See for yourself – run a scan on your code right now

For anyone who’s ever had test anxiety, notification of any audit can send them right back to middle or high school. An internal audit is basically like working with a tutor who helps you find mistakes while an external auditor can feel like having a grumpy teacher marking you down for not crossing a “t” or dotting an “i.” However, you can use audits to grow and improve your product. 

As a developer, you’re most likely going to have to deal with a web application security audit. By understanding what a web app security is, you can prepare yourself and how to get the highest marks possible.

What is an Application Security Audit?

A web application security audit typically incorporates two related functions:

  • Vulnerability assessment: identifying commonly known and exploited technical security weaknesses
  • Penetration testing: acting like an attacker to break into the application to gain unauthorized access to its sensitive data by exploiting technical and business logic vulnerabilities

Although the two activities overlap, the vulnerability assessment simply identifies the existence of a technical vulnerability in the code, often using automation, while the penetration test relies on people’s knowledge of exploits and skills to perform the actions. 

Why Is an Application Security Audit Necessary?

If you’re building a web application, you already know that attackers want to use it to achieve their objectives. If your application is how they compromise a customer, your company is going to suffer reputation and financial damages. As a developer, this means that the powers that be will need to make workforce reductions, which could mean you. 

Beyond your immediate job security, a web application security audit provides:

  • Validation: Verifying that the security strategies and methods work as intended
  • Proactive risk mitigation: Identifying the different ways that attackers can use the application to compromise customer systems to remediate risky issues
  • Prioritize remediation actions: Understanding attack paths to focus on high-value remediation activities
  • Mitigate compliance risk: Preventing fines and penalties by complying with regulatory and industry standard requirements, like HIPAA and GDPR 

When Should An Application Security Audit be Performed?

Various factors impact when and how often you should perform an app security audit. However, at a minimum, you should consider these factors when making these decisions:

  • Compliance requirements: Most regulations and industry frameworks require you to engage in an audit at least once per year, but some may suggest quarterly. 
  • Complexity: An application with a lot of third-party components and dependencies may require more testing to prevent software supply chain security risks. 
  • New features or major updates: Small updates don’t need a comprehensive application security audit, but new features or major updates that change how people use the application should be reviewed to identify any business logic vulnerabilities. 

Best Practices for Preparing for a Web App Security Audit

Most likely, you will do some internal testing and have some external, independent penetration testers audit your application. However, just like you studied for exams, you can prepare yourself for that imminent audit by following some best practices. 

Understand Data Flows

Threat actors care about one thing – data. To secure your application, you need to understand the business logic underlying it and how data flows through it. When you’re preparing for the audit, you should have already identified:

  • What sensitive data that the application uses or accesses
  • How data moves across modules
  • What control paths drive program execution
  • How you intend people to use the application

Identify All Third-Party Components and Dependencies

Most programmers use code from third-party or open-source repositories, and attackers target these components to poison the software supply chain. Best secure coding practices mean:

Scan for Vulnerabilities Early and Often

Shifting security left means integrating it as early in the software development lifecycle as possible. Additionally, doing one time code scans right before moving the code to the production environment becomes costly depending on where the vulnerability sits in your code. To reduce costs and ship more secure software faster, you should:

Prioritize Remediation Actions

Not all vulnerabilities are equally risky. If you try to remediate all of them, you’ll become easily overwhelmed and likely miss something important. To effectively mitigate risks, you should prioritize your remediation activities on the vulnerabilities that attackers can use to compromise your application by understanding the current attack landscape and your application’s unique source code. 

Qwiet AI: Eliminate “Test” Anxiety 

With Qwiet AI’s preZero platform, you can scan millions of lines of code in minutes for visibility into all components, dependencies, and reachable vulnerabilities. Our platform quickly returns accurate and detailed findings while significantly reducing false positives. With our Code Property Graph (CPG), you gain a holistic view of your code, including data flows across the application, to quickly determine reachability and risk impact.

At QWIET AI, we provide more than just tools – we can deliver a fully managed application security service tailored specifically to your organization’s unique needs. Our deep expertise in application security combined with seamless CI/CD integration ensures you’re not just deploying a solution but establishing a robust partnership. 

Try Qwiet AI’s preZero platform for free to see how it can help you mitigate risks from business logic vulnerabilities. 


About ShiftLeft

ShiftLeft empowers developers and AppSec teams to dramatically reduce risk by quickly finding and fixing the vulnerabilities most likely to reach their applications and ignoring reported vulnerabilities that pose little risk. Industry-leading accuracy allows developers to focus on security fixes that matter and improve code velocity while enabling AppSec engineers to shift security left.

A unified code security platform, ShiftLeft CORE scans for attack context across custom code, APIs, OSS, containers, internal microservices, and first-party business logic by combining results of the company’s and Intelligent Software Composition Analysis (SCA). Using its unique graph database that combines code attributes and analyzes actual attack paths based on real application architecture, ShiftLeft then provides detailed guidance on risk remediation within existing development workflows and tooling. Teams that use ShiftLeft ship more secure code, faster. Backed by SYN Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, Blackstone, Mayfield, Thomvest Ventures, and SineWave Ventures, ShiftLeft is based in Santa Clara, California. For information, visit:


See for yourself – run a scan on your code right now