The Gartner Magic Quadrant: Four Traits from Top PerformersWith the application layer becoming a popular attack vector for intruders, and defensive methods to combat it constantly evolving, it's easy to see why application security testing (AST) services play such a large role in digital security. In fact, it has become so prominent that the question shouldn't be whether a company should adopt an AST service to keep its operations and data secure, but rather which one should be chosen.

Enter the Gartner Magic Quadrant. Gartner has analyzed the ever-growing AST industry for years now, giving businesses deep insight into which of its many products and services may be the most suitable. While every provider's offerings vary, there are a few traits every top player exhibits.

They Offer Multiple Types of Analysis

Every company's app layer is different — so are the apps within those individual layers. This alone makes access to multiple analytical tools a necessity. All top performers in the Gartner Magic Quadrant offer just that, ensuring businesses get a diverse series of safety nets no matter where the most critical security needs lie.

Dynamic AST is great when the company no longer has access to an app's source code, a common problem for organizations making heavy use of legacy apps developed by third-party vendors. Companies with apps using "client-side code in the form of Javascript, Flash, Flex [...] Silverlight," and others, on the other hand, may see greater benefit from static AST, according to another Gartner piece.

Beyond that, there's the simple fact that some methods can find flaws that others can't. Whichever vendor you choose, make sure it offers a broad portfolio of testing services — multiple scanning methodologies will only become more important as time goes on.

They Know Mobile

Mobile isn't just important — it's probably at the forefront of your business's digital efforts. The problem? Mobile devices' inherent flexibility, combined with near-total saturation in the business world and the treasure trove of personal and business data, make these products prime targets for breaches.

To that end, the best Gartner Magic Quadrant performers offer a host of mobile security tools, analyzing everything from nuts-and-bolts coding to behaviors and more. The best of the best also let businesses with bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies monitor and secure third-party apps on employee phones, further protecting interests from malicious actors with or without direct control over hardware. By locking down mobile's riskier aspects without hampering its strengths, properly equipped AST providers ensure companies can harness its power without putting the business or clients at risk.

They're Cloud-Based and Local ...

The advantages of a cloud-based AST platform are equally obvious and numerous. By keeping the product in the hands of dedicated security experts, first parties can ensure that every line of code (or entire application) scanned gets cutting-edge protection from threats old and new.

On the other hand, companies deploying new AST solutions frequently need a guiding hand. Besides training on the platform itself, there's the matter of customizing the tools to the company's needs. And that's before considering the research required to determine what those needs are. For the big names in the Gartner Magic Quadrant, this one-two approach works to great effect, offering powerful tools and the support needed to use them properly.

From setting up services to coaching developers on coding flaws and errors, good platforms make sure clients understand their own unique risks and how to use the tools designed to stop them.

... and Flexible

AST products and services don't need to alter existing workflows to produce great results. Instead, the best platforms strive to blend in with existing processes, weaving secure practices into the first party's day-to-day operations wherever possible.

This focus on blending in helps strengthen existing security measures. For instance, integration with existing web application firewalls further shrinks the number of attack vectors available to intruders, while strong interplay with a company's chosen bug-tracking tools bolsters QA practices out the gate.

Scalability is also a big factor here, not to mention another feather in the cap for cloud-based services. Outgrowing the tools your people are used to is never fun, and neither are the growing pains that come along with switching to newer ones.

The Gartner Magic Quadrant: AST Simplified

Switching to a new AST provider shouldn't be as complex as the security needs that drove you to search for one in the first place. By rounding up the AST industry's best-of-the-best, the Magic Quadrant makes finding a platform that works for you as well as it does with you a much easier proposition. Give it a look, and don't be afraid to reach out to Veracode with further questions — as one of the Magic Quadrant's leading providers, they can help you tackle all your security needs.

Photo Source: Flickr

About Evan Wade

Evan Wade is a professional freelance writer, author, and editor from Indianapolis. His time as a sales consultant with AT&T, combined with his current work as a tech reporter, give him unique insight into the world of mobile/Web security and the steps needed to properly secure software products. Follow him on Twitter.

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