5 Application Security Posture Management (ASPM) Best Practices

Jamie Gale - May 13, 2024

5 ASPM (Application security posture management) best practices

In the modern business landscape, software rules the day. Leaders are made, in part, by how quickly development teams can deliver the applications that power better products, services, and experiences.

At the same time, applications aren’t just important assets for organizations — they are potential targets for threat actors. Security gaps within the DevOps life cycle — coupled with time-consuming, costly manual reviews — have left applications and APIs vulnerable to attacks. These factors underscore the importance of strengthening application security to minimize risk.

Purpose of ASPM tools

Application security posture management (ASPM) is the process of evaluating, managing, and enhancing the security of an organization’s custom applications. ASPM tools allow organizations to:

  • Enhance visibility into deployed applications
  • Automate many aspects of traditional security reviews and testing
  • Prioritize responses based on the risk and exploitability of each application vulnerability
  • Adhere to internal security standards and maintain compliance with relevant regulations
  • Scale application security efforts across development teams

Importance of incorporating ASPM in cybersecurity

As organizations increasingly rely on software to drive revenue and differentiate the customer experience, application security has become a critical capability for modern enterprises.

Threat actors also recognize the outsized role that applications play within the modern business landscape and have increasingly targeted applications and APIs as part of their attack plans. In fact, in 2023, eight of the top 10 data breaches were related to application attack surfaces.

The shifting sands of the security landscape highlight why ASPM has become such a vital practice within the DevOps life cycle. Ensuring that the security of applications is consistently and continuously assessed at every stage grants security teams the ability to identify, prioritize, and resolve risks as they arise. This enables DevOps teams to build and deliver applications that are powerful and secure without compromising on speed or innovation.

2024 State of Application Security Report

Download the CrowdStrike 2024 State of Application Security Report and learn more about the greatest challenges in application security.

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Considerations for ASPM tools

As with any cybersecurity tool, not every ASPM solution is created equal. In this section, we review the key attributes to look for when evaluating ASPM tools.

Consideration 1: Does the tool provide up-to-date inventory capabilities?

An effective ASPM tool automatically catalogs and maintains a comprehensive inventory of the organization’s cloud applications. The tool should catalog all architectural elements — including microservices, databases, APIs, data flows, third-party services, and libraries — and identify dependencies among these elements. ASPM ensures that these elements are indexed, baselined, and stored, serving as a reliable basis for understanding architecture and identifying potential drift.

A searchable and continuously updated application inventory unlocks powerful capabilities for teams, including the ability to:

Consideration 2: Does the ASPM tool produce dynamic contextual insights?

The key purpose of an ASPM tool is to help teams identify threats to applications and understand how those threats affect the broader business. A solution that provides dynamic context and metadata will guide teams in prioritizing risks and managing fixes within the development life cycle.

When evaluating ASPM tools, teams should ensure that the solution produces timely insights based on complete context as opposed to metadata and context from static sources like cloud infrastructure, operating systems, networks, and containers. This dynamic approach is critical for ensuring teams can make good decisions about what actions to take and why.

Consideration 3: Is the solution data-aware?

Another key capability of an ASPM solution is its ability to identify sensitive data in an application and map its flow throughout the organization’s application microservices and APIs. This is crucial for accurately assessing risk based on the type of data that could be exposed.

Visibility into the type of data being used by the application and how that data moves within applications and across systems is essential for maintaining strong data privacy and security. This visibility is also critical for ensuring compliance related to different types of sensitive data, such as personally identifiable information (PII), payment card information (PCI), and protected health information (PHI).

Consideration 4: How does the solution manage drift?

In the cybersecurity world, drift is the emergence of unexpected business risks due to code alternations or configuration changes. This is especially important for modern cloud-native applications that can literally change by the hour. Constant application code changes make the attack surface infinitely harder to protect.

The ASPM tool should help teams manage this issue by establishing a baseline and implementing version control for the application architecture. This helps teams identify when dependencies are introduced, modified, or removed, allowing them to make sure their applications remain secure.

Consideration 5: Does the ASPM tool support risk-based scoring?

One of the key functionalities of ASPM tools is to help teams prioritize remediation activity based on the criticality of the risk, the likelihood the vulnerability will be exploited, and the impact to the business if sensitive data or other assets are exposed.

The ASPM solution helps establish a robust framework for assessing and scoring risks by correlating all attributes and dimensions of an application running inside a production environment. The tool should also provide high-quality, actionable insights, allowing teams to focus efforts on matters of consequence as opposed to draining resources on false positives and noise.

Consideration 6: Does the tool unify threat ingestion?

ASPM tools should integrate with other threat intelligence feeds — including the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) database — to provide real-time analysis across the attack surface. This enables the organization to automate manual processes associated with identifying, assessing, scoring, and prioritizing risk effectively and consistently.

Consideration 7: Does the solution help enforce relevant security policies?

ASPM tools help teams define, apply, and govern one or more risk policies based on relevant security standards, industry regulations, and compliance audits. These rules act as guardrails for the organization, enabling them to take a security-first approach to application development and design.

In an ideal world, ASPM policies should be structured and implemented in a way that enables them to be reused across the enterprise, thus improving scalability. Generally, this requires policies to be managed as code.

Consideration 8: Can the solution be automatically integrated into workflows?

Manual security testing and reviews during the development life cycle add time and cost to a process that prioritizes speed and efficiency. ASPM solutions should seamlessly integrate into DevSecOps workflows, helping teams automate, streamline, and scale security and engineering tasks.

Consideration 9: Does the ASPM tool support easy deployment and scaling?

An effective ASPM tool should not require significant resources to deploy, configure, or maintain, since the value of the tool is related to adoption and consistent use. Scalability is also an important factor, as organizations must protect a multitude of applications — a list that is sure to expand over time.

To this end, the solution should offer an intuitive interface and accompanying dashboards to help teams adopt the tool, use it effectively, and draw the maximum value from their investment.

Data Sheet: Falcon ASPM

Learn more about how CrowdStrike Falcon® ASPM gives teams a way to identify, assess, and prioritize their top application security risks based on what’s running in production right now.

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5 ASPM best practices

These are five ASPM (application security posture management) best practices to help protect your applications:

Best practice #1: Accelerate security testing and reviews

Traditional security tests and reviews are time-consuming and expensive. In the CrowdStrike 2024 State of Application Security Report, 81% of respondents reported that a security review takes more than one business day, and 35% said it takes more than three. These activities — which require accurate documentation, architecture diagrams, Jira tickets, and completed questionnaires — often bottleneck the software development life cycle.

An ASPM solution provides a valuable opportunity for teams to accelerate and automate tasks across the DevSecOps life cycle, including security reviews, testing, and threat modeling. This could potentially shave days off existing timelines, unlocking valuable efficiency gains and cost savings.

Best practice #2: Complement shift left security

ASPM is the balance to shift left security. Shift left security embeds security into the earliest phases of the application development process, identifying vulnerable code as it is developed.

By integrating ASPM into a shift left security strategy, teams will have coverage throughout the software development life cycle. While shift left security identifies vulnerabilities and misconfigurations earlier in the life cycle, ASPM is focused on addressing security issues that were not detected earlier — usually because it’s impossible for development and testing environments to have the same configurations as production. Balancing the proactive approach of shift left with the safety net of ASPM enables teams to build and deploy applications without compromising speed or security.

Best practice #3: Employ a vulnerability remediation program

According to the CrowdStrike 2024 State of Application Security report, security professionals ranked identifying which risks to prioritize as their top challenge when interacting with development teams. At the same time, these professionals reported that 70% of critical incidents take longer than 12 hours to resolve. This suggests that organizations are struggling to determine the most important issues to fix, and this is likely impacting the time it takes to remediate those issues.

With the help of an ASPM solution, organizations can build more structure into their remediation efforts, prioritizing efforts based on the insights and scores provided by the solution. Furthermore, by integrating the ASPM solution with other security tools, organizations can improve visibility and context, enhancing the overall security posture and mitigation capabilities of the security team.

Best practice #4: Integrate ASPM into workflows

ASPM solutions also provide a valuable opportunity for streamlining workflows and enhancing collaboration between development and security teams.

For example, integrating the ASPM tool into an existing workflow can produce alerts that are shared directly with the relevant team members when a security event occurs. This helps improve response time and strengthen the overall security posture.

Furthermore, as discussed above, ASPM solutions should also play a crucial role in maintaining an accurate and up-to-date inventory of the organization’s applications — including cloud applications — and their associated dependencies. By automatically indexing and baselining all relevant information, the ASPM solution ensures that teams have access to the information needed to identify and fix security issues efficiently.

Best practice #5: Scale

Most organizations would benefit from taking an incremental approach to scaling ASPM. Security teams can begin with a single application, develop best practices, and refine processes before expanding the tool to other areas. This is critical for proving value and gaining buy-in across development and DevSecOps teams.

Part of a scaled rollout should include measuring the effectiveness of the ASPM tool by gathering specific metrics related to time and cost savings, risks identified, vulnerabilities detected, and other key indicators.Exploring the value of ASPM with CrowdStrike

Securing Cloud-Native Applications at Scale

Download this white paper to learn more about ASPM and how it can benefit your organization.

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Exploring the value of ASPM with CrowdStrike

Lack of visibility into frequent application changes creates significant risk for organizations. For organizations building, delivering, and maintaining modern applications, ASPM provides a scalable way to manage the risk associated with these changes.

CrowdStrike Falcon® ASPM allows companies to see and secure every application and API, enabling them to automatically discover and map all application dependencies and attack surfaces.


Jamie Gale is a product marketing manager with expertise in cloud and application security. Prior to joining CrowdStrike through acquisition of Bionic, she led technical content and executive communications efforts for several startups and large international organizations. Jamie lives in Washington, D.C. and is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington.