Insights

What's the difference between App-oriented and Device security?

February 5, 2020, MOQdigital

Cyber Security, End User Experience, Future Workplace

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As far as information security is concerned, there are multiple layers which can be exploited. The lower foundation layers are the device itself (the operating system and the firmware that help run the machine) and the application layer (the software running on top of the operating system). 

Attackers can exploit vulnerabilities in applications to take control of the underlying operating system, and vice versa. Both avenues can be quite damaging, as there can be sensitive information either stored in files systems attached to a device or in databases attached to a specific application. With that said, protecting an operating system and protecting an application can be very different. 

Creating Security at the Application Level 

Application security can be approached in one of two ways. 

First, there is the process of building security into applications that you are currently developing. Secure development processes represent the greater part of application security, and this is useful if you’re developing software in-house or working closely with a software developer or vendor. 

If you’re not doing these things, and are mostly purchasing enterprise applications off the rack, then your options are more limited. With that said, there are still steps that you can and should take to secure your applications once they are deployed – 85 percent of applications have at least one security flaw, and 20 percent have a high-severity flaw. 

Companies can abide by secure development processes that allow creators to continue making software at speed. This includes automated testing that weeds out the most common forms of direct attack against applications, such as code injection attacks that aim to take over an application’s inputs. 

Once an application is deployed, companies can protect their internet-facing applications by deploying tools such as a web application firewall or traffic analytic services which monitor traffic flows and alert on usual or abnormal flows.  

Reinforcing Security at the Device Level 

Device security augments and reinforces application security. Practically, you probably already practice forms of device security by implementing endpoint protection software, regularly patching your operating systems, and ensuring that your devices have access to the latest information from security research houses which continually monitor large areas of the internet for attacks and then push preventative controls in near real-time. 

If an attacker gains access to an application, they don’t automatically have access to the entire device – this is one of the main reasons why device security is so important. Moving laterally from an application into the application’s host will usually require an exploit of the device. 

Once an attacker escalates their privileges from an application security to a device operating system, their ability to wreak havoc grows exponentially. Not only can they gain access to other applications on the same device, they can also further escalate their privileges and breach other devices on the same network to gain access to identity information and data stores. Only by reinforcing both your application and device security can you avoid this kind of extensive breach. 

Improve Device and Application Security with MOQDigital 

Preventing breaches at the application and device level is growing in complexity. In just the first quarter of 2019, researchers discovered over 5500 new vulnerabilities – many of them with no associated patch or fix. Addressing even one vulnerability can take hours of work, which leaves administrators little time to do much else. 

With MOQDigital at your side, IT admins can start to address in never-ending workload of security and patching, building a robust security infrastructure that can automatically apply fixes and mitigate intrusion attempts. For more information on how MOQDigital can give you time to build – not just defend – your infrastructure, contact a us today!