Top 10 Best Application Security Best Practices Checklist

Top 10 Best Application Security Best Practices Checklist. Hackers have devised sophisticated means to gain access to applications and access data. Therefore, you must implement some application security to safeguard your app data and performance. Application security practices ensure your apps remain invulnerable throughout their lifecycle.

With application development at an all time high, numerous apps are created daily across mobile, web, cloud and desktop platforms. Developers are gearing toward creating more complex applications and releasing new features as quickly as possible. In the process, organizations face real security risks that are hard to manage.

This article explores 10 best application security practices to implement in your organization. Read on!

What is application security?

Application security is the flow of identification and removing potential vulnerabilities at application level. With this there is a set of procedures to increase the overall security of the application.

Top 10 Best Application Security Best Practices Checklist

Threat Assessment

Application threat assessment allows you to detect and address any risks before they materialize. An ideal threat assessment involves the following:

  • Review of attack surfaces.
  • Understanding of attacker methods.
  • Revealing of vulnerable information.
  • Remediation of attacks.

The assessor identifies the potential applications targeted by hackers and how they attack applications. It also involves identifying proof of previous attacks and remediation plans to stop future attacks. 

To cushion your applications thoroughly, you should perform threat assessments often. This allows you to stay in tabs with the evolving nature of cyber attacks.

Manage Containers

Containerization technology has revolutionized the approach to application development. Containers allow developers to build, test, and deploy across multiple environments throughout the development lifecycle. This technology has grown in popularity over time, thanks to its flexibility.

The containers come in self contained OS environments and lower risk levels. However on the other hand they also face exploitation from malicious attackers. The code stored within the container may be vulnerable. It’s best to run automated scans throughout the CI/CD pipeline to secure your container. Perform scans for open source vulnerabilities and your registries.

Besides scans, it’s best to sign your own images with tools like Shared Access Signature when working with Azure or Docker Content Trust when using Docker Hub.

Why is container security important?

The security with Container is important because the container image has all the components that will be used to run the application. So get rid of vulnerabilities in container image to minimise security issues during production.


  1. Secure your code and its dependencies.
  2. Implement access management
  3. Start with a minimal base image from a trusted source.
  4. Secure your container infrastructure.

Encrypt Data

Data encryption is a standard application security practice. You should always encrypt data at rest and in transit at all times. Encryption makes data in transit and at rest unreadable unless decrypted with a unique key.

You should never store sensitive data such as IDs and passwords in plain text. Failure to encrypt data means attackers can gain access and compromise it. However, with encryption, data is unreadable and unreliable to the attacker. Using SSL, hashing and an up to date certificate is a great way to approach data encryption. 

Adopt a DevSecOps Approach

DevSecOps is a unique approach to DevOps security. It aims to detect security loopholes in order to prevent security issues and resolve them quickly. DevSecOps integrates security as a shared responsibility throughout the entire IT lifecycle. Ideally, DevSecOps brings application security to the center of the development process rather than having it as a secondary addition.

Integrating security into DevOps enables you to develop applications that can resist attacks. With DevSecOps it assumes that everyone is responsible for security. Besides, it involves automating security functions such as vulnerability scanning, firewalling and identity and access management. 

Start Penetration Testing

Penetration testing, also known as Pentesting, involves performing simulated attacks on applications to test their resilience. It tests whether your applications can withstand hacking attempts.

A hacker performs ethical hacking during penetration testing to gain access to your application. The main aim is to identify if there are loopholes in the application that the attacker can exploit in a real hacking attempt. In case the pentesters find potential gaps, the development team can proceed to close them. 

Patch Your Applications Regularly

Regular patching is crucial in any software development process. It is a proactive way of fixing software vulnerabilities. 

Patching is the process of applying updates to your software to correct errors known as bugs or vulnerabilities. It involves identifying, testing and installing code changes (known as patches) to fix bugs and close security gaps. You can patch applications, operating systems, or embedded systems. This ensures all assets in your environment are secure from exploitation.  

With patching is a crucial application security practice. It not only closes security gaps but also improves performance and brings the application up to date. 

While patching is ideal for application security, you should approach it cautiously. Sometimes, a patch can introduce new problems or affect application performance. You should always test the patch and ensure it’s working as planned before deploying it.

Automate Security Tasks

A manual approach to application security is imperative, as most of the development happens manually. However, it’s impossible to approach each security approach manually. It’s time consuming and requires lots of human effort, which may keep you behind schedule.

Application security automation is the process of connecting solutions to fix vulnerabilities within the software without manual intervention. 

You can automate simple security tasks and repeatable processes in your application development cycle. This allows the development team to focus on more challenging tasks. The manual threat response is slow and labour intensive, exposing your systems to attacks and compliance issues. Also, it’s marred by human errors, as most people can’t keep up with the application issues.

Log Management

Data logs are records of all activities on your applications. Firstly, they provide great insights into everything happening in the infrastructure. For instance, a log is created when an end user opens the application. 

You can rely on log management tools to monitor activity logs. These tools are designed to help you stay in touch with application activities. They store securely for future access. 

Log management is crucial for various reasons. You can detect any unusual activities in the app or abnormal traffic. These can indicate unauthorized use or a potential attack. As a result, you should implement consistent log monitoring within the organization. Also, it’s best to set up a process whereby each log is consumed, analysed and managed. You can also set real time alerting to receive notifications in case of application anomalies.

Real Time Security Monitoring

Interestingly the Security monitoring is almost similar to log management. It involves keeping an eye on your applications to identify any security incidents as they occur. Security monitoring should be done on a 24/7/365 basis. It involves identifying, detecting, and remediating issues in real time to uphold application security.

The best part with security monitoring is that you don’t have to do it manually. You can implement a security monitoring tool to help you stay in touch with all activities in your application. It monitors user behaviour and any anomaly that may affect app performance. In case it detects an anomaly, it sends real-time alerts so you can act immediately.

Security Training

Best Application Security Best Practices Checklist

To achieve overall application security, you should also focus on the human aspect. Training your teams security-wise enables them to approach DevOps with security in mind. It ensures they can build, test, and deploy applications with a security conscious mindset. This is especially helpful in the early stages or during onboarding. 

To make your security training fruitful, start by performing socially engineered attacks. These attacks resemble real-world attacks that they are likely to encounter. They enable you to identify human weaknesses and know which issues to tackle. Also, you should tailor the training to specific security needs and developer roles.

Thank you for reading Top 10 Best Application Security Best Practices Checklist.

Top 10 Best Application Security Best Practices Checklist Conclusion

There you have our best practices for application security. Implementing the above strategies ensures secure, stable, and high-performing applications. It’s best to approach security proactively and make it a culture in your SLDC. 

One of ways to detect vulnerabilities in you application is to use of static application security testing (SAST) tools. On the other hand as opposed  to SAST tools, the dynamic application security testing (DAST) tools aim to find vulnerabilities by trying to exploit your application in runtime.

For more cybersecurity tips like these, read our blog!

Avatar for Dennis Muvaa
Dennis Muvaa

Dennis is an expert content writer and SEO strategist in cloud technologies such as AWS, Azure, and GCP. He's also experienced in cybersecurity, big data, and AI.

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