Unmasking the Dark Side of Low-Code/No-Code Applications


Low-code/no-code (LCNC) and robotic process automation (RPA) have gained immense popularity, but how secure are they? Is your security team paying enough attention in an era of rapid digital transformation, where business users are empowered to create applications swiftly using platforms like Microsoft PowerApps, UiPath, ServiceNow, Mendix, and OutSystems?

The simple truth is often swept under the rug. While low-code/no-code (LCNC) apps and robotic process automations (RPA) drive efficiency and agility, their dark security side demands scrutiny. LCNC application security emerges as a relatively new frontier, and even seasoned security practitioners and security teams grapple with the dynamic nature and sheer volume of citizen-developed applications. The accelerated pace of LCNC development poses a unique challenge for security professionals, underscoring the need for dedicated efforts and solutions to effectively address the security nuances of low-code development environments.

One reason security finds itself in the backseat is a common concern that security controls are potential speed bumps in the digital transformation journey. Many citizen developers strive for quick app creation but unknowingly create new risks simultaneously.

The fact is that LCNC apps leave many business applications exposed to the same risks and damage as their traditionally developed counterparts. Ultimately, it takes a closely aligned security solution for LCNC to balance business success, continuity, and security.

As organizations dive headfirst into LCNC and RPA solutions, it’s time to acknowledge that the current AppSec stack is inadequate for safeguarding critical assets and data exposed by LCNC apps. Most organizations are left with manual, cumbersome security for LCNC development.

While the security challenges and threat vectors in LCNC and RPA environments might appear similar to traditional software development, the devil is in the details. Democratizing software development across a wider audience, the development environments, processes, and participants in LCNC and RPA introduce a transformative shift. This kind of decentralized app creation comes with three main challenges.

First, citizen and automation developers tend to be more prone to unintentional, logical errors that may result in security vulnerabilities. Second, from a visibility point of view, security teams are dealing with a new kind of shadow IT, or to be more precise, Shadow Engineering. Third, security teams have little to no control over the LCNC app life cycle.

The three-headed monster haunting CISOs, security architects, and security teams – governance, compliance, and security – is ever more ominous in LCNC and RPA environments. To illustrate, here are some and, of course, not comprehensive examples:

In the ebook “Low-Code/No-Code And Rpa: Rewards And Risk,” security researchers at Nokod Security suggest that a four-step process can and should be introduced to LCNC app development.

While the steps outlined above provide a foundation, the reality of a growing attack surface, uncovered by the current application security stack, forces a reevaluation. Manual security processes are not scaling enough when organizations churn out dozens of LCNC applications and RPA automations weekly. The efficacy of a manual approach is limited, especially when companies are using several LCNC and RPA platforms. It is time for dedicated security solutions for LCNC application security.

Offering a central security solution, the Nokod Security platform addresses this evolving and complex threat landscape and the uniqueness of the LCNC app development.

The Nokod platform provides a centralized security, governance, and compliance solution for LCNC applications and RPA automations. By managing cybersecurity and compliance risks, Nokod streamlines security throughout the entire lifecycle of LCNC applications.

Key features of Nokod’s enterprise-ready platform include:

In the dynamic landscape of contemporary business technologies, the widespread adoption of low-code/no-code (LCNC) and robotic process automation (RPA) platforms by organizations has ushered in a new era. Despite the surge in innovation, a critical security gap exists. Enterprises must gain comprehensive insights into whether these cutting-edge applications are compliant, free from vulnerabilities, or harbor malicious activities. This expanding attack surface, often unnoticed by current application security measures, poses a considerable risk.

For more timely information about low-code/no-code app security, follow Nokod Security on LinkedIn.


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