for writing and testing secure cloud applications. Companies must provide their developers with the right technology, a comprehensive, cloud-enabled application security platform, which covers the entire SLC, as more business-critical applications are developed and operated in the cloud. Companies building their apps in a cloud environment should select an application security technology prior to beginning the development process.

WhiteHat is a leader in the application security space with a mission to secure applications that run an enterprise’s business. WhiteHat Sentinel is the most comprehensive cloud-based application security testing platform. Itenables businesses to build the most secure applications by offering a broad portfolio of products for complete coverage across various stages of the SLC.


 WhiteHat‘s cloud application security offerings include products that help embed security in every phase of the SLC – all the way from design to QA to production.

If you’re looking to launch a new application security program, use the WhiteHat Security eLearning platform to educate and enable your teams on application security. Sign up for developer training courses designed for building secure applications and meeting key industry requirements regarding compliance.

As for product options, businesses can now fast track their application development by using Software Composition Analysis (SCA), which identifies third-party reusable components in applications and detects any vulnerabilities present in their code.

WhiteHat Sentinel Static Application Security Testing (SAST) provides comprehensive coverage to secure the development, build and release phases of the SLC. It is a high-speed service that scans your entire source code, quickly identifies the vulnerabilities and provides detailed vulnerability descriptions and remediation advice.

Offered as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform, WhiteHat Sentinel Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) provides web application security for the modern and traditional web frameworks and applications. It allows you to scan web applications and get dynamic analysis for your production websites.

Mobile applications have seen massive growth in the past few years, and that trend will continue in coming years as well. WhiteHat Sentinel Mobile Application Security Testing (MAST) provides complete mobile application coverage from development to launch and during live operation.

When using WhiteHat Cloud offerings, your company can scale and adapt quickly to changing business needs; driving innovations to market faster without compromising security.

We hope this overview was helpful. If you can take one thing away from this post, it should be that implementing security for your entire DevOps lifecycle is key in securing your cloud applications.


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