Why collaboration is vital for mature security practices and how to achieve it

October 11 2023

Learn how collaboration fueled by business risk observability can help your teams protect what matters most.

According to IDC, 750 million cloud native applications will be created globally by 2025, underscoring the seismic shift to cloud native application environments to harness the scalability and agility of the cloud. While the number of cloud assets organizations manage has increased by 133% year-over-year, the number of security vulnerabilities has jumped disproportionately — by a staggering 589%. As critical cloud native and hybrid applications expand in these growing complex environments, app security solutions need to protect both. 

And as an infomercial might say, “But wait, there’s more.” 

Security teams are not only tasked with managing expanding attack surfaces and remediating more security vulnerabilities — they’re simultaneously contending with a critical shortage of cybersecurity talent. And nearly all (93%) of IT security professionals say they lack the resources to address every incoming security alert on the day it occurs. 

It’s a recipe for potential disaster. 

The sheer amount of cloud native apps being built is quickly outpacing the number of qualified professionals who know how to secure them. And even if you could hire hundreds of security engineers (which is not a feasible option), they still wouldn’t be able to meet the ever-increasing security demands. So, within this environment, what’s the secret to scaling your security practices and embedding them across the application lifecycle? The answer lies in cross-functional collaboration. 

Three collaborative ways to close security gaps  

Collaboration is universally seen as essential for success in various fields, but it can also be elusive to pin down — especially in the context of application security. Here are three ways you can leverage collaboration to build a more resilient application security posture: 

1. Take a risk-based approach 

The CVE.org list of disclosed cybersecurity vulnerabilities exceeds 200,000 at this point — and tens of thousands more vulnerabilities will be added by year’s end. The challenge for security professionals is that while having a list to work from is helpful, most vulnerabilities go unexploited and therefore don’t require attention.  

From a volume perspective, teams can’t track all vulnerabilities. Instead, they need business risk observability to understand which vulnerabilities are most likely to be exploited — and where within their unique application ecosystems the most likely exploits can occur. From there, it’s a quick decision-tree exercise to understand the risk and act based on the potential impact on the business. 

2. Leverage security talent 

According to CIO magazine, acquiring and retaining talent is a top 10 issue facing IT this year, but AppSec professionals have always been notoriously difficult to find and retain. This scarcity of security talent — especially as demand for secure high-performing applications grows and complexity ensues — can be mitigated through collaboration.  

In a recent Forbes article, application security leader Randy Birdsall explains that the most common viable strategy is to leverage and cross-train other IT roles that enables them to become de facto AppSec experts on staff. And as he notes, it’s essential to provide tools that support a DevSecOps culture to ensure security is baked in across the entire application lifecycle.  

3. Select the right security tools 

In today’s fast-moving, complex organizations it might not be reasonable or feasible to expect technologists to study business-specific processes. If time is a factor, the fastest way to make strides in application security is through selecting a tool that automates performance monitoring across the application environment with security in mind. That way, AppSec leaders can take the lead on understanding business KPIs and deploy tools that assist teams in aligning daily security priorities with overall business goals. 

Powering collaboration with business risk observability 

It’s important to recognize that these three approaches aren’t mutually exclusive choices — they can also be blended together. And business risk observability for traditional, modern and unified hybrid application environments play a pivotal role in facilitating all three. 

Business risk observability provides a shared context and single source of truth, allowing stakeholders across the organization to work cohesively and integrate security at every stage of application development. It also enables organizations to adopt a risk-based approach, providing a stack-ranked priority list of the vulnerabilities to address first, based on what’s most important to the business and the likelihood of impact. 

With collaboration fueled by business risk observability, organizations can protect their applications, build digital trust and make the most of their available resources to meet growing security demands now — and in the years to come. 

Get your business risk observability assessment: Schedule a call with an application security expert at Cisco AppDynamics and learn how to prioritize security vulnerabilities based on potential impact — so that you can take rapid action where it matters most. 

Audrey Nahrvar is a product marketing manager with a background in application security and ethical hacking. Audrey held positions at Autodesk and Shutterfly before joining AppDynamics in 2017 as a security engineer first and then promoted to security architect. In her off hours, Audrey enjoys spending time with her husky, in the mountains.

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