There are three questions that come to mind when talking about security testing. When, where and why. Fundamentally, what is the need for security testing, where does this fit in our SDLC and STLC cycle? And how should we do it?
This blog only pertains to the “why” aspect of security testing. The “when” and “where” will be covered in the next blog of this series.
Why do we need Security?
This is not related only to security testing, the caveat is to know why do we need security on our applications at all? Let me explain this in detail.
One of the things that we need to be aware of in security, in general, this is the core or root of all security, is the C, I, A principle. The three main pillars of security are:
1. C – Confidentiality
2. I – Integrity
3. A – Availability
Of course, there are other pillars too, authentication and authorization are some examples of those. However, everything comes back down to these three primary pillars, C, I and A. So what does this mean?
Three Primary pillars of security.
Let me give a brief overview of these.
- Confidentiality – Information is only available to those who have access to it. We do so by many practices, for example, encryption.
- Integrity – Here, we want to make sure that the data is correct and can be trusted. We can achieve this though, hashing or by having checks on digital signatures.
- Availability – As the name suggests, availability means that the information is available when it is needed by a legitimate user.
I’ll try to explain it through a hypothetical example in order to explain why and to what extent should we have security in place.
Suppose we want to launch a rocket/projectile into outer space. We want to make sure that we are providing the right amount of control in order to assure a successful launch.
Moving on, we need to list down the assets that belong to the rocket.
- The rocket/Projectile itself is an asset.
- Food, water, fuel, and cargo are also some other assets.
Let’s try to list the vulnerabilities that can impact this launch.
- There could be a weak heat shield.
- Faulty equipment.
- There are also other factors that may impact the projectile, space debris and weather are some examples of those.
So how can we overcome these obstacles and ensure a safe and successful launch?
We can do a lot to mitigate this, we can have a new layer of heat shield, standard and correct equipment which are more durable. However, this might lead to a heavier projectile. Thus, consuming more fuel and in turn, reducing the space for cargo.
The concept here to explain all this is to make sure that mitigation in the security around our asset is actually in line with the actual value of the asset or not.
We also, need to make sure that we are not compromising the assets further by creating a more complicated mitigation strategy. Hence, in conclusion, a lot can be done in order to have better security but it is pivotal to determine the extent of it. I hope I was able to impart what I was trying to advocate for.
Need of Security testing?
We now know, why security is required. For the same reason, we need security testing. To check if the current security policy is leaving any vulnerabilities out.
Security testing plays a crucial role in safeguarding businesses and their customers from potential threats and vulnerabilities. In today’s interconnected world, where cyber-attacks and data breaches have become increasingly common, it is imperative for organizations to prioritize security testing as an integral part of their overall security strategy.
I’ve tried to muster up all the primary reasons which signify the vitality of security testing.
Reasons for conducting Security testing
- Identifying Vulnerabilities: Security testing helps in identifying vulnerabilities and weaknesses in software applications. Having real-world attack scenarios simulated, security testing gives the organizations an edge to uncover potential entry points for malicious actors and take appropriate measures to address them before they can be exploited.
- Protecting Customer Data: Businesses collect and store a vast amount of customer data, ranging from personal information to financial details. Security testing helps in ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of this sensitive data by identifying vulnerabilities that could lead to unauthorized access. By protecting customer data, businesses can enhance customer trust, maintain their reputation, and comply with relevant data protection regulations.
- Safeguarding Intellectual Property: Organizations often have information, trade secrets, and intellectual property that are critical to their competitive advantage. Security testing helps in securing these valuable assets by identifying vulnerabilities that could potentially lead to unauthorized access. By protecting their intellectual property, businesses can prevent market edge or loss.
- Meeting Compliance Requirements: Many organisations have regulatory frameworks and standards in place to ensure the security and privacy of customer data. Security testing helps organizations meet these compliance requirements by identifying vulnerabilities that could violate regulations. By conducting regular security testing, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to maintaining a secure environment.
As a result, security testing is essential for identifying vulnerabilities in today’s digital world. By investing in robust security testing practices, businesses can fortify their defences and reduce the risk of cyber threats, ultimately safeguarding their reputation and building trust with their customers.
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