What Security Means for Web and Mobile Application Testing

Jul 23, 2020

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Employees today are more mobile than ever. As we saw, due to COVID-19 the majority of organizations moved their employees to a work from home model overnight. This quick change of location forced businesses to implement solutions that would provide their workforces secure remote access to an increasingly complex corporate network. Notions that used to be simpler, like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and the cloud stack further complicate secure access policy management as employees wander from the office. 

While working from home can increase productivity, improve employee performance and reduce costs for organizations, it comes with its challenges. Slow mobile networks and latency when connecting to corporate web applications can put a burden on remote employees, resulting in decreased productivity. However, speed and connectivity aren’t the only challenges when it comes to mobile networks.

As cloud adoption and BYOD are on the rise, security and IT teams must face the challenge of securing the network from outside the office. If the organization is growing network security is harder to keep up with: more devices, more unique roles to account for, and unfamiliar IP addresses connecting to the network - all requiring proper security consideration. Without a deliberate approach, malicious actors can more easily compromise the organization’s network security from different points of entry.

To fight off potential attacks, organizations need to rethink their network security strategy by quickly adopting authentication and testing for vulnerabilities inside the network where their applications reside. 

Testing Environments and Networks Comes with Security Risks 

Automating the testing of mobile and desktop apps through the cloud saves organizations time, money, and resources but it is also crucial to make sure that this testing environment is secured. When testing applications, employees’ networks and connections must be secured in order to add another layer of protection against hackers trying to breach the testing environment. While Sauce Labs offers its Sauce Connect Proxy, a built-in HTTP proxy server that opens a secure "tunnel" connection for testing between a Sauce Labs virtual machine or real device and a website or mobile app hosted behind a corporate firewall, it is not the only security step to consider when testing remotely. 

If an employee doesn’t have any kind of extra layer of defense when connected to his or her network, he or she is exposed to hackers trying to infiltrate their organization’s resources. One of the most common types of attacks on a network is unauthorized access. Hackers will gain entry by accessing the network by stealing employees’ weak passwords or infiltrating previously compromised users. 

Another common risk is access control privilege escalation. This occurs when an attacker has gained access into the network and moves horizontally inside the network infrastructure and servers. This threat allows hackers to gain access to more resources and data with the original privileged access credentials they have stolen. 

To avoid these types of attacks, organizations need to implement more concrete user restrictions with a privileged access model. This will allow them to limit who has access to their network and applications, and what they can access. By restricting access to a certain amount of users, you will decrease the number of authorized access risks to your network. With stricter network access rules in place, you will have a more secure testing environment as well. 

Security Solution for a More Secure Network

Knowing about network risks is only half the battle. When discovering a risk to your organization, you need to clearly strategize how to address it and be proactive so it doesn’t happen again. One of the most effective ways for organizations to ensure a secure network for testing their applications is by implementing security solutions that have strong access policy controls. 

A key benefit that comes with implementing a network security solution is the increased ability to find and fix network vulnerabilities and monitor network activity. With the help of security solutions sitting at the edge of your corporate network, you can quickly identify an attack and fix the exploitable endpoint which would otherwise have been an entry point for a successful attack. 

Network security solutions offer a group of tools, policies, and data to help create a stronger comprehensive security strategy. The key motive when adopting security solutions is to increase the organization’s security from incoming attacks, meaning to make a successful attack an expensive and difficult prospect for any would-be hacker. 

Alongside these security solutions, the organization will need to adopt accompanying company-wide policies that mitigate any insider risks the organization will face. Some organizations might not have the resources to implement an internal security strategy and in these cases a third party security solution will provide them with the right amount of security to fight off incoming attacks.  

Moving Forward 

In today’s digital world, the biggest concern for organizations is data security. Attacks on organizations’ networks are happening more often and with a bigger impact, requiring companies to implement strong cybersecurity strategies in order to ensure  their network isn’t similarly vulnerable against unauthorized access. When testing your mobile and web application in a testing environment, make sure you have secure access to your corporate network. This is all it takes to test more applications without worrying about the security of your network. 

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This post was written by Zev Brodsky, Content Marketing Manager at Perimeter 81. On July 29, Perimeter 81 and Sauce Labs will be doing a joint webinar about how organizations networks and connections must be secured in order to add another layer of protection against hackers trying to breach the testing environment. Sign up here.

Written by

Zev Brodsky