Cloud-native application adoption puts pressure on appsec teams

Oxeye revealed five predictions expected to shape enterprise security spending in 2023. The predictions follow industry-wide research, which shows the industry is shifting away from legacy software infrastructure and standardizing on cloud-native applications – resulting in the need for new and more effective approaches to cloud-native application security.

Based on feedback from deployments over the past 12 months, the company is making several predictions on the trends it sees enterprise organizations prioritizing in 2023.

Application security and cloud security will converge

Over the next 12 months, more applications will be built using a cloud-native approach than the traditional, monolithic architecture. Distributed applications that use containers will be impacted by an increasing number of vulnerabilities that span microservices and traverse the infrastructure layer.

The distinction between application security and cloud security has clearly blurred as application security is now affected by the underlying cloud infrastructure, while cloud security professionals now have to take the application layer into account in their attack path analysis.

For application security professionals, this means they must now learn to perform an accurate analysis of cloud-native applications, which combine analysis of code, container, cluster, cloud and their connections and communications. For cloud security professionals, this means finding a way to add application layer analysis into their existing security posture.

‘Shift left’ will become ‘shift everywhere’

For the last decade, people have been talking about shifting left. The truth is, the more static your analysis is, the more false positives you will get, along with alert fatigue. Running a SAST tool doesn’t actually tell you what your application risk is, only that you have a bunch of vulnerabilities, some real, some not. There’s a real need to tie runtime analysis to signals that you’re getting from your static scanners, so that contextual knowledge is provided of what’s happening within applications.

Intelligent analysis that combines user-derived signals from static analysis with signals that you get from runtime analysis (shifting to the right) will provide greater truth about the vulnerabilities in your applications, and a true understanding of how they contribute to overall risk.

Serious C-Suite demand for visibility into risk contributions of apps and the teams that build them

The days when the greatest challenge for the appsec team was ‘what vulnerabilities are in our applications, and how do we remediate them?’ will go away. This will be replaced by the need to establish and report metrics on the risk contribution of each application, and the chain of accountability to the teams that are responsible for their production and security. Leaders will want to know this so they can allocate resources accordingly to lower their overall risk exposure.

This will force appsec teams to find tools that provide detailed, high-fidelity risk profiles for each application within their care that include the ‘risk score’ of their applications (calculated from the total, type, and severity levels of the vulnerabilities that are left without remediation), the type of data that these applications collect, transfer and store, and the number of records that are collected, among others.

Vulnerability Exploitability Exchange (VEX) will become more popular

Vulnerability management typically means sorting through a mountain of noise to figure out what really needs to be remediated, and what doesn’t, then prioritizing remediation efforts. Appsec professionals will increase their demands on tool vendors to provide clear data on the relative levels of risk that each vulnerability presents, so that they’re not left guessing what to remediate and left to assign precious resources to manual prioritization efforts.

This shift will call for a clear, consistent data format for communicating the prioritization information that is machine readable to enable automations and integrations. The Vulnerability Exploitability Exchange (VEX) will become more popular as a result.

Software supply chain security will have a clear definition

But it’s not a simple one. Ask 10 different people what software supply chain security is and you’re likely to get 10 different answers, with some of them being lengthy and confusing. As software supply chain security continues to receive more scrutiny, a more precise and consistent definition will emerge. It will not likely be a simple, one-sentence definition, but clearly defined categories where each have their own definitions and requirements.

“Cloud-native applications are game-changers when it comes to business agility, but the protection of these platforms introduce new challenges, restrictions and requirements that restrict traditional application security solutions from functioning effectively in these environments,” said Ron Vider, CTO, Oxeye Security.

“As this is a rapidly evolving space, the shift to cloud-native application security demands a new approach that holistically looks at all software components and the underlying infrastructure to ensure resilient operations,” concluded Vider.

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