You may have heard of Interactive Application Security Testing or IAST in the world of software development. It helps software development companies identify and manage any security risks associated with vulnerable areas found while running web applications. IAST is a dynamic testing or runtime testing technique.
Developers use instruments to monitor applications as they run them to gather data about how the software performs.
Some developers also integrate IAST with Software Composition Analysis (SCA) tools to manage vulnerabilities that can exist in open source frameworks.
Benefits of Using IAST
There are several benefits of using IAST in the software development process, which can improve application security. These benefits are as follows.
Can Shift the Testing in the SDLC
IAST shifts the testing to an earlier stage of the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC). That is why vulnerabilities can be detected faster in the application development cycle, which reduces both costs and delays to fix them. Moreover, several tools can also be integrated into the CI/CD process.
They can produce results as soon as the codes are changed or recompiled and the app is retested while it is running. It allows developers to find any vulnerabilities present in the application security early in the software development process.
Provides More Accurate Results
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a lot of pressure on the software development industry. Developers need highly efficient automated security testing tools like IAST to process thousands of requests and come up with fewer false-positive results. It allows them to keep pace with the current amount of fast web application development.
Software developers also benefit more from IAST than Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) tools because the latter generates too many false-positive results. DAST also does not point out the lines of code that contain the vulnerabilities, which makes it difficult to eliminate false positives.
Software developers can use IAST or Static Application Security Testing (SAST) to get detailed information regarding security vulnerabilities that can allow them to work faster.
Points Out the Source of Vulnerabilities
IAST analyzes the application security by gaining access to several aspects, such as:
- Application code
- Data flow information
- Runtime controls
- Memory/Stack tracing
- HTTP requests
- Code libraries
Having access to so many components through a Software Composition Analysis tool allows developers to use IAST solutions to find the source of vulnerabilities so they can fix them quickly.
Can Integrate Into the CI/CD Pipeline Easily
Software development teams need application security tools that can be seamlessly integrated into the CI/CD pipeline. That way, they can compile the software, test it, and run quality analysis tools without the need for extensive configuration to reduce false positives.
The IAST tools are easy to deploy and update. They can also be scaled quickly to match the requirements of large software development enterprises.
In fact, IAST is the only dynamic testing method that software developers can integrate into the CI/CD pipelines.
Key Steps of Running IAST Solutions Effectively
These are some of the steps to run IAST solutions efficiently in the software development process.
- Deployment of DevOps to integrate IAST in the CI/CD pipeline.
- Selecting the right tool that can review application code. The IAST solution should be compatible with the programming languages as well as the underlying framework used by the DevOps team to create the software.
- Deploying the tool by creating the scanning infrastructure and setting up access controls or any other necessary integrations (like Jira to track bugs).
- Customizing the tool according to the requirements of DevOps teams. The tool can be integrated into the software building environment or creating dashboards to track the scan results. It can also generate custom reports required by the developers.
- Developers should prioritize high-risk applications and scan them once the tool is ready. They can scan the results generated by the tool and remove false positives. Developers should take advantage of IAST tools to track and remediate vulnerabilities as early in the software development process as possible.
- New developers and security teams need to be trained on how to use IAST tools efficiently and integrate them into the software development and deployment process.
Features of an Ideal IAST Tool
These are some of the features that developers should look for in an ideal IAST solution.
- Web-based APIs that allow developers to integrate the testing process into specific tools as Jenkins builds.
- Native integration of Jira to track bugs.
- Seamless integration into other development, quality analysis, and testing tools.
- Compatibility with existing automated or manual testing methods, including development tests, web crawlers, unit tests, and others.
- Real-time analysis.
- Results with minimal false positives.
- Scalability according to the size of the business environment.
- Various deployment models, such as fully automated, manual, or Docker-based.
- Microservices, clouds, and architecture application support.
IAST has replaced most testing methods for application security in DevOps workflows. It offers several advantages over SAST and DAST and can be integrated seamlessly into the CI/CD pipeline. It allows early detection of software vulnerabilities and less expensive remediation, which makes it beneficial for the business as well.