Every day that an application isn’t ‘completely secure’ is a possible data breach.

Consumer data, sensitive company information, financial transactions, and business reputations are all at stake.

Investing in strong web application security is the most effective approach for organizations to reduce the risk of financial loss and reputational damage.

This blog provides a detailed plan for applying web application security best practices.

What is Web Application Security?

Web application security refers to the methods, technologies, and measures used to safeguard web applications from various security threats and vulnerabilities. This covers defence against malicious activity, data breaches, injection attacks (such SQL injection or cross-site scripting), and unauthorized access.

Zero-day risks are unknown vulnerabilities that businesses and developers only learn about after a breach occurs. Zero-day threats are the most deadly due to their inherent nature.

15 Best Practices for Web Application Security: 

Develop a Web Application Threat Model

In today’s fast-paced business environment, addressing client requests frequently takes precedence over structured processes. Businesses can easily lose sight of their digital assets when new applications, consumer portals, and marketing integrations emerge at a rapid pace.

It is challenging to design effective web application security without a thorough grasp of the quantity, function, and update status of the applications in use. As a result, this issue must be addressed as a top priority.

To lay the groundwork for a strong web application security model, begin by compiling a complete database of all applications, similar to an inventory. Include information such as the number of programs, their intended purpose, the most recent version, and any future plans for their use.

Document the deployment modes, application layers, and existing security mechanisms used inside each application. This comprehensive strategy guarantees that all assets are accounted for and allows for quick and effective vulnerability patching when required.

By developing a baseline understanding of your application ecosystem, you lay the groundwork for a more structured and effective web application security approach.

Sort the Applications into Priority Buckets

With so many programs to handle, it’s easy to lose track of security priorities. Begin by establishing priorities soon following or throughout the app inventory process. Sort applications into critical, serious, and normal categories to help guide work in the future months.

Critical: External-facing apps that handle sensitive consumer data and monetary transactions belong here. These programs are ideal targets for hackers and should be tested and repaired right away.

Serious: This category includes both external and internal apps that store critical company and customer information. They should be handled immediately following critical apps.

Normal: These apps should still be inspected and fixed, even though hackers might not particularly target them.

Make a special category for programs that are no longer useful and should be removed immediately.

Once chores have been done, make sure to update the inventory sheet. The goal is to reduce risk while also streamlining vulnerability assessment and resolution.

Find and Analyze Your App’s Vulnerabilities

After you’ve created a web application security design, the next stage is to identify and assess vulnerabilities. Testing will most likely find an abundance of possible flaws, but the key is to prioritize them based on severity.

While the Trust wave Global Security Report estimates 20 vulnerabilities per application, not all are equally critical. For example, vulnerabilities like injection and XSS represent more danger than lower-priority concerns like invalidated redirects and forwards.

To efficiently prioritize, develop a threat model specific to your applications. Alternatively, use the OWASP Overall Risk Severity Scores, which offer a consistent approach for identifying vulnerabilities.

This complete analysis will help you prioritize your efforts and guarantee that significant vulnerabilities are addressed quickly.

Address Critical and High Vulnerabilities

Fixing vulnerabilities in an application necessitates an understanding of the problem as well as code adjustments, which take substantial effort and resources. Trying to eliminate all vulnerabilities at once might be overwhelming.

A more strategic strategy would be to prioritize vulnerabilities according to their impact on business and brand reputation.

Begin by resolving Critical and High vulnerabilities, ensuring that developers only focus on these issues.

Once these have been addressed, move on to Medium and Low severity vulnerabilities. This staged approach prioritizes resources and mitigates the most significant threats first.

Implement Virtual Patching / WAF

Real-world difficulties frequently differ from app security strategies. Even small organizations may spend weeks finding risks and months resolving them. According to the research, addressing critical vulnerabilities takes an average of 250 days.

Can you afford to wait five months? Will the hackers wait? Interim remedies are necessary to prevent exploitation while long-term solutions are explored.

Virtual patching helps to shorten the window of vulnerability and improve your security posture without requiring rapid program updates.

Get a Web Application Firewall (WAF):

If a WAF detects malicious traffic, it blocks it. Advanced web application firewalls even offer custom rules to prevent the exploitation of any vulnerability, whether generic or app logic-specific. The WAF is crucial for firms with hundreds of applications and limited resources to tackle security concerns.

Customers benefit from the increased deployment of virtual patching at the WAF level. In the previous two quarters, AppTrana’s fundamental rule-set blocked 40% of attacks, while custom rules blocked 60%.

This emphasizes the need of managed services and customized rule sets for security teams.

Restrict Functionality:

If you decide to wait until all of the applications are fixed, limit the app’s functionality. Some attacks can be mitigated by implementing restrictions such as limited access to the user database, session timeouts, and others.

Regardless of whether an application is vulnerable, secure, or protected by WAF, maintain monitoring traffic for potential data leakage. Manual penetration testing is the best technique to find such flaws. This will enable you to spot and fix errors before other people take advantage of them.

Advanced Web Application Security Measures

Zero-day vulnerabilities, frequent code updates, third-party source code, app DDoS concerns, and other unanticipated events make application security a complex and never-ending project. However, employing the aforementioned web app security best practices, as well as the following brief advice, will keep you safe.

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Continuous Application Monitoring

Virtual patching via WAF not only saves “time to fix” but also allows for continuous monitoring of web applications. It provides insight into the vulnerabilities being prevented, their sources, and the actions of attackers prior to and after trying exploitation.

These analytics help to generate security intelligence and improve the efficiency of app security. Furthermore, monitoring is beneficial in combating application-layer DDoS attacks.

Automated Scanning and Penetration Testing

Automated app testing is critical for discovering vulnerabilities, but it may overlook logical errors. Add penetration testing, which is carried out by qualified specialists to mimic hacker attacks. Perform penetration testing before moving apps from development to production, and automate testing for all infrastructure applications to improve security.

Application for Retirement

Over time, businesses collect a diverse set of applications, some of which may become obsolete or no longer serve a purpose. These unused applications, also known as “shadow IT,” constitute a serious security risk because they may include vulnerabilities that go undetected. Regularly detecting and retiring such programs reduces the attack surface and lowers the danger of unwanted access or exploitation.

Password Updates

Password updates are an important security practice that reduces the risk of unauthorized access to critical accounts. However, simply changing passwords is not enough; it is also critical to follow industry best practices for password complexity, length, and storage.

Furthermore, adopting multi-factor authentication (MFA) offers an extra degree of security by asking users to prove their identity through different methods.

Log Forensics

Security logs give useful information about the actions taking place within an application or system. Organizations can discover unusual behaviour, identify security issues, and investigate breaches by analysing security logs.

Security logs must be properly configured, securely maintained, and examined on a regular basis by skilled staff in order to successfully monitor and respond to security risks.

Data Validation

Input validation is crucial for preventing a variety of threats, including SQL injection and XSS. Implementing a thorough data validation strategy across all input fields allows organizations to validate and sanitize user inputs to ensure they satisfy expected criteria.

By preventing malicious input from entering the application, this lessens the possibility of data breaches and other security issues.

Privilege Restriction

Limiting user and application rights is critical to mitigating the effects of security breaches. Organizations can utilize the principle of least privilege to guarantee that users and applications only have access to the resources and functionality required to accomplish their responsibilities.

This lowers the risk of unwanted access, data exfiltration, and privilege escalation attacks.


Authentication is the process of determining the identity of persons or systems that access an application or network. Implementing strong authentication mechanisms, such as password-based authentication, multi-factor authentication (MFA), or bio-metric authentication, can help prevent illegal access and improve overall security posture.

Content Policy

Creating and enforcing a content security policy (CSP) allows enterprises to manage how resources are loaded and performed within web applications. A CSP establishes restrictions for acceptable content sources, script execution, and other security standards, thereby reducing the danger of client-side attacks such as clickjacking.

File System Security

Securing the file system is critical for safeguarding sensitive data and preventing unauthorized access or change. Implementing an un writable file system or using file system permissions effectively limits access to key files and directories, lowering the risk of data breaches and unauthorized changes to server content.