One can spend millions of dollars on building the fanciest Condominium with the best facilities, but it would amount to very little if the security system is outdated and unable to prevent burglars.
The same holds true for any web and mobile application developed today. For instance, think about the most popular e-commerce application with the best UX, smoothest check-out and payment integrations, but is unable to prevent credit card details of millions of its customers being hacked away for a price. Cyber-security is a buzz word which can make or break any global digital business.
Estimates show that on average, every data breach costs the company around $4 million. And for those who think that only large companies or banks are attacked by hackers, another data-point states that small businesses are victims of 43% of data breaches.
This is why the role of Vulnerability Assessment and Penetrative Testing (VAPT) is crucial for all types of businesses. To top it, it is also a prerequisite for legal reasons.
In a nutshell, VAPT is a kind of software testing that answers questions about what kind of cyber-attacks your software is at risk from and the magnitude of damage such vulnerabilities can result in, if exploited by hackers.
Vulnerability Assessment and Penetrative Testing are complementary processes which when combined together help discover the breadth and depth of security issues in a software application.
Creating and maintaining a brand that is trustworthy among customers is not the only reason why a software application needs to be secure and impervious to hackers.
Government agencies and industry bodies also mandate basic compliance standards which have to be adhered to. Lack of basic security mechanisms in software applications can result in brands facing the music from legal agencies and payment of hefty fines, apart from irreversible damage in customer confidence.
Some of the globally renowned compliance standards are ISO 27002, PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) and SANS-25 errors.
What is Vulnerability Assessment
Vulnerabilities are shortcomings or flaws in your mobile or web application’s code, design or implementation. These are usually pre-existing weaknesses.
Vulnerability assessment is usually a quick process of identification of all these flaws and generates a report using which rectifications can be brought in. The process can be automated and is not expensive to run. However, this process does not indicate which ones can be misused to cause damage and those that can’t.
Vulnerability assessment tests are:
- Done quickly and take less time
- Is required frequently to check for fresh vulnerabilities
- Low cost
- Provides only a partial picture of the magnitude of security issues
- Has a high false positive rate
What is Penetrative Testing
While vulnerability assessment screens mobile or web applications for the number of defects, Penetrative-testing or Pen-test (PT) provides detailed information on the extent of damage that a hacker can inflict, if a particular vulnerability is exploited.
In short, Pen-Test is ethical hacking of your software!
Penetrative testing is detailed and takes considerably longer as compared to Vulnerability Assessment. However, it provides a detailed report on every issue that has been identified and a detailed plan on how it can be corrected. Testing experts can also track solutions for these defects and give closure status.
PT is an important pre-requisite for strengthening your application against cyber-attacks and especially for data security issues.
Pen-tests are categorized into:
- Mobile application PT
- Web application PT
- Cloud application PT
- API PT
- Network PT
Benefits of VAPT
- Provides a thorough study and evaluation of the networking infrastructure, web/mobile apps, and both
- Uncovers application vulnerabilities and security gaps that could invite data leaks
- Controls risks and reduces critical vulnerabilities
- Safeguards private information and data from unauthorized access, theft, and data breach
- Enables to achieve and maintain compliance with laws and regulations at the federal level
In the digital age, no digital enterprise can afford to take risks with cyber-security. Hacking data and collecting a ransom for it, threats to release financial data of customers in public domain and pilferage of personal data are not taken lightly by customers. Building a strong and secure system for your software application is a smart solution which also builds trust with the consumers.
To quote a real-life example, Aspire’s VAPT solution was used by a global Fin-tech player to fix their application security issues which included possible data leaks.
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