What Is RASP? Process and Benefits

With malicious actors creating breaches on a daily basis, it’s essential to enable application security that works in real time. RASP is a new security technology that provides detailed and accurate protection against threats.

What is RASP?

Runtime Application Self-Protection, or RASP for short, is a modern application security technology that focuses on identifying and isolating threats 24/7. 

‘Runtime’ essentially means that the security technology is running in real-time on the server, and keeps running with the application. Rather than being deployed at the end of app development, this security technology is actually linked to or built into the application’s environment, making it more effective at preventing daily threats and attacks. 

RASP uses application context and behavior to gather data on whether an app is performing normally. Because it’s based on the server where an application lives, RASP can detect and block attacks immediately.

How does RASP work?

Unlike more traditional application security tools, RASP uses the app’s data and logic so it can detect, block, and report attacks. Because RASP is built into an application, when the system detects abnormal behavior in the application, it automatically isolates and identifies the issue. This means that the technology can be attuned to the security needs of each application.

RASP technology also has the ability to alert, protect, and resolve security events depending on the severity. Look at it this way— rather than acting as a security guard protecting the perimeter of your application, RASP acts more like motion detectors that can sound the alarm immediately the moment it recognizes a security breach

What are the benefits of RASP?

Benefits

  1. Visibility - RASP gives contextual data on the app’s behavior when a threat is detected. It tells you exactly who is attacking, where a vulnerability lies, and which applications have been targeted.

  2. Runs in real time - RASP provides application protection 24/7, independent of an administrator. The data in an app is self-protected, so malicious actors can’t use it.

  3. Accuracy - RASP is highly efficient in defending against attacks. The tech is intelligent enough to know the difference between an attack and an info request, which is critical in reducing the amount of false positives.

  4. Time saver - Since the technology operates largely without human intervention, RASP gives more time back to security teams, allowing them to focus on business-critical priorities. RASP is also a pretty low-maintenance solution (the application can protect itself).

  5. Detects zero-day attacks - A zero-day attack means that the security attack occurs the same day that the exploit becomes known. Because RASP works in real time, it has the ability to detect and block these kinds of attacks swiftly. 

What are the challenges of RASP?

Challenges

  1. It’s new - RASP is still a young technology. It only recently started to appear on the security scene, and it doesn’t have a very high adoption rate yet. Because it’s young, it’s continuing to be tested, and an app can potentially experience some latency with RASP tech that hasn’t been fine-tuned.

  2. Check your app health first - If your application is defective, RASP won’t help with that. Sure, it can still protect your application, but it’s not going to fix any inherent issues. If you know your application needs some work, address those fixes first.

  3. Works better with DevSecOps - RASP should be combined with a collaborative DevSecOps security policy to fully protect against all types of vulnerabilities. All IT teams need to be communicating effectively to properly triage issues and solve them quickly.

  4. Used within app code - RASP must be deployed within the application code. This can make upkeep and overhead more difficult. Make sure that your deployments are well thought-out to avoid negative impact to your app performance.

  5. You may need WAF as well - A Web Application Firewall (WAF) is commonly used in conjunction with RASP to protect web applications by inspecting inbound and outbound traffic, blocking threats from the perimeter.

How AppDynamics helps

We created Secure Application in partnership with Cisco to provide a Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP) solution for modern applications. Cisco Secure Application defends against attacks to prevent security breaches, keeping the data of your users and your digital business secure at all times. 

Cisco Secure Application helps to:

  • Protect application communications without additional firewalls or proxies

  • Automatically block threats in real-time to safeguard customer data, organizational IP, and your brand’s reputation

  • Simplify the life cycle of vulnerability fixes and see what is happening inside the code to prevent known exploits

Resources

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