Automated Web Application Security

It is a popular belief that automated web application security scanners are not good enough. We even find some IT security professionals saying that they are not a crucial role in strengthening the overall security posture.

True! Automated web application security scanners are not equipped to find all kinds of web vulnerabilities, especially logical ones. It is also true that automated web scanners cannot protect the application by themselves. 

Despite these drawbacks, automated security scanners are critical to effective vulnerability management. They are a crucial part of a comprehensive web application security solution.

In this article, we will explore why automated web application security scanners are so critical for businesses. 

What Vulnerabilities Do Automated Web Application Security Scanners Detect? 

The top automated web vulnerability scanners detect all known vulnerabilities. The most common and widely used technical vulnerabilities, including the OWASP Top 10 web vulnerabilities are detected by automated scanners.

For instance, SQL injections, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities, security misconfigurations, invalidated inputs, and so on. 

Intelligent scanners like the one offered by AppTrana are also equipped to detect emerging threats owing to their ability to learn and update themselves automatically.

Only logical vulnerabilities and zero-day vulnerabilities are not identified by automated web vulnerability scanners. 

When we look at the security data year after year, it becomes quite clear that some of the most exploited vulnerabilities are SQL injections, XSS vulnerabilities, broken authentication (expired passwords, weak passwords, etc.), storing sensitive data in unencrypted databases, and so on.

All of these web vulnerabilities can be identified by automated security scanners. They do not need the expertise of IT security teams. 

Why Must Businesses Leverage Automated Web Vulnerability Scanners? 

Achieve Greater Accuracy and Coverage at A Fraction of The Time, Effort, and Cost 

In comparison to manual testing and manual scanning, automated security scanners ensure much higher accuracy and coverage. The risks of omission and human errors are high when IT security professionals conducts the same tests repeatedly. With automation, you can program the tool with the rules, tune it regularly, and rest assured of greater precision and accuracy in scanning. 

It is simply not possible for manual testers to scan the ever-growing attack surface and cover the endless test cases owing to time and budgetary constraints. Typically, manual tests are limited to high-priority and critical vulnerabilities and assets. 

With cloud web security scanners that leverage automation, you can check all endpoints, parameters, systems, and networks. You can analyze multiple security variants and payloads with a single test. You can keep increasing the coverage as new endpoints or assets get included in your IT architecture. 

All this at a fraction of the cost, time, and effort required to conduct manual tests and scanning as you do not have to increase the size of your IT security team as your business and/or infrastructure scales up. 

Free Up Your Testing Team’s Time and Effort 

Monotony and repetitive work kill productivity. Web vulnerability scanning involves a significant amount of repetition. By leveraging automation for web vulnerability scanning, you can free up your testing team from drudgery. You can empower them to focus on perfecting the application. 

Usher Agility into Web Application Security 

Consider this situation. Business A leverages automated security scanning and Business B relies fully on manual scanning and testing. Business A performs its scanning quickly on an everyday basis.

So, it can identify gaps in security and release quick updates to the application every week. They tune the scanner continuously to add new attack vectors and vulnerabilities.

They essentially receive an everyday reality check concerning application security. So, they can achieve agility in web application security. 

Business B accumulates inaccuracies, unidentified misconfigurations, and security gaps after each test.

They accumulate higher risks of cyber-attacks as a result. If the application is successfully hacked, then the business will face heavy financial and reputational damage. 

Easier to Iterate 

Automated web application security scanners work best when they are regularly tuned to include new vulnerabilities and additions to the attack surface.

With cloud-based web security scanners like AppTrana, new areas to crawl are automatically added based on results of pen-tests, WAF insights, and security analytics.

New vulnerabilities and threat vectors are added automatically based on Global Threat Intelligence and the learning capability of the scanner itself.  

Conclusion 

You cannot and must not aim for the removal of the human element from the security testing altogether. Remember that nothing can replace human intelligence and intuition.

But manually scanning hundreds for vulnerabilities across your growing IT infrastructure with the same accuracy every day is a rather unrealistic proposition. 

By leveraging an automated web application security scanner, you can achieve scale, accuracy, speed, and agility in web application security effortlessly.

Back it up with an intuitive Web Application Firewall (WAF) and the trusted expertise of certified security professionals like AppTrana to steer ahead of attackers. This way, you can focus on your core business, undeterred by concerns of application security

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