The Importance of Bot Management and How Shift Left Security Can Help

online bot security

When it comes to the digital landscape, bots are everywhere. The term “bots” is short for robots — virtual robots, that is. These software programs — designed to imitate human behavior — perform automated tasks faster than humans could ever dream of doing them, which is why bot management is more important than ever. Bots can easily index search engines or provide customer service when used for productive purposes.

Indeed, good bots perform helpful or useful tasks that can enhance a user’s experience on the world wide web. But there is also a horde of malicious bots wreaking havoc on the internet, and on corporate intranets and networks. Malicious bots can — in the form of malware — be used to seize control over computers. By turning the computers of unsuspecting people into virtual zombies, bad actors can use infected computers to steal information and wreak other forms of havoc.

Malicious bots aren’t just a nuisance. They can bring down your company’s network infrastructure, cause unplanned downtime, lead to financial and reputational losses, and potentially threaten your company’s ability to remain a going concern. According to one source, bot traffic accounted for 42.3% of internet activity last year, up from 40.8% the previous year. The same source indicated that malicious bot traffic was close to twice the amount of good bot traffic.

One way you can block bad bots so is through shift left security. But what is shift left security, and how can this branch of the cybersecurity spectrum help you combat the pervasive malicious bot problem? Keep on reading for answers to both of these critical questions.

Shift Left Security: What Is it?

It’s one thing to say that shift left security is the solution to better bot management. But it’s another thing entirely to know exactly what shift left security is. Shift left security is about implementing security checks during the software development state. 

Software development pipelines involve the following five stages:

  1. Design 
  2. Development 
  3. Testing 
  4. Deployment 
  5. Maintenance

During the traditional software development process, quality checks and security tests perform after the development stage wraps up. But just because something is traditional doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best way. If the traditional software development process requires substantial changes or fixes, this potentially results in significant expenses and long delays. 

With a shift left security approach, quality checks and security tests perform during — rather than after — the development phase. If you stop to think about it, it makes more sense to verify that the codebase is secure right off the bat rather than to wait until further into the software development process. Catching and fixing issues early can save time and money. 

Shifting left ensures that feedback gets back to developers sooner rather than later so they’re aware of any security issues during every stage of the software development process. So, shift left security helps software developers deliver the best product possible to the end-user.

Shift Left Security: How Can it Help With Bot Management?

Shift left security tools mean two categories, namely runtime protection tools and security scanning protection tools. On the one hand, runtime protection applications safeguard software during the execution process. On the other hand, security scanning tools streamline security integration. When looking at runtime protection tools, one nice thing is bot management.

Bot management is about finding and blocking bad bots from launching dedicated denial of services (DDoS) attacks on the application layer, credential stuffing, and SQL injection. A bot management solution accomplishes this through measures that include bot traps. Using a bot trap, you can configure a URL to find bad bot activity. One type of bot trap method captures malicious bots that bypass a website’s robots.txt file and seek to send spam traffic or scrape content. So, a bot management shift left security tool can be beneficial.

Bot management is, again, just one runtime protection tool. Other options include runtime application self-protection, web application firewalls, workload protection, and container image and serverless function scanning. Meanwhile, security scanning tools include static application security testing, dynamic application security testing, and software composition analysis. 

It’s important to keep in mind that shift-left technology shouldn’t perform in a piecemeal way. Bot management and the other runtime protection tools as well as security scanning tools are needed. With the shift left security approach, it is possible to develop software that is more secure.

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