Application Security Testing Types: How To Choose The Right For Your Business

As a consultant who assists small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with technology strategy, I‘ve seen firsthand the crippling impact application security breaches can have. Just looking at recent statistics, it‘s clear SMBs are prime targets:

  • 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses (Hiscox)
  • 60% of companies go out of business within 6 months of an attack (MSP Alert)
  • Average cost of a data breach for SMBs is $200,000 (IBM)

Yet, 68% of SMBs admit to lacking resources for adequate security. This is where a focused application security testing strategy becomes critical – it‘s your first line of defense.

Common Testing Methods: A SMB Perspective

There are a variety of application security testing types to evaluate your software for vulnerabilities. Here‘s a breakdown of leading options:

Testing Type How It Works Pros Cons
Static Testing Analyzes source code for flaws Finds wide range of issues early
  • Only assesses code quality, not live apps
  • High false positive rate
  • Dynamic Testing Tests running application by simulating attacks Evaluates real production systems
  • Misses complex logic vulnerabilities
  • Many false negatives
  • Interactive Testing Combines static and dynamic testing Strong code analysis + runtime validation
  • Challenging to execute and interpret results
  • Higher cost
  • I generally recommend small businesses combine static and dynamic testing to get the best of both worlds without breaking the bank. This allows you to scan source code early on, then confirm those vulnerabilities post-deployment.

    For mobile apps, mobile-focused testing is absolutely vital to assessing environment-specific threats. And for web apps built from open source components, software composition analysis is key to sniff out third party vulnerabilities.

    Real-World Examples From SMB Clients

    I‘ll never forget the time a 10-person startup sought my help after an SQL injection attack led to a massive data leak. They had skipped testing entirely due to costs. Or another client who gained traction quickly but had no safeguards for scale, suffering an DDoS attack that cost them thousands in a single day.

    These clients had the drive and innovative ideas but ultimately lacked application security fundamentals. My goal is now empowering SMBs to avoid common pitfalls through cost-effective testing strategies.

    Tailoring Security Testing To SMB Constraints

    The majority of smaller companies simply don‘t have big budgets or large IT teams to implement every possible security control. You have to avoid overinvesting but also balance what‘s feasible internally. Here are my top tips for SMBs:

    Combine Approaches Strategically

    Focus testing on likely vulnerabilities first. For example, OWASP‘s Top 10 Web Application Risks lists injection attacks as #1 – making static analysis to uncover this worthwhile.

    Seek Automated Testing

    Manual testing might seem cheaper but quickly becomes unscalable. Work backwards from your budget to determine affordable automation tools.

    Don‘t Overtest Minor Apps

    Prioritize more comprehensive testing for business-critical applications handling sensitive data rather than internal tools.

    Partner With Specialists

    If gaps in expertise exist internally, work with qualified application security firms to interpret scan results and prescribe fixes.

    Key Takeaways

    Modern web and mobile applications underpin strategic initiatives for every growing SMB, but also introduce serious cybersecurity risks if not coded securely. Implementing the right application security testing methodology is crucial for every organization‘s risk management strategy.

    The bottom line? Balance development velocity with proactive security investments through automated testing sets tailored specifically to your apps, budget and team capabilities. Testing early, testing often will pay dividends by preventing breaches before they occur. Reach out for personalized guidance if needed – being #cybersecure is a team effort!