This article was originally published on this site

So much goes into developing a proper web application. One major element that often gets overlooked is security. It’s understandable. Between code development, app management, and visual design, web application security risks are often overlooked or not properly focused on.

Still, web application security how-to needs to be a major priority if you plan on going commercial with your app. Luckily, there are a million ways to improve web app security with ease. We found twelve ways to increase your app’s security that are the best of the best.

Let’s take a look!

1. Ask Professionals to “Attack” Your Application

What better way to get familiar with your own website’s security risks than to find them yourself? This is one of web application security’s best practices to stay on top of everything that is going on on your site. By understanding the techniques what attackers may use on your web app, you can effectively protect the entry points.

If you plan to do it yourself, it is important to make sure you don’t break anything with automated scans. Also, there can be issues when your hosting can ban your IP when attacking your site. Of course, any testing should be done in an isolated environment.

Check out easily if your web application is vulnerable. It’s free!

Try it free

Properly web application security testing involves learning more about the following:

  • SQL injection attacks
  • Cross-site scripting
  • Insecure deserialization
  • Broken authentication
  • Cross-site request forgery attacks
  • Sensitive data exposure

Hackers will eventually find these vulnerabilities. Beat them to it.

2. Follow and Study Web Application Security Blogs

If you have a relatively small team or work in app development alone, you’re going to need to brush up on security tactics. You’re already reading this, so you’re definitely doing the right thing already! Still, explore different reputable web application security blogs to learn more as the industry and app technology changes. 

Application Security How-To Articles

Hackers bank on being one step ahead of you and your team. The best way to combat vulnerabilities is to be on top of the basics as well as new insecurities that pop up through time.

3. Keep Track of Changes That Could Cause Vulnerabilities

Take notes of each and every application, database, and plugin you have integrated into your web application. Have you made it a habit to edit and change in the development stage without properly deleting files that have been left behind? These are all points of entry for hackers investigating vulnerabilities. 

You can update your software and plugins directly from WebARX portal.

Stay on track with deleting old files as you edit. Keep your file structure organized in order to keep proper track of changes in the development stage. This will make it so much easily to delete old information.

4. Always Back Your Data Up

Invest in stellar data storage, be it in the cloud or a physical drive. Back your data up as regularly as possible.

In the event a security breach takes place and you need to render your website inaccessible to prevent further damage, it would be catastrophic to not have an updated version of your website stored. When it’s time to go live again, you’ll be glad you had it tucked away.

PS! WebARX has a backup functionality coming in Q2 in 2019.

It’s worth noting that a majority of host providers will provide backups from their servers in case an event like this happens, but it still doesn’t hurt to take agency of your own database and back up your content manually.

5. Scan for Website and Server Vulnerabilities Often

Security checks and scans should be done on a regular basis for staying on top of web app security. It would be wise to perform security scans on your websites at least once a week.

website firewall webarx website security

You should also perform scans after each and every change you make to your application.

It’s worth noting that security scanners, even the very good ones, will not be able to detect every new security hole that pops up. You should still learn about security flaws and vulnerabilities on your own. In the meantime, performing security scans can help with the basics.

6. Invest in Security Experts

This is very wise to do if you have a small team. It’s very difficult to stay on top of web app security on your own. While all of our tips thus far are certainly helpful, you may find yourself spread thin trying to keep up with new vulnerabilities.

A quote from Richard Clarke (former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection and Counter-terrorism for the United States).

A security expert or security service firm can perform scans, security audits, and monitor your web app for new and dangerous holes in your security. You can always trust an expert. Just make sure you do some heavy research before investing in any particular company or freelance specialist.

7. Sanitize the User Output

Like we said earlier, too many developers think of security as an afterthought. In reality, it should be part of the development process from the very early stages of development.

Read more about how security processes should be implemented in WordPress development.

Find out more

wordpress security

We get it. You’re focusing on making sure those features are user-friendly. Maybe you don’t think you have the time or resources to invest in security. Still, it’s a big mistake. At each stage of development, take a moment to consider the security aspect of what you’ve just changed or created.

8. Keep Everything Up to Date

It’s so important to keep all of the platforms and scripts you have in your project up to date. Not doing so is a huge vulnerability for your app. Hackers are keeping a close eye on security flaws that are in popular web software and will aggressively target them once found.

Critical vulnerabilities in WordPress plugins.

Keep note of each and every program you have and stay on top of their respective websites to update when available. We’re talking about every program and product here. It takes a lot of time, but this is the barebones basic step any developer should take first when improving app security.

9. Use a Web Application Security Platform Like WebARX

WebARX is a great tool to use for protecting and monitoring developers’ entire client portfolio. This platform can protect your web apps, save you time and money, and help you stand out in competition.

  • WebARX web application firewall (WAF) has a ton of lucrative features, including:
  • OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project) base rules that provide 0day protection for sites
  • Threat intelligence that monitors your domain’s mentions in hacker forums, target lists, and defacement databases
  • Blocking protection that is automated for public exploit attacks, malicious traffic, and brute-force attacks
  • Logs and stats on their cloud-based dashboard for regular checking up
  • Uptime, defacement, and blacklist monitoring
  • State of the art software vulnerability monitoring
  • Security reports about every site, 2-factor authentication
  • Alert integrations for Slack and mail
  • And much more.

You can use WebARX on all PHP based web applications and the prices are quite attractive as well. If you don’t have the time to manage security completely on your own, WebARX is a fantastic option to look into. You can try our 14-day free trial here.

10. Have a Very Strong Password Policy in Place

There is a lot of advanced software out there that hackers will use to brute force your passwords. Luckily, there are some fixes to the problem.

The best formula for intense password protection is as follows:

  • Uppercase letters
  • Special characters
  • Lowercase letters
  • Case sensitivity
  • Numbers/numerals
  • Minimum of 10 characters long

The first step is to enforce a strong password policy for your developers as well as your users is relevant.

11. Use SSL (HTTPS) Encryption for Your Login Pages

Using SSL (or even better TLS) encryption should be a requirement and priority. HTTPS can properly protect vulnerable and exploitable information like social security numbers, credit and debit card numbers, and login information for team members and users alike. With HTTPS, information that is put into a web app is encrypted so that it’s essentially a useless endeavour for hackers to try and intercept the information.

Read more about HTTPS certificate here: Why HTTPS is important?

Plus, a lack of HTTPS certificate is often flagged by browsers like Chrome as insecure, thus deterring a lot of potential users. HTTPS protects private data, plain and simple. Use it!

12. Don’t Skimp on a Secure Host

Security really starts at the host. Any web developer worth their salt knows that a secure web hosting company with an attractive authentic reputation should be used for hosting any web application.

A good way to tell if a hosting company is decent is to check the reviews of the company from multiple sites that are not linked to the hosting company themselves. 

Do you know the dangers about shared hosting?

Tell me more

dangers of shared hosting webARX web application security website security

Take note of their product pages and blog if available. Are they actively talking about new threats to web security? Are they frequently updating their platform to improve security? Is their technical support good? Don’t be afraid to spend a good amount of time researching hosts for your web app.

It’s surprising how many options are out there for improving web application security. Our web application security checklist is a great place to start. Know of another great way to improve web app security or a few tips we didn’t mention? Tell us about it in chat.

The post 12 Ways to Improve Your Web Application Security appeared first on WebARX.