The State of Web Application Security Testing 2024
July 08, 2024

"In the modern IT ecosystem, each SaaS instance, DevOps service, and hardware device has a web interface. Generative AI is also now creating many more of these interfaces, resulting in thousands of exposed web applications for large enterprises. Despite this fact, most security teams only test monthly at best," said Rob Gurzeev, CEO and co-founder, CyCognito. "And when they do test, coverage is severely limited, ranging from 5% to 13%, due to outdated testing methods. This result is that many applications are left vulnerable. Our research clearly underscores that automating testing processes are absolutely critical to ensuring robust protection against evolving cyber threats."

The 2024 State of Web Application Security Testing report from CyCognito, based on a survey of 349 US and UK cybersecurity professionals, found the following:

Web application attack surfaces are large and growing

Organizations maintain dozens, often hundreds of custom web apps, developed in-house and by third-party partners.

Web applications change frequently

Over 60% update web applications weekly or more often.

Web application security incidents and breaches are common

More than one-third of respondents (35%) experience a significant security event involving a web app at least once a week, while more than one-quarter (26%) experience a major incident that often.

Web application security testing is conducted infrequently and coverage is lacking

Nearly 75% test their web applications monthly or less often, leaving more than 40% of the attack surface untested.

Large web application environment is difficult to test

70% said the number of web applications in their environment was too large for adequate testing. Other top-ranked inhibitors to adequate web application testing include the volume of APIs in production environments (cited as a large or very large blocker by 67%) and the time required to test and monitor changes (66%).

Remediation is a struggle

More than half of respondents (53%) indicated difficulties remediating vulnerabilities uncovered by web application testing.

Leaders feel urgency to improve testing

65% are planning to increase automation within their web application security testing workflows. Looking to the future, they are interested in creating efficiencies. They are also interested in building out continuous testing capabilities.

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