/jan 19, 2017

The Importance of Application Security: A Few of the Benefits and Risks

By Melissa Francis

Application security is no longer optional; it has become an absolute necessity. With an increasing number of companies welcoming the idea of developing their own apps,in addition to purchasing record numbers of apps and incorporating open source code into their apps, the risks and vulnerabilities associated have also risen manifold.

I’ve worked as a Security Program Manager at Veracode for the past several years, and I have seen a growing number of both large and small organizations fall victim to cyberattackers, resulting in data breaches as well as hefty financial losses to the affected parties (many are now Veracode customers). In fact, according to the 2016 Breach Level Index report, there were 974 reported incidents of data breaches, with 728 of them occurring in the United States alone, resulting in the loss of millions of confidential documents.

This alarming figure raises a lot of questions, one of which is whether companies are doing their level best to protect customer information and prevent it from falling into the wrong hands, and why they should do so. Here are some benefits and risks all companies need to be aware of, and that I think should be a motivator to tighten up your application security immediately.

The Benefits:

Safety and Security of Confidential Information

The safety and security of sensitive information is a primary concern for many individuals. This is one of the major reasons why many are hesitant to share personal information online.

To remove this negative stigma, many companies go to huge lengths to assure customers that their information is safe with them. The online retail business and credit card industry are prime examples of this.

With the growing trend of online shopping, the Payment Card Industry (PCI) has enforced a set of guidelines and security measures to limit instances of credit card fraud and make the process of online transactions safe. This added security measure has helped the companies in this industry grow, but there is always that question of whether they doing enough.

Sound Market Reputation

In this day and age where companies are being affected by cyberattackers left and right, it is somewhat of a luxury to be safe from such occurrences. However, those who manage to do so have reaped the rewards in terms of the number of customers they serve, sales they make and reputation they have earned as a result of their best-in-industry practices.

The Risks:


Data breach, or any other form of loss of personal and confidential information, is a serious matter that could land a company in a lot of trouble. It could even require an organization to pay a huge sum of money as a settlement.

Case in point: A major search engine company is currently battling a lawsuit in the wake of a data breach it suffered in 2014, which compromised the accounts of nearly 500 million users. From lawyer fees to an uncertainty looming over the company’s health, this is definitely something every small or large business wants to avoid.

Poor Brand Image

What company wouldn’t love to be in the news? After all, it’s free publicity, increasing their brand awareness as well as enhancing their brand identity and popularity; that is if they are on the news for all the right reasons!

Having your company’s name appear on news channels in a negative context will have a completely opposite impact — your brand identity diminishing, creating a negative perception of your company. This can have a severe impact on your business in the short as well as long term; it could also force your business to run aground if the situation is not dealt with and diffused properly!

Do you know how well your company is protected from cyberattackers and breaches?

Find out more about application security from someone who’s been there; check out our new 5 Lessons From an Application Security Pro eBook.

Learn More about Innovative Application Security Testing Techniques for Modern Software Development!

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By Melissa Francis

Melissa Francis is a Senior Security Program Manager supporting a few of Veracode’s largest enterprise clients and programs. In her role, she acts as a trusted advisor to ensure the adoption and success of Veracode’s solutions across development and security organizations. When she is not working, she is enjoying quality time with family and chasing after her sons, Jace and Wesley.