11 Web Application Security Best Practices to Follow
We have been using different web apps to carry out various tasks. With this, we are sharing sensitive information across various online channels. Hackers take advantage of this situation and perform different attacks to gather sensitive information.
Therefore, it is essential to protect web applications from these attacks.
Web application security is referred to as a method of securing web servers, web applications, and web services like APIs from attacks. In other words, it is an action of locating, resolving, and eliminating vulnerabilities that cause attacks on web applications from hackers.
Here, we have researched and curated some of the best web application security practices to protect any web application. Before we look into that, we will look at the importance of web application security.
Why Should You Give Importance to Web Application Security?
Attacks can happen on a web application that belongs to any industry like healthcare, technology, eCommerce, etc. Here are some statistics that prove that an attack can happen anytime.
According to a report by NIT application security, 50% of sites were vulnerable to at least one vulnerability.
As per a new report by Global Threat Analysis, malicious web application attacks have reached 88% in 2022.
Moreover, hackers attack web applications using different methods. By doing this, they gain access to the data of millions of people. Therefore, you should consider web application security to protect your web application.
Here are some reasons you should consider web application security.
- To prevent the loss of any susceptive data.
- To retain business reputation and reduce losses that can happen due to attacks.
- Protect your data from hackers and cybercriminals
11 Web Application Security Best Practices
Here are web application security best practices you should follow to protect any web application.
1. Encrypt Your Web App Data
Encrypting the data is one of the oldest yet well-known practices to secure a web application. To achieve this, you need to encrypt all the sensitive data in the web application. The data include passwords, credit card details, passphrases, demographics, personal details, etc.
Here, one needs to encrypt data-at-rest as well as the data in transit. By doing this, the data will only be accessible by users with proper permissions.
Apart from protecting these data, you should ensure that a web application is up-to-date with the latest SSL certificate. A web application should also be HTTPS secure.
Lastly, you should ensure that all the user IDs and passwords should be encrypted using the best hashing algorithms. It helps you to protect web application data efficiently.
2. Implement Real-time Security Tracking
Tracking security of your web app is yet another web application security best practice. Doing a security audit helps you to discover & remove vulnerabilities in the web application. However, you require continuous monitoring to protect your web application. For the same, you can consider a web application firewall (WAF).
A web application firewall (WAF) has all the things needed for real-time tracking of web application security. It prevents your web application from some vulnerabilities like:
- SQL injections
- XSS attacks
- Bots that are trying to initiate DDoS attack
At times, web application security provides errors that don’t exist, and web application security might get compromised.
If you want to protect your web app, one best practice is to combine two security measures. It could be WAF with vulnerability scanner or any other tool.
3. Carry Out a Threat Assessment
Threat assessment is an essential point in the web app security checklist. In order to protect any web application, it’s crucial to identify the potential threats.
First, you need to identify the total number of threats in your web application to curb them. Carry out some of the steps given below to identify threats.
- Think about all the possible paths an attacker can utilize to hack the web application.
- List out all the security measures that you have taken against it.
- What kind of tools you will require to protect your web app against threats.
A thorough assessment will help you integrate the best security measures into your web application. However, combining all these things in the web application doesn’t guarantee the complete protection of the web app.
4. Avoid Security Misconfigurations
With the help of a structured build and deploy process, you can integrate various things in the web application efficiently. Also, you can test all these things before deploying them. Moreover, it will help to prevent you from multiple attacks.
5. Consider Automation for Managing Web App Attacks
Automation is one of the best web application security solutions to manage & resolve attacks.
Developers have become extremely careful about vulnerability management. Developers take the utmost care while working on the web application by implementing the best security practices. Despite this, there is no guarantee that your web application will protect you from any attacks.
An organization should integrate an automatic tool such as a web application security scanner. The scanner detects all the attacks at an early stage, decreases the possibility of human errors, and resolves all things effectively.
6. Define and Adopt a Cybersecurity Framework
A cybersecurity framework consists of many documents or guidelines necessary for an organization to protect its security.
Here, an organization has an exclusive right to set up its own security controls, risk assessment methods and defend the data from attacks. Hence, it is recommended for organizations to adopt a customized cybersecurity framework.
Even though big organizations heavily adopt the cybersecurity framework, small & medium scale companies can also choose several suitable policies.
7. Have a Close Look on Web App During Patching
Patching a web application is very important from time to time. If you neglect these things in the web application, it can become vulnerable to bugs, attacks, etc.
However, while patching the web application or any third-party libraries, it is essential to observe the process carefully. Why?
If you don’t take care of the patching, it might result in some serious vulnerabilities in your web application. To resolve vulnerabilities related to patching, you can post vulnerability details in security advisories or forums, which can further help you resolve the web application.
8. Conduct Extensive Quality Assurance & Testing
One of the best web application security practices is to conduct extensive quality assurance and testing.
Here, it is essential to carry out an appropriate manual testing process of the web application. However, adding another layer of security in the web application will help you identify any loopholes in the process.
Moreover, the quality assurance and testing will allow you to enhance user experience, prevent attacks, and improve the brand’s image.
9. Update Dependencies Regularly
Keeping your libraries and tools updated in the digital era would be highly beneficial. If you fail to do so, then you might face various security vulnerabilities in the web application. You might also face issues regarding security, performance, etc.
Therefore, it is imperative to update the dependencies to the latest version. It protects a web application from many vulnerabilities, enhances performance, reduces maintenance tasks, etc.
10. Prioritize Vulnerabilities in Web App
One yet another essential web app security best practice is to prioritize vulnerabilities. Whether you have a single web app or multiple web apps, they will contain web app vulnerabilities.
You can identify vulnerabilities that you need to eliminate and leave the rest by prioritizing them.
Primarily there are five ways through which you can prioritize the vulnerabilities.
1. Severity: It means emphasizing the critical and high severity vulnerabilities depending on the CVSS(Common Vulnerability Scoring System) rating.
2. Application Type: Address web applications with sensitive data first.
3. Popularity: Based on the popularity of the vulnerability among the hackers, one can prioritize the vulnerabilities.
4. Disclosure Date: Some organizations aren’t able to continuously look after a wide range of vulnerabilities. That’s why they set a date to start resolving the vulnerabilities.
5. Ease of Remediation: One can prioritize the vulnerabilities and resolve them based on the level of correction required.
By utilizing the most suitable method and focusing on the handful of vulnerabilities, you can resolve them instantly and save time.
11. Utilize Cookies Securely
Utilization of cookies is yet another best practice for securing a web application. Cookies are adopted by businesses and users worldwide.
Cookies are essential to identify users’ needs and provide a better experience. Moreover, they help you provide a faster as well as a personalized experience to the users.
If the cookies are exposed or compromised, hackers can pretend to be another person and gain privileges in a web application.
To protect the user’s data, you should consider some essential things. Firstly, you should never store any kind of sensitive data of the users in cookies.
Secondly, you should decide on a fixed date of expiration for the cookies. Lastly, always encrypt all the cookies of the users.
By implementing cookies in this manner, you can increase web application security.
Here we conclude our in-depth guide on web application security. You must have understood the importance of web application security and the best practices to remove threats in a web application.
If you have decided to create a highly secure web application, feel free to contact us.
Guru TechnoLabs is a leading web application development company. We implement best practices to create web applications for clients worldwide. Hence, we can understand your idea and deliver the web application with utmost security.