Does your organization have application security training? Considering that 95% of data breaches last year were on web apps, and 56% of the biggest incidents in the last 5 years tie back to web app security issues, now may be the time to invest in comprehensive training that can be applied to everyone within your SDLC.
At Security Journey, we develop world-class AppSec training for organizations across the globe. Our Application Security Training Platform on Security Training Platform integrates with your critical AppSec tools to streamline and gamify secure code training for development teams.
In this article, we'll cover what application security training is, why it's important, and some popular topics for application security training programs.
What is Application Security?
Application Security, also called AppSec, uses secure coding, best practices, and proper procedures during application development to protect from internal and external security threats.
As TechTarget explains, "All appsec activities should minimize the likelihood that malicious actors can gain unauthorized access to systems, applications, or data. The ultimate goal of application security is to prevent attackers from accessing, modifying, or deleting sensitive or proprietary data."
What is Application Security Training?
Application Security Training, also known as Application Security Education, aims to train developers, designers, architects, and any other position within the SDLC on the best practices to properly secure applications against common vulnerabilities and web application attacks.
AppSec Training often falls on organizations because of the top 50 undergraduate computer science programs in the US; as ranked by US News and World Report for 2022, none requires a secure coding or secure application design class.
Organizations can deploy application security training through a variety of modalities, from instructor-led classes to interactive eLearning platforms. But it's most common for organizations to invest in third-party, out-of-the-box application security training. These online training programs are created by industry experts and provide engaging and trackable training content.
As learners work through online AppSec training programs, they can learn foundational security concepts, participate in secure coding training activities, and often are rewarded with completion certificates and certifications.
Read More: How to Measure the ROI of Application Security Training
Why is Application Security Training Important?
According to recent research from 2015 to 2021, the number of new vulnerabilities per year in the National Vulnerability Database grew from 6,487 to 20,139. With the added pressure of getting to market faster and no formal training in university, staying on top of the newest threats and vulnerabilities can be difficult for developers.
Your application is vulnerable to malicious attacks and non-malicious threats without proper application security education. These vulnerabilities open your customers to data breaches and your business through financial losses, damaged reputation, and liabilities.
Training is often an under-utilized method for delivering more secure applications. A recent EMA study found that secure coding training has a high return on investment; 28.8% of respondents utilizing continuous training prevented over 90% of vulnerabilities from reaching production.
Popular Topics for Application Security Training Programs
Application Security Education can cover a wide range of topics, from foundational knowledge and terminology to language-specific secure coding practices. To determine what your organization needs, start by considering what kind of compliance - such as PCI - and certifications are needed for your industry.
Let's look at a few popular topics for AppSec Education:
Threat Modeling is the process of identifying risks to a system. This includes defining potential threats, identifying issues that could arise from these threats, and developing mitigation strategies.
There are four steps in our Threat Modeling methodology:
- Define the system
- Enumerate the threats
- Evaluate the threats
- Reassess the model
The goal of threat modeling is to understand the risks before developing a system because there is no one-size-fits-all methodology for defining all threats.
Read More: What is Threat Modeling? (Practical Guide + Threat Modeling Template)
The Open Web Application Security Project® releases its annual OWASP Top 10 to help developers learn about common software security issues and the corresponding remediations. In addition, many compliance standards recommend or require that organizations familiarize their developers with the OWASP Top 10.
The best way to address the entire scope of the application security issues highlighted by this list is to train your development team and to ensure that your training plan, KPIs, and expectations of developers reflect the growth in topics.
OWASPS annual list is great for cybersecurity awareness, but sometimes this awareness is not enough. To build safer applications, organizations must move beyond awareness and begin educating security-critical roles. The best security education programs teach development teams theory, then ensure that developers develop the necessary skills to proactively secure applications during the development phase.
Read More: Why Vulnerability List Methodologies Matter
PCI DSS, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, are rules that went into effect in 2006 to ensure that credit card data is secured uniformly. Being PCI-compliant also protects your business in the event of a data breach.
The five major credit card companies – Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and JCB – set up the PCI Security Standards Council to manage and administer PCI DSS.
Read More: What is PCI Compliance?
The Shift Left Movement is dedicated to improving how organizations approach security testing and vulnerability management.
In software development, Shift Lift means considering application security and testing for vulnerabilities earlier in the software development cycle. A company that successfully shifts left can reduce costs, increase efficiency, and protect its reputation.
Read More: How to Shift Left and Increase Long-Term Efficiency
Is AppSec on Your Radar?
In this article, we reviewed what application security training is, why it's important, and some popular topics for application security training programs.
Is AppSec Education on your radar? If so, try a few of our AppSec lessons for free today!