4 July, 2019
What is cloud-based application security testing?
In the last decade, cloud computing has completely changed how IT services are delivered. Low maintenance costs and easy-to-set up have been two major factors leading to global adoption of cloud-based services; though security continues to be a hurdle. Cloud security testing has emerged as a new service model wherein security-as-a-service providers perform on-demand application testing exercises in the cloud. This essentially allows an organization to save costs, while at the same time, maintaining a secure application.
With the number of applications being developed, increasing exponentially at minimum time-to-market, application testing is slowly growing in its significance. In traditional software development models, one could ignore security testing altogether or consider it as the last phase, but the same is not the case with the modern-day applications. At present, applications are easily accessible for genuine users as well as the attackers. Hence, an organization requires a robust application strategy to minimize the chances of an attack and maximize the level of security. An ideal application penetration testing activity should also consider relevant hardware, software, and procedures supporting the application in the background.
It is a realistic possibility that an organization’s all the applications are hosted on the cloud. In such a scenario, the security team faces challenges such as ensuring accessibility of the applications, exploring scalability, and analyzing the feasibility of hosting the testing tools on the cloud for testing cloud-based applications. However, the last challenge can be effectively addressed by using a cloud-based testing like BreachLock Cloud Platform.
With the popularity of CI/CD environment and DevOps, the decision-makers are not only focusing on the application security, but also the time is taken to perform the tests. It is considered that cloud-based application security can address time-related constraints, while at the same time, making testing hassle-free and flawless.
<2>Key Factors for Cloud-based Security Assessment
When you opt for conducting cloud-based application penetration testing, there are two possible ways which can be explored by an organization – hiring a vendor’s service or building in–house facility. If you plan on building internal capabilities for cloud-based security assessments, there are multiple challenges that you need to address and set the baselines for building distributed computing capabilities, standardization of processes and procedures, ensuring the security of applications hosted on the cloud, accessibility of the data stored in the cloud, and many more. For small and medium-sized businesses, hiring a vendor service is deemed to be cost-effective. Irrespective of whether you are building in-house capability, or hiring an external vendor, here are a few factors that you might consider while considering cloud-based application testing –
Figure 1: Cloud-based Application Security Testing Key Factors
- Speed: Cloud-based application testing must increase the turnaround time for a security testing exercise. A cloud-based security testing tool should also be capable of running parallel scans on multiple locations.
- Scalability: The cloud-based application penetration testing tool must be scalable, and hence, it should be able to cater to the organizational needs, irrespective of whether the tool is built in–house or by a vendor.
- Accessibility: The cloud-based testing tool must be available all the times from multiple locations so that if there are teams who are working at multiple locations, they can easily coordinate, and the speed of development is not hampered. The tool must have a centralized dashboard so that the teams can collaborate seamlessly in the security testing process.
- Cost-effective: For any organization, the cost-effectiveness of a process is the desired outcome. Hence, the cloud-based application penetration testing tool must be able to decrease testing costs and bring a higher return on investments (RoI) for the business.
- Quality: The results given by cloud-based application testing tool must be precise so that they can be interpreted easily for performing appropriate scans in the future, contextual reporting, and resolving issues, tracking bugs and vulnerabilities, use test cases, along with many parameters.
- Minimum Risk: The primary goal behind any information security-related activity is to minimize the risks and prevent threats and vulnerabilities from being realized by the attackers. Hence, an organization must define parameters related to risks to ensure that nothing is missed, and all the risks are listed and covered under the testing strategy.