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Applications are the driving force of this new world economy; however, security teams are frustrated and overwhelmed as they struggle to keep up with the ever-increasing sophistication of attacks on applications. So, what does it mean to be in the driver’s seat as you develop and deliver modern applications, and how do you safely merge security into the fast lane of development cycles?

In a session of the NTT Application Security virtual series titled Security in the Fast Lane, we discussed how the recent acceleration in digital transformation has affected cybersecurity and how increasing complexities of securing applications in development, deployment, and operations are driving the need for teams to work more collaboratively to build a stronger DevSecOps culture. The panel was led by Setu Kulkarni, Vice President of Corporate Strategy at NTT Application Security, with Chris Leffel, our Vice President of Product Management, and guest panelist Rajeev Kozhikkattuthodi, Vice President of Product Management at TIBCO.

We got a good perspective from a development and security point of view as the panel discussion took on an interesting angle as to how teams can pave the road for secure applications. As the threat landscape around applications keeps changing, we can reduce the risk of being breached by testing applications in production. What if DevSecOps could start from production?

"I’d argue the most important aspect of DevSecOps is to incorporate the results of dynamic testing in production back into the operations of the business – whether you chose to mitigate the vulnerabilities or remediate the vulnerabilities or do both to avert any compromise to your apps in production," says Kulkarni.

Here are some key insights from the webinar:

The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation

The COVID-19 pandemic has fast-tracked the digital transformation of companies as the world accommodates remote work, online education, telehealth, online purchases, online banking and more.

Businesses are relying on apps for this digital transformation. And since applications are the gateways of all sorts of attacks, ensuring data security is a key challenge for every organization – large or small. So, how are the development and security teams stepping up their game to do more, faster, and with more accuracy, with pretty much the same resources they had before? The solution lies in automating security controls within DevOps to ensure the security and performance of all applications.

The importance of building a DevSecOps culture

Teams and functions need to collaborate on data and technology. There’s continuous pressure on development and operations as cloud architecture accelerates DevOps. To keep up, we need efficient automated delivery models from development to production. "Security tools need to rise to meet the speed demands of the modern development environment which are at very high velocity. To be responsive in that environment and provide good results is critical," said Leffel.

However, there are challenges and teams must realize that development operations and security need to move forward toward a common goal. Kulkarni said: "At the end of the day while we have a lot of inflection points within the SDLC, but we have one common goal – that’s putting the applications in production. If development, security professionals, and operations can get together, we can do more with less."

APIs are the drivers of unique customer experiences

Web and mobile are driving our experiences, and everything we do is application-driven. Users demand and prefer personalization, and this shift toward a unique customer experience is possible through APIs. Though APIs promise agility, personalization and connectivity between services, they’re also becoming the most vulnerable point of attack. As API architecture evolves, developers must fully understand what that means for API security.

Rajeev said: "The number of APIs will continue to increase, there’s probably a billion-dollar chain behind these APIs. API management solution is required to mitigate issues in production as soon as possible."

There’s no doubt that today and in years to come, API security will be a priority for businesses.

In the app-driven economy, organizations need to build continued customer trust, and it becomes even more critical to ensure a robust API security posture to eliminate the risk of being compromised.

"Start with what you have in production – from API, mobile or app perspective; start by automated scanning in production and take the learning back into the build process," recommended Leffel.


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