AppDynamics and Cisco unite application and security teams to defend digital businesses

February 04 2021

Introducing: An industry-first application security solution that marries security and performance insights to drastically simplify vulnerability management and protect your business from attacks.

Application experience is increasingly synonymous with customer experience. Yet, as the very foundation of digital business today, applications are experiencing more security threats than ever before. And the results can be devastating. According to research from Cisco*, sensitive data — such as customer personally identifiable information (PII) or organizational IP — is exfiltrated in the first 24 hours of a breach.

It’s become increasingly clear: Security can’t be an afterthought. A reactive security posture is the old way of thinking. Yet proactive security monitoring is easier said than done by traditional means, which come with their own set of challenges.

Long after data exfiltration, it takes an average of 280 days for application and security teams to detect and contain the breach. That’s because historically, application security has meant slowing down release cycles with static scans that only provide visibility into specific points in time, adding performance overhead and impacting the customer experience while providing no context into how threats impact the application.

But modern applications are increasingly dynamic and grow in complexity as organizations embrace cloud technologies to leverage flexibility and reap cost benefits. Traditional application and security monitoring tools simply haven’t kept pace, and leave application and security teams siloed and guessing at the application’s perimeter. This forces organizations to make an impossible tradeoff between agility, innovation, and driving the business versus mitigating risk.

As a result, no one wins. Applications and businesses run the risk of always being one step behind security threats.

But now, teams don’t have to wait nearly a year to detect and defend the IT perimeter against these threats.

To match the pace of innovation and protect business and customer assets, IT teams require a new approach that protects the application from the inside-out. This application-first approach enables application and security teams to:

  1. Identify vulnerabilities and threats within the application in production
  2. Protect the application against attacks in real time
  3. Correlate security and business impact to prioritize remediation informed by business context
  4. Collaborate efficiently using a shared repository of app and security insights


That’s why we built Cisco Secure Application — application-first security built in collaboration with Cisco Secure.

Introducing Secure Application: True Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP) for the Modern Application


application security for vulnerability management


Built natively into the AppDynamics full-stack, business-centric observability platform, Secure Application drastically simplifies vulnerability management. It defends against attacks in real-time, correlates performance and security data to unify application and security teams, and in this sense, makes it possible for teams to operate in an entirely new, proactive way. It puts the protection of the application environment and entire digital business at the core of what you do.

Of course, modern applications run anywhere and everywhere — from on-premise data centers to highly distributed microservices. And so, regardless of where the application runs, Secure Application organically adds security capabilities from within the runtime. Unlike perimeter-based solutions that rely on traffic routing through them and assumptions on what the application might do with the payload, Secure Application provides visibility into individual lines of code executing regardless of where the application is hosted or traffic originated.

All this is done without deploying additional agents, disruptive performance overhead, or impact to end-users.

With Secure Application, IT teams no longer sacrifice velocity for security.

Let’s take a look at how it works.

Vulnerability management made painless


application security for vulnerability management drill down


Traditionally, vulnerability scanning happens before the application is launched to production and then on a monthly or quarterly cadence. The moment the app is deployed to production, new security holes and zero-day exploits make the application vulnerable despite all the efforts of pre-production testing.

Secure Application ensures continuous vulnerability assessment and protection by scanning code execution to prevent known exploits. Vulnerability data is correlated to the application and business context so that application and security teams can prioritize, execute, and track remediation by business impact.

But it doesn’t stop there. It’s one thing to tell you that something’s wrong — but what’s application security without actively protecting your applications from attacks?

Automatically defend against attacks with real-time protection


real-time application security insights


Secure Application, as your first line of defense, automatically stops exploits to prevent breaches and protect your brand. But it doesn’t just drastically simplify vulnerability management — it goes a leap further and actually protects your application.

Through unprecedented visibility into the application’s true behavior at runtime, Secure Application can identify abnormal behavior and detect exploits in real-time — a far cry from the status quo where hackers spend months inside an application’s environment undetected — and can automatically enforce security policies to block the threats.

In the event of a breach, Secure Application immediately notifies relevant parties and provides rich details, including in familiar AppDynamics dashboards, on where to quickly respond and remediate.

The broadest security toolset available

As part of Cisco, we’re able to provide our customers with the broadest visibility into their IT environments — from the business context and application lens to the infrastructure and network. Secure Application extends our co-innovation with Cisco, whose Security business is the world’s largest enterprise security company. So, naturally, we looked to our “in-house” security experts at Cisco to curate our threat list, which leverages proprietary and publicly available insights.

Secure Application is automatically using this list to detect and block malicious actors trying to breach the application. It adds application-level visibility to Cisco’s security toolset by marrying our proprietary threat list with application-level visibility, providing broad coverage of threats and eliminating the need to rely solely on external sources.

Proactive security unifies application and security teams, improves your security posture, and drives your business.

IT teams and their ability to effectively manage applications are critical to organizations’ success. For those leading organizations, that increasingly means taking a proactive approach to security. With Secure Application, app and security teams can leverage correlated performance and security insights to minimize their organization’s attack surface, safeguard customer data, keep business impact and objectives top of mind, and thrive in today’s digital environment.

The time to shift from reactive to proactive is now

Cisco Secure Application is now generally available to our customers and you can read more about the product here. Download IDC’s latest Technology Spotlight for more on the business benefits of uniting application and security teams and protecting applications from the inside-out.

idc technology spotlight report download

*Source: Breach Defense, Cisco Security, 2020

Jina Na
Jina is a product marketer with experience working across the software, telecommunications, and information technology sectors. At AppDynamics, she's passionate about helping customers maximize the business value of application performance monitoring tools while driving key growth outcomes.

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