Year after year, cybercrime and the damages it causes to companies across the globe continue to grow. For example, according to the 2022 IBM Data Breach report, for most companies, it’s not a matter if a data breach will happen but when. That’s a pretty costly “when” considering that, on average, a data breach in the US costs around $9.44M and around $4.35M globally.
In the face of these and other growing cyber threats, companies are naturally asking whether and how to protect their services and assets best. And specifically, as web applications have become core to the functioning of the global economy, their safety is essential. Web application security is a central issue within companies and is often debated and vetted against the return on investment (ROI) it provides.
Does it make sense to adopt a security solution that continuously monitors the application for threats and spots vulnerabilities? Is there enough to be gained, or can the care for the application’s security stay in-house? These are relevant and important questions as businesses will, of course, look to make meaningful investments.
Following are some of how a web application security service can have a meaningful impact and positive ROI for companies and why it is necessary to their technology stack.
Here’s How Web Application Security Generates Positive ROI
One way of understanding how web application security generates positive ROI is in terms of saved costs at a later stage, such as the data breach-associated costs and losses cited above. Given the proliferation of cyber threats, if application security can effectively pre-empt attacks and breaches, i.e., mitigate security risks, it generates ROI. Apart from costs and avoided threats, there are also improvements in time-to-market and time-to-value that are noteworthy and that translate into real ROI and competitive advantages.
Following is a more in-depth breakdown of all the effects of application security on ROI.
Cut costs, resources, and time
Web application security should not simply be understood in terms of protecting a web application after it has been launched. A better and more functional model applies application security throughout the development life cycle, as well as after the launch of the application.
Costs that are associated with the development process and that can effectively be cut thanks to an automated application security solution include those that apply to:
- Performing periodic security code reviews
- Creating test scripts, executing them, maintaining test scripts, and reporting on test results
- Executing website security checks and scanning data consolidation status
- Dealing with application outages and crashes that lead to code rework
- Performing code and security audits
- Having staff keep track of the latest security vulnerabilities and devote time to adjusting the security stance or planning security responses
Of course, having web application security does not mean that your teams do not need to perform code reviews to stay on top of the latest security threats or develop a security strategy and breach response plan. Yet, small companies that cannot afford to keep a whole security team in-house and large organizations with dedicated security professionals can benefit from web application security.
Such solutions can cover and reduce the whole range of cost savings listed above. They can provide the means to establish code security defects throughout the development cycle in an automated way and spot issues that manual code testing and reviews miss. In this way, they contribute to developing good coding discipline and cost reductions associated with fixing bugs that can cascade into more significant problems. The closer to their origin code defects can be fixed before making it to a build, the more costs and time are saved down the line.
Security solutions perform regular, automated, and in-depth security checks and policy implementation and provide detailed reports with recommendations. Finally, they also provide an up-to-date library of security vulnerabilities and exploits, helping to keep teams informed and reducing time spent discovering and researching.
All of the above costs can quickly stack up. Take, for example, fixing bug defects – a significant part of engineering time is spent doing that. And when it comes to tackling actual threats or security incidents, the stakes are much higher. To put things in perspective, one Forrester study found that automated application security testing that was applied early and frequently resulted in a 205% ROI over three years.
This brings us to the next part that makes up web application security ROI: risk mitigation.
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Mitigate risks and prevent threats
Actively spotting and mitigating risks is a central feature of application security solutions. These can be found both within the code, in the form of bugs, and in the final product, in terms of vulnerabilities and exploits – some of which only appear later after they are discovered.
In either case, application security can offer protection and reduce the duration and frequency of service outages. With fewer outages or downtime:
- End-users, i.e., customer experience, suffer fewer service interruptions
- Efforts to identify and resolve problems, such as through patching, are significantly reduced
- Service level agreement (SLA) non-compliance instances and associated penalties are reduced
- Brand and reputational damages are diminished
- Risks associated with data breaches, theft, and system compromise are mitigated, hence regulatory penalties and lawsuits.
The above threats and risks pose real challenges to revenue, brand reputation, and service stability. In effect, preventing them is part of the ROI of web application security and constitutes a measurable benefit to operations.
Improve development speed and time to value
Fast and high-quality application development is essential to gaining a competitive advantage. Factors that influence more rapid development include findings code issues early, developing good coding discipline and processes, and developing and safeguarding reliable test assets or using viable alternatives.
Developers are not typically expected to have the required security expertise to spot or foresee vulnerabilities. Web application security can address this pain point by retaining already developed and used tests to reuse later when needed or providing part of the testing requirements. Moreover, such solutions usually also provide remediation advice or guidance and, in some cases, assist security experts at the solution provider.
As a result, companies using such solutions can bring their products to market faster and generate revenue.
Web Application Security Has a Direct Effect on Revenue
As you can see, several factors are at play that positively influence the ROI of web application security. In summary:
- An efficient IT security solution helps employees by reducing the time needed for development and bug fixes and relieves them of the need for deep security professionals.
- Sufficient application protection lowers the risk of high costs for an occurring data breach by spotting vulnerabilities early, mitigating risks, and responding efficiently against threats.
- Security automation enhances developers’ productivity and helps them with secure coding practices by providing immediate feedback during the development and testing phases before deployment.
- Companies can use their level of data protection as a selling point to gain a competitive advantage. They can also provide a better user experience and safety for user data, thanks to greater security and attracting more users.
Want to know more about how a web application security platform can have positive ROI? Get in touch with us to learn more, or register to try Crashtest Security for free today!