What are the best application security tools? It’s a combination of tools, really.
To batten down the digital hatches—and ensure your applications are secure—you need to be using:
- Multifactor authentication
- Device security
- Employee security
- Backup software
Keep reading to learn more about each of these security tools.
#1: Multifactor Authentication
Multifactor authentication (MFA), also known as two-factor authentication, establishes that the person logging in is the person who is supposed to be logging in.
And if you’re asking, “Isn’t that what a username and password do?” the answer is yes…but today, that’s not enough. Usernames are easy to figure out, as they’re usually just email addresses. And unfortunately, most people don’t practice good password hygiene. They’re hard to remember, so people will often keep them simple, then reuse them across multiple sites. This makes passwords incredibly easy to hack.
But with MFA, even if the hacker has access to your username and password, they still won’t be able to gain access to your application or account.
Like the name suggests, MFA applications use more than one kind of factor to confirm your identity. They use:
- Something you know: A password or pin number.
- Something you have: Usually, your phone.
- Something you are: A fingerprint or facial recognition.
Sometimes websites or applications have a built-in authenticator (think: your bank texting you a code when you log in from a new device). But when an app doesn’t have an authentication method, you need to request that your IT team sets one up for you.
#2: Device Security
Also known as endpoint security, this type of security covers all devices that you use to access applications—workstation, computer, tablet, phone, etc.
Devices alone lack the proper safeguards companies need to keep information private and secure.
The security providers you need protect a company’s devices from cyberattacks by using a multi-layered approach:
- Antivirus software: A program that searches and helps detect, prevent and remove a hacker-borne virus on your device.
- Endpoint detection and response (EDR): Extra, next-level protection on top of antivirus software. This technology monitors for signs of a vulnerability or zero-day threats, then alerts the impacted party immediately.
- Drive encryption: A technology that scrambles or makes unreadable data to unauthorized users.
- Ongoing monitoring and response: A team of security experts dedicated to continuous system monitoring. (Should something go awry, this is the team who would help remediate the situation.)
#3: Employee Security
Employee security is more than just background checks at the time of hire. As employees, we are our company’s number one security risk.
Why? Because we’re busy either keeping the lights on or the customers/bosses/clients happy. And this fast pace has translated into less time for everything else. Like…keeping up with training or paying attention to our inbox (which, these days, is a phish-laden lake).
We must be more diligent. Because as our company’s number one security risk, we’re also one of its best application security tools.
Security awareness training helps us do just that. It’s the ongoing and best way to keep our systems safe and private information secure.
But don’t think it’s up to you to go out and scour the internet for the best ways to prevent cyberattacks. The easiest method to establish employee security is to find a managed service provider that provides security awareness training.
Look for a security awareness training provider with experience in:
- Vertical-specific security: If you’re working for an accounting firm, look for security awareness training that’s specific to accounting firms.
- Ongoing training: Keep things fresh and relevant by finding a provider who’s equipped for educating on an ongoing monthly, quarterly and annual basis.
- Simulated attacks: Watching a video about phishing is important, but the only real way to learn is by doing. Find a provider who simulates phishing attacks to test employees’ security awareness in their specific field.
#4: Backup Software
Backup software—so important but so often forgotten when it comes to application security. “Security” isn’t just the before-the-event, preventative measures we deploy. It’s also the after-the-fact, “now what?” steps we must take to ensure we can get back to work like the event never happened.
Cloud applications provide some backups, but only to a point. Microsoft, Intuit and other vendors have a shared service model. A shared service model agreement means the cloud application company is replicating data, but they’re not storing data for quick restoration. This means:
- There’s no guarantee about when you’d get access to lost data.
- There’s no guarantee that the data you need is even in storage.
- Data backups may not go back far enough for your needs.
In layman’s terms, this means that should you lose data, it could be days before you get it restored—if you get it restored at all.
Let’s take QuickBooks® Online (QBO) as an example. The Intuit platform maintains disaster recovery backups of its entire infrastructure—but it doesn’t store it on an individual account level.
So, if you, someone on your team or a client accidentally deletes transactions from a file, that data may be gone forever.
Backup software supplements the application by storing more precise information and then makes it easy to restore (in case of data loss).
(If you’re curious about QBO specifically, check out our blog post, “How Backup Software Works: A Guide for QBO Users”.)
The Best Application Security Tools? The Limit Does Not Exist.
Security is a never-ending challenge, with no one hard-and-fast rule. In fact, it’s a combination of ever-changing rules—because the security landscape changes every day.
Just as fast as one vulnerability is patched, another pops up. When you think you understand the latest scam, a new swindle emerges.
The best application security tools are the ones that change with the times. By enlisting the help of managed service providers with expertise in a few—if not all—of the above tactics, you’re well on your way to securing your business.
To learn more about cybersecurity management solutions, check out our website.