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How to Establish
an Application
Security Policy


StackHawk|November 16, 2022

In this blog post, learn what you need to include in a well-constructed application security policy and how you can establish one.

The reality is that if you have a business online today, there's a big chance that malicious hackers are targeting your applications. This can cause a lot of damage and cost not only in terms of money but reputation too. In order to address this issue, you need to start by having an application security policy in place. 

The application security policy should be a part of your overall security policy. If you have not yet established one, you should read on to learn how to establish an application security policy. 

In this blog post, we'll look at what you need to include in a well-constructed security policy and how you can establish one. 

What Is an Application Security Policy?

An application security policy is a document that outlines the security measures that should be taken when developing, deploying, and managing an application. 

A security policy is one of the most essential elements of an organization's overall security program. Whether it's a formal or informal policy, a security policy provides the framework for developing and implementing a cohesive set of security controls. 

The policy should be tailored to the organization's specific needs and should be reviewed and updated regularly. An application security policy is an integral part of an organization's overall security strategy and can help to protect its applications from attack. 

As mentioned, the policy should cover all aspects of application security, from development to deployment and maintenance. It should also address how to handle security incidents and vulnerabilities. The policy should specify the acceptable levels of risk for the application and should outline the procedures for managing and responding to security incidents. 

In addition, an application security policy provides the framework for understanding the level of security an organization can provide to its business and customers. 

Why Is an Application Security Policy Vital for an Organization?

As our lives move increasingly online, data security has become a top priority for organizations of all sizes. A comprehensive application security policy helps to protect an organization's data and systems from unauthorized access and malicious attacks. By defining clear security procedures and controls, an organization can ensure that its data is appropriately protected at all times.  

An application security policy is vital for an organization because it helps to ensure its data's confidentiality, integrity, and availability. In the event of a security or data breach, an organization can use its security policy to help determine the cause of the breach and take steps to prevent it from happening again. 

As mentioned, by having a well-defined security policy in place, an organization can help to protect its data and systems from unauthorized access and malicious attacks. A policy can also help companies avoid costly penalties for noncompliance, like the kind that could come from running afoul of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). 

Also read: How Security-Based Development Should Work 

How to Establish an Application Security Policy image

Five Critical Elements of an Application Security Policy

Having a solid application security policy is critical to the success of any organization. It provides a map for all employees to follow when developing and maintaining applications. 

If an organization doesn't have an application security policy in place, all of its applications are at risk of being hacked. To help you create an effective application security policy, we've outlined five key elements that must be included: 

  1. There should be a clear and concise statement of the organization's commitment to security. This commitment should be backed up by senior management and should be communicated to all employees.

  2. The policy should identify the specific security risks that the organization is facing and how the organization will manage these risks.

  3. The policy should outline the security measures that the organization will put in place to protect their data and systems.

  4. It should identify the roles and responsibilities of those within the organization who are responsible for security.

  5. The security policy should also outline the procedures for reporting and responding to security incidents and all communication channels.

At last, it should clearly define what constitutes a security breach and the consequences for employees who violate the policy. 

How to Establish an Application Security Policy image

How to Create an Application Security Policy

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Rather, the best way to create an application security policy will vary depending on your organization's specific needs. However, there are some general principles that you should keep in mind when creating your policy. 

First, you need to identify the assets that need to be protected and the risks they face. This will help you to determine the appropriate security measures that you need to put in place. 

Next, you must establish clear rules and procedures for how your employees handle sensitive data and access sensitive systems. This will help you to minimize the risk of data breaches and other security incidents. 

Finally, you must ensure that your policy is regularly reviewed and updated to reflect changes in your organization's security posture. This will help to ensure that your policy remains effective over time. 

Who Develops an Application Security Policy?

Many business owners, who have some experience in IT, believe that the development of a security policy is the responsibility of their IT department. 

This is not quite the case. A security policy is developed by a team of security professionals with experience designing and implementing security measures for software applications. 

The security team is responsible for ensuring that all applications used by the organization are secure and meet the required security standards. In some cases, the organization may outsource the development of an application security policy to a third-party vendor. It may also involve other stakeholders, such as the application development team, business owners, and operational staff. 

Challenges of Creating and Implementing an Application Security Policy

It's no secret that developing and implementing an application security policy can be challenging. There are several factors you have to consider, including the type of applications you use, the sensitivity of the data you process, and the organization's overall security posture. 

Perhaps the most significant challenge is making sure that you properly secure all your applications. This can be daunting, particularly in large organizations with hundreds or even thousands of applications. 

Another challenge is ensuring that the security policy is comprehensive and covers all potential security risks. This requires a thorough understanding of the risks and how they can be mitigated. 

Also, it can be challenging to get buy-in from all stakeholders, as some may see security as a hindrance to productivity. For example, some employees may feel that security increases the time it takes to complete a task. Thus, it's vital to address these concerns and ensure that your team understands why security is important and how it can benefit productivity. 

Ready to Test Your App


Application security is a hot topic right now. Cybersecurity experts now advise that companies must develop and enforce strict application security policies to prevent malicious attacks. 

These policies are a significant first step toward securing your organization's applications. Still, it's also essential to ensure that your employees are aware of these policies and understand the importance of adhering to these controls. 

Thanks for taking the time to read our guide on establishing an application security policy. We hope you feel more confident about your approach to application security. If you would like to learn more about our products and services, don't hesitate to get in touch with us anytime. 

This post was written by Keshav Malik. Keshav is a full-time developer who loves to build and break stuff. He is constantly on the lookout for new and interesting technologies and enjoys working with a diverse set of technologies in his spare time. He loves music and plays badminton whenever the opportunity presents itself.

StackHawk  |  November 16, 2022

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