Are you feeling overwhelmed by the security risks to your web applications? No matter how rapidly you address a security concern in your application, hackers and intruders are growing more sophisticated by the day, discovering new ways to exploit a vulnerability in your app.
Some of these flaws are caused by the source code failing to address a threat, while others may emerge at runtime due to malicious input. To address such attacks on a broad scale, you would require a self-protection approach with RASP (Runtime Application Self-Protection), which we will describe in this article.
Before diving into RASP, let’s get started with the current limitations in security with enterprise apps.
What are the Limitations in Enterprise Apps that Lead to Vulnerabilities?
As you may be aware, corporate applications sit in an assortment of computer networks, operating systems, and databases. This architecture leads to fragmentation in application security and the inability to produce a detailed and fool-proof security road map.
Instead of resolving such design issues in apps, developers rely on standard security scanning and static application security testing. Unfortunately, such methodologies were not appropriate for today’s dynamic software development approaches, such as DevOps and Agile.
Such flaws create a constraint for application security components. Enter RASP, whose main objective is to self-protect the web or mobile apps during runtime that the other security solutions up to that point seemed to neglect.
What is RASP?
RASP is a cutting-edge security solution that runs on the server and detects runtime vulnerabilities at the software’s application layer from the initial launch of the application. What’s unique is RASP doesn’t wait for a threat to have an impact. Instead, it actively searches for malware in the app’s incoming requests and prevents illegitimate calls from being executed within the app.
A prominent scenario would be an attacker delivering malicious input to the app and RASP assessing the app’s behavior and the context of that behavior. Then by consistently observing the app’s behavior, it can mitigate the risks without human interference.
Furthermore, developers would be glad to hear that RASP doesn’t affect the app’s design as it runs on the server.
How RASP Works
To begin with, RASP safeguards a specific application rather than a network-level or endpoint-level defensive mechanism. You could initialize the RASP by invoking the function calls inside the app’s source code, or using a single command within an external wrapper on a completed app. Most developers prefer the former option.
It is because it allows them to create a tailor-made security environment depending on the app’s business requirements.
The significant actions that RASP takes when a threat occurs include:
- Stopping the execution of an application: for instance, when it is apparent that an SQL injection is about to occur, it could prevent executing Database code.
- Terminating a session.
- Alerting a user or a system administrator.
How Does RASP Benefit Your Enterprise?
Visibility into runtime application-level attacks
In conventional application development, developers had to design the security structure of an application based on speculation and guesses. This was because they had no means of gathering runtime application’s security data.
However, with the introduction of RASP, this situation completely changed.RASP provides developers with broad insight into application runtime security events, allowing them to coordinate development with real-time occurrences more accurately.
RASP is quite economical compared to the high level of protection it provides. It often logs security events and detects and defends threats within an application. Overall, it safeguards your system while providing analysis and code-level benefits in one bundle.
More number of protected applications
Previously, defending apps meant preventing attacks at the network level. However, because it is outside the application, this strategy is highly inaccurate because it does not comprehend the application’s behavior. However, during the last 20 years or more, network protection has shifted closer to apps with entities such as WAF.
Organizations can defend their apps and portfolio with fewer resources if they can detect the level of threats within an application.
Supports compliance development
Other than providing security to the applications, RASP highly supports applications’ development aspects. With extensive testing and real-time data, developers may quickly discover the most critical attack assets and vulnerabilities. As a result, it enables them to consistently create better secure and compliant apps with fewer vulnerabilities.
Protects legacy applications
Without question, some legacy applications are essential to the operation of a business. However, it is difficult to safeguard legacy applications amid advances in contemporary, sophisticated threats. This is because developers programmed legacy systems using outdated technology, making it harder for them to resist modern threats.
RASP addresses this risk by wrapping the legacy app with the most recent security measures while leaving the older coding alone.
How Do RASP and WAF Complement Each Other and Differences
Initially, WAF (Web Application firewall) filters out any vulnerable traffic into an application before reaching an application. On the other hand, RASP discovers emerging threats within an application that the WAF cannot detect. For WAF, developers could easily write firewall rules for familiar and known threats by inspecting HTTP traffic.
RASP can integrate with the app to not only easily detect threats, but also to solve them as well. RASP provides an entirely different approach to typical approaches like WAF, which protects an application by blocking all the incoming suspected traffic.
Thus, this combination blocks known attacks and unexpected attacks within an application.
After reading this article, you may now have a fundamental knowledge of what RASP is and why it is needed for modern web and mobile applications. As mentioned in this article, there is nothing to lose for the enterprises by implementing cost-effective RASP security measures.
We hope you enjoy reading this article and hope you will implement RASP when your organization requires it.
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