Let’s look at some troubling numbers — 61% of companies have experienced a cyberattack this year. That number has skyrocketed from 2022 when it was just 52%. Most companies that are attacked once – unlike lightning – get struck by another attack in less than a trimester. Why? Because the hacker grapevine has pinned them as an easy target. And a phishing attack, a ransomware attack, or a data breach can end up costing a company over $4 million dollars. That’s why, currently, everyone is scrambling for tighter and better security.
Companies are tightening their cybersecurity and investing in year-round continuous security testing using techniques like DAST tools as more high-profile hacks come to light. Selecting the optimal DAST tools for your web application security needs depends on various factors. It is crucial to understand each one — as well as each software’s feature and its relevance to your unique operating environment.
What are DAST tools?
DAST tools are an application security solution that provides insight into how your web apps behave when operating out in the open. DAST helps your company identify potential vulnerabilities. They inspect a web application with criminal intent — as if a malicious user is doing it from the outside in.
DAST tools can detect a variety of application-level security weaknesses, such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and others. They assist in identifying susceptible portions of the website, such as easily guessable passwords, unprotected content, or other security vulnerabilities. DAST security tools are a critical component of every business security program. In essence, they simulate an attack and keep doing so until the end of time — evolving as attacks evolve out in the open and seeing if your codes can take the heat.
The benefits of using DAST security tools for web application security
DAST – Dynamic Application Security Testing – tools offer numerous benefits for web application security. Here is a list of some of them:
A better understanding of how web apps work
Helps businesses better understand how their web apps behave and identify threats early on in the SDLC. This enables businesses to save time and money by addressing weaknesses and preventing malicious attacks before they occur. They adhere to shift-left protocols — field-testing your apps from the get-go, as they are being built and not just at the very end of their creation lifecycle.
Early detection of potential threats
Assesses potential problems like SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and remote file inclusion at runtime that static analysis may overlook. It also ensures that new vulnerabilities are identified and promptly resolved — catching an error, late in the game, can end up costing companies unto 10X more than if said hiccup was patched earlier on.
Works with any programming language and framework. They adapt to most frameworks and languages as well as third-party apps. DAST tools are easy to customize and integrate into your mainframe and production cycle.
Facilitates industry-standard compliance
Can streamline PCI DSS compliance and other types of regulatory reporting. On average law-makers and governing bodies like to tweak around with what’s kosher and what isn’t once every 6 months. Why? Because they need to — because unfortunately, they are a step or two behind what digital malcontent is implementing. Sometimes, businesses aren’t aware of the new legislation and can get blind-sighted by a fine. DAST keeps you in the loop.
Can be implemented without the need for additional infrastructure or personnel.
Provides detailed reports that track the progress of threat elimination.
How to choose the best DAST tool?
Selecting the best DAST – Dynamic Application Security Testing – tool is crucial for ensuring the security of your applications. Here are some tips to help you pick the right DAST tool for your organization:
Watch out for vendors who don’t offer a trial license
Never rely solely on a vendor’s demo program to evaluate a product. Make sure the product has been tested against real-world systems in your specific setting. Ask, dare we say it, and demand a free trial.
Identify your organization’s needs
Before selecting a DAST tool, clearly define the goals and objectives of the security testing. This will help narrow down your search for the ideal tool. Each company is unique.
Consider your budget
DAST tools come in various price ranges. Choose a tool that fits your budget requirements. It’s important to factor in what you really need — in most cases, if you do scale up and you start to find that you might need new features you can always contact the vendor and pay a bit more for those extra toys.
Evaluate the features
Different DAST security tools offer different features. Ensure you select a tool that offers the best features for your business.
Specific features that matter when choosing a DAST tool
When choosing a DAST – Dynamic Application Security Testing – tool, consider the following specific features:
- Ease of use: The tool must have a user-friendly interface.
- Scalability: DAST tools should have automated scanning capabilities that enable organizations to scale their security efforts without compromising accuracy or efficiency.
- Integration capabilities: DAST tools should be capable of integrating with different security solutions.
- Accuracy of results: The tool should provide detailed reports of scan results for easy analysis and tracking of vulnerabilities.
- Speed and efficiency: The tool should perform thorough scans and accurately detect vulnerabilities in a quick and efficient manner.
How to match the right DAST tool to your specific needs?
Consider the application’s size and complexity, the input it receives, potential vulnerabilities, and the resources available for testing. Additionally, assess the types of security reporting and data logging required, the accuracy and level of detail of scans, and the cost of the tool. Evaluate usability, scalability, supported authentication methods, and technologies. Lastly, check the vendor’s support and customer service policies for access to help and guidance.
Tips for maximizing the benefits of your DAST tool
To maximize the benefits of your DAST security tool, ensure you have the right resources, such as personnel and technologies, to manage the testing process. Maintain a comprehensive and regularly updated testing scope. Consider setting up a continuous testing process and integrating your DAST tool with other security measures. Lastly, ensure adequate reporting and data logging capabilities to track testing results and remediation efforts.
You have the perfect tool — now, once set up, you need a staff that actually knows how to use it. You might have a Mercedes Benz in your garage, but if your driver doesn’t even have a license then you’re just wasting your money, your investment is no longer an asset, and your beast of a car is just collecting dust mites.