Once upon a time, we lived in a world where the internet was a free-range pasture largely populated by tech people who knew enough to navigate it. Now everyone is online, and they live more of their lives online than ever before–especially through web applications.
This also means that web applications have a more extensive library of information on consumers than ever before. And if you cannot secure that information, consumers will not trust you with their business.
Don’t believe it? Here’s why enterprises without top-notch web application security will get left behind.
Web Applications Changed the World…
Whatever way you look at it, the reality is that mobile applications have reshaped the way we live our lives.
In the past, you had to go to the grocery store to buy groceries. You had to make a trip to the bank to withdraw money. You had to read the news on a computer or (in ye olden days) a physical paper. You had to work directly with a financial advisor to invest. You had to write down notes and reminders by hand.
There is literally an app for everything, granting us access to information faster than ever before.
In the process of reshaping our lives, web applications have also changed the way enterprises do business.
Enterprises no longer have to rely on in-person or online interactions to connect. Now, they have a tool to engage with their customers, and it’s built right into the consumer’s device.
Now, if you wanted to alert an individual consumer to a problem, an app can handle it right on their phone. And if you wanted to address a larger problem, sending a notification to a crowd of users? Applications can do that too.
Web Applications Have Grown Up
Web applications have matured since the concept of an app first appeared in Java language in 1999.
In the early days, web applications functioned like a house with a security system. The concept was simple: keep hackers out, let authorized users in (with largely unmonitored access).
These days, web applications are more like office buildings. They have multiple entrances. They run dozens of functions at any given time. They allow different functionality to different users. They also have a much broader range of users, much like an office building has employees and contractors and customers.
Applications are also entrusted with more sensitive data than ever before–and entrusted with the task of protecting it.
Increased Complexity Invites Attackers
As web applications provide increasingly complex services to consumers, they perform increasingly complex tasks, often simultaneously. Much of it happens at the client side for speed, where before it was passed to the server-side behind a firewall.
This also means that attackers have new opportunities to attack web applications. And in many cases, hackers can leverage the uniqueness and complexity of applications to mask the fact that they were ever there.
After all, organizations with applications now pride themselves on the proprietary code and technology that drives those applications, which means that the system (and its vulnerabilities) are unique to every organization.
It may take a hacker longer to get into one organization at a time, to be sure, but the reality is that developers are creating an application for consumers, not security. Their focus is on letting consumers in, rather than keeping hackers out. Hackers know this–and they can take advantage of it.
The lack of web application security as a mode of design thinking creates a unique set of web application vulnerabilities. Typically, these vulnerabilities are the result of insufficient input/output sanitization, which hackers can then exploit.
Security is Now a Competitive Advantage
The problem is that web application security is now a competitive advantage, not a design feature. That’s because if you’re selling a product, especially in technology, you’re no longer selling an app. You’re selling trust.
The problem is belief as much as reality. A full 69% of consumers believe that companies are vulnerable to cyberattacks. And in the era of Cambridge Analytica, consumer trust in brands is at an all-time low.
Consumers know that your web applications store more sensitive data on them than ever before–and collect more data than they realize. They also know that if your application cannot protect that data, a hacker can steal an entire library of sensitive information about someone, all without the consumer ever realizing it.
And these days, consumers have been betrayed one too many times to trust you at the outset. If you don’t have web application security to back up your claims, consumers won’t trust you–and they’ll take their business elsewhere.
Invest–Your Competitors Already Have
In short, it’s time to invest in web application security. It’s an investment in the future of your company–or, put another way, an investment in your company’s consumer trust. And if your company isn’t willing to invest in consumer trust, your future won’t be a long one.
It’s time to invest in strong web application security. Your competitors already have, and if you don’t outpace them, you’ll get left behind in the dust.