Importance of Security Testing of Web Applications

Development and use of Web Applications is increasing and diversifying in nature as development technologies widen in scope to meet the demands of system developers and users in a changing world.New languages are being unveiled every day as well as better versions, frameworks and libraries. An example is JavaScript which has given birth to Ajax, JavaScript libraries and Frameworks.

All this has allowed the enhancement of web applications to many features e.g. an appealing user experience through design, dynamic and robust back-end functionalities as encountered in eCommerce web applications.This however does not go without its cons. As we look towards a more incorporating perspective of web applications, issues like security continue to baffle system developers and concern the end users of these applications.

Web applications, like any other software, are majorly about information and data transfer. This will definitely require the end users to develop trust. The burden falls on the system developers to be able to present a flawless system in terms of security.

At what stage should security testing be done?

System security testing has usually been placed as the last step of development but in essence, security testing should be done upon completion of code snippets and modules in order to detect conceptual or practical flaws in a system and deal with them. This is both in front-end and back-end stages of development. Hacking was majorly done through back-end vulnerabilities but now the interface can also be a threat to system.

Another period to do testing is after completion of major modules or webpages as you test the flow of data from one page or code unit to another. This will help detect data flow anomalies that hackers can manipulate.

The third stage of security testing is before deployment of the system where you are required to subject it to a real-life situation and keenly observe how it behaves and any vulnerabilities to address.

The fourth time is after deployment during the period when the system is in use. At this point security testing needs to be done frequently because it is practically impossible to detect all anomalies and vulnerabilities during the three stages mentioned above.

The points expressed above may sound unnecessary or tedious to implement but as stated, web security is key in developing user trust. Some of the attacks hackers do include cookie poisoning and cross-site scripting to hijack sessions or identity theft, SQL injection to manipulate and interfere with database data, etc.

The following are more reasons why you need to test the security of your web applications.

Cutting budget costs on maintenance, fixing and debugging

The most dangerous and costly system flaws are the ones caused by a security issues. Big companies and corporates have lost large chunks of vital information to malicious hackers and hacking tools as some have been placed in very compromising situations in terms of privacy.

System recovery and fixes are quite costly and testing your system earlier can help prevent a lot of malicious practices hence saving on cost.

Maintaining the privacy and integrity of users’ data

As mentioned earlier, Web Applications involve exchange of private data e.g. credit card number, email address, etc. In order to retain users, you must have a system that ensures that their data is uncompromisable and not in a position to be interfered with.

Avoid data loss

Beyond maintaining data integrity, it is important to make sure that your system can effectively store data and give access of data to the intended users.

Some hackers and hacking tools will get into your system and delete stored data completely. This can be avoided with prior security testing to make sure that they will not illegally penetrate to your system.

Earn user trust and enhance marketing

The slightest suspicion of vulnerability without evidential assurance of the contrary can lead to users withdrawing from using your web application. On the other hand, when a system is well secured, users develop trust and they will not mind referring and inviting other users to your application. Trust is being employed by organizations as a major marketing tool. Bloggers and reviewers can help build or destroy your system based on how they gauge your web application and write about it.