Anushika Babu
April 25, 2023

Building an Impactful AppSec Culture in Your Organization

Table of Contents

  1. What is Application Security Culture?
  2. 5 Ways to Create An Impactful Application Security Culture
  3. Conclusion

We are all aware of the cost of a data breach in terms of financial and reputational loss. Even though external threat actors might do attacks, the human error of an internal staff often provides that opportunity that can be exploited.

According to a collaborative study conducted by Stanford University Professor Jeff Hancock and security firm Tessian, staff errors account for 88 percent of data breach instances. 

Companies are increasingly becoming aware of the pitfall. They recognize the importance of building an application security culture in the company. Thus, implementing security policies, procedures, and best practices is of paramount importance now. 

Organizations recognize the need to provide training and education to their employees. 

But first things first, what is application security, and why is it important?

What is Application Security Culture?

Application Security culture is a set of security-related norms, values, attitudes, and assumptions inherent in an organization's everyday operations and reflected in all employees' activities and behaviors. Investing in a sustainable security culture converts security from a one-time event into lifelong insurance that generates indefinite security returns.

AppSec culture involves a commitment to security from all stakeholders involved with the application. This includes developers, system administrators, and users.

5 Ways to Create An Impactful Application Security Culture

AppSec culture can help reduce the risks of data breaches, malicious attacks, and other threats. It can also foster a culture of trust and collaboration amongst all employees. Embracing a proactive application security culture help organizations stay ahead of the curve regarding security threats.

Follow Best AppSec Practices

An integral part of application security culture is following all best practices. Regular security assessments of your application and infrastructure will help identify and address potential security risks. 

Companies must ensure that developers are using secure coding best practices. This includes input validation, output encoding, and secure authentication and authorization. You can also limit the amount of sensitive data the application stores.

Make sure your application is using secure protocols such as HTTPS and SSL. Encrypting sensitive data at rest and in transit is a good practice. Enterprises can also use an application firewall to protect against malicious traffic, such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting attacks. 

Establish and Enforce Security Policies

Establishing security policies is the first step to ensuring your application is secure. Create policies defining who can access the system, what data types can be accessed, and what activities are allowed. Employees must use multi-factor authentication and other security protocols.

Some other ways to enforce security protocols are:

  1. Monitoring access to your application and data to ensure security policies are followed. 
  2. Using logging and auditing tools to track user activity and detect unauthorized access.  
  3. Install software tools to detect policy violations and investigate any suspicious activity. 
  4. Implement appropriate disciplinary action when violations are detected. This helps build a strong application security culture in your team.

Monitor and Respond to Threats

The first step to monitoring and responding to application security threats is to identify and assess the threats. Analyze the application code for potential vulnerabilities and weaknesses which attackers can exploit. 

Once potential threats have been identified, monitor the application for any security events. This includes attempted logins from unrecognized IP addresses or suspicious user activity. Watch for any new vulnerabilities or malicious code in the application. Once threats have been monitored, develop response plans to mitigate the risks. This can include:

  • Patching any identified vulnerabilities
  • Implementing additional security measures
  • Removing a component of the application if necessary

Constantly test the application security to ensure efficacy in protecting against threats. This can include penetration testing, vulnerability scanning, and other security testing techniques.

Encourage Open Communication

Open communication helps create an environment of trust and understanding regarding application security culture. It allows for the sharing of ideas and encourages collaboration. Mutual communication also helps ensure that everyone knows the risks associated with application security and takes the necessary steps to protect the application. 

With smooth communication, quick action can be taken when any security issue arises. It helps build a culture of security awareness and encourages everyone to take an active role in helping to protect the application.

Train Your Staff

Training helps develop an application security culture. It teaches employees the importance of security and how to recognize, respond to, and prevent security risks. Training can also help to establish best practices for application development. This includes code reviews, secure coding practices, and testing. 

Training lets employees understand the importance of secure configurations, patch management, and other security controls. It creates an environment of accountability, where employees feel responsible for the security of their applications.


Application security culture is essential for any organization's success and goodwill. It is a way of communicating the importance of security to all organization members. AppSec culture encourages employees to take ownership of their security responsibilities. It urges them to be proactive in maintaining the safety of their systems and data. 

The first step is always to ensure your team knows the importance of security. This is facilitated by thorough training and educating your staff about application security. Hoping to learn more about AppSec culture? We45 can help foster an impenetrable application security culture in your company. AppSec training will allow your team members to be hands-on with penetration testing, security architecture review, threat modeling, and other security best practices.

Time is of the essence when it comes to security, and what is better than having trained and qualified security professionals on your team? Connect with us today!