Software applications have become an essential part of how businesses improve internal productivity and launch their services to customers. But these days, software development is about much more than the initial launch.

Instead, each of the tens (sometimes even hundreds, if not more) of applications a business uses needs to be constantly checked at every stage of the software development life cycle (SDLC), to make sure it can withstand malicious attacks.

That’s where software security testing comes in.

What is application security?

Application security relates to the measures a developer puts in place to stop attacks from being effective, or data being stolen by those with malicious intent – notably hackers participating in ransomware schemes and similar.

Why is application security testing important?

Application security testing is important because, to put it simply, threats are everywhere. Software security testing lets a developer gain a thorough understanding of the vulnerabilities inherent in an application’s construction and find ways to address it – before those vulnerabilities can be taken advantage of.

Importantly, in modern software development, application security should be a consideration at every stage of the SDLC– from creating the initial development roadmap, to ongoing post-launch support and patched-in updates that negate threats.

Making software security testing an integral part of the development journey carries many customer and business benefits. The following are five of the biggest.

1. Protects your business from attacks and dangerous data leaks

As mentioned above, this is first and foremost the biggest reason why application security testing just makes sense. Many developers will claim to work with secure code, but the only way they know for sure that it’s as secure as possible is to test for security vulnerabilities as the project progresses.

There’s also the fact that after release, ongoing software security testing ensures new threats don’t become an issue. Essentially, whether you’re working on a new bespoke project or maintaining software that launched a good while ago, application security testing is important for keeping your company safe from the dangers of organised hacker groups.

2. Saves time and money – especially when implemented early

Our second reason why you should security test your applications is that, while you might think adding extra actions would slow things down, it can actually significantly speed up the software development process

When software security testing isn’t factored in alongside development, vulnerabilities can become apparent at the end of the dev cycle or even after launch. This can necessitate either an extension to the launch deadline, or a rushed patch release to solve a problem that might have been caught so much earlier as a natural part of the design process. All of this takes time, and because time is money, not testing for security can actually increase project costs unnecessarily. Implementing security testing early in the development process can help address any issues early, saving valuable time and money in the process.

3. Produces a superior product with fewer vulnerabilities

As well as saving time and money, software security testing earlier in the development cycle also gives more time for testers to expose vulnerabilities in an application and subsequently address them as the build progresses. The result is a thoroughly tested, end product that’s fit for market on day one. Further patches can then follow the same rigorous approach to maintain the security of your app.

4. Enhances your business reputation – and lowers chances of it being damaged

Well-made products in any industry have a habit of generating a word of mouth that boosts brand performance. That’s just as true when your software applications match the performance your customers have come to expect. When they don’t, it can actually be quite damaging to your brand, with a poorly performing app or bug-filled website proving a point of frustration. The same can also be true when employees have to use sub-standard software, which can impact productivity, morale, and company ratings on sites like Glassdoor.

And that’s just one example of why application security testing is important. The impact of actual hacks and data leaks can be even more damaging. With companies like Amazon fined hundreds of millions for failing to sufficiently protect customer data, you’ll want to be sure every application connected with your company is as secure as possible.

5. Helps with compliance, whatever industry you’re in

Our final reason why application security testing just makes sense is that it helps to create software that complies strictly to the standards of whatever industry you happen to operate in.

For instance, the financial and investment fields demand rigorous checks, particularly for things like loan and insurance applications. Data leaks in that industry can therefore compromise individuals, exposing them to blackmail attempts, or even the funding opportunities of entire businesses, which can potentially affects everyone they employ. Another compelling reason why you should security test your applications as thoroughly and early as possible during the software development journey.

Keeping your applications secure

Making sense of security testing isn’t easy if you aren’t enormously technically minded, or your team doesn’t have the requisite experience in-house to do a rigorous job across the full length and breadth of the SDLC. That’s where we come in.

At DCSL GuideSmiths, we offer Application Security Services built in to our software development process, and can also take software not created by us and offer thorough Application Security Services to keep your business secure.

To learn more, visit our application security testing services page or get in touch today for a more in-depth conversation.