There are a number of areas where your cyber security could be compromised. Everything from your employee’s use of passwords to your firewall and cloud server can be a point of entry for hackers and malicious software. Many company leaders and IT personnel tend to look for vulnerabilities in individual pieces of software or processes, but there could be an issue in your overall tech stack that could be leaving you open to attack. Here are some of the ways your tech stack could be compromising your cyber security.
What is a Tech Stack?
A project’s tech stack, sometimes referred to as your technology infrastructure or your solutions stack, includes all of the technology you use to build a specific appliance. A tech stack will include all of the programming languages, databases, framework, front-end and back-end tools, analytics tools, and any other technology needed to create and run the application.
In most cases, companies use the same tech stack on all of their projects because they’re used to working with those tools. If they plan on their projects interacting with each other, using the same tools to build each makes sense. However, there may be times when you need a modified tech stack for a certain project.
Tech stacks were once very simple. Many could be described as WAMP, which stood for Windows, Apache servers, MySQL databases, and PHP. That was the entire tech stack. Others were LAMP stacks, which ran on Linux instead of Windows. Today, however, there are many more tools available to programmers. While this is a benefit in that it allows app creators the freedom to explore options and find the tools that work for them, it also brings up some cyber security concerns.
The Elements of a Tech Stack
While everything in a tech stack could be described by LAMP or WAMP years ago, today that’s not the case. Tech stacks have become larger and more varied, and they often include more than four elements. Here are some of the things you will need in your tech stacks:
- The operating system – you may have multiple operating systems in your stack if you’re building an application that runs on different systems such as Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, etc.
- Programming languages – the programming language or languages you use typically depends on what functionality you need and what your programming team is familiar with.
- Distribution services and servers – once completed, your customers will need to be able to access the app somehow. The app may be a SaaS application that is accessed via cloud servers such as those hosted by Google or AWS. It could also be a one-time download offered through various software distributors.
- Data storage – all apps need some form of a database to store information. MySQL is still a popular option, although there are other databases you could use.
- The Backend – the framework for your app’s backend allows you to manage its features and other options. A framework provides you with a set structure to work in, saving time and money.
- The Frontend – while the backend is for you to use to manage the app, the frontend is what your customers see. This user interface directly impacts the user experience, so it must be done well.
- API Services – today’s apps don’t exist in a vacuum. The API services used in your app will connect it to other apps and services, which are sometimes thought of as an extended tech stack all their own.
- Analytics and performance trackers – another new addition to an app’s tech stack is the ability to track how the app performs and gather feedback to drive improvements. This information can be used to upgrade the existing app or provide insight into a new product.
- Business intelligence tools – these tools help you see a larger picture by capturing data related to your app, the clients that use it, and the overall market. They can help you make major decisions regarding the direction of your projects and the company.
With all of these components now a part of each application’s tech stack, you can see why it’s easier to accidentally introduce cyber security vulnerabilities. It can be hard to fully vet every tool, especially if your tech stack has slowly grown over the years. What started with a handful of tools may now include over a hundred.
Cyber Security Vulnerabilities in Your Tech Stack
What type of computer security risks comes with your tech stack? There are several factors that could lead to hackers gaining access to your applications. Here are some of the most common ways your tech stack security may be vulnerable.
It’s Too Complicated
As technology has changed and more elements were introduced to the tech stack, it has become more and more complex. With more moving parts, there are more places for errors and open security holes. While you certainly shouldn’t leave out any element from your tech stack that you need, you also want to keep an eye on simplicity. Any time you can simplify the stack and remove elements that you don’t really need, do so. Keeping it as simple as you can will help reduce the risk of security issues.
Check for Compatibility
By keeping your tech stack as simple as possible, you should also eliminate the risk of compatibility issues. Your operating system, programming language, database, and other elements all need to be fully compatible and work together without any issues. When two parts of your stack aren’t compatible, it often results in creating work-arounds that fall outside of the designed security processes, leaving your app vulnerable.
The tools in your tech stack were developed by other companies, which means that you put your trust that they have created strong security protocols and protections. However, if you make use of lesser-known third-party tools, it’s possible they may not be as secure as you would like. The vulnerabilities in these tools could open up your database to hackers, allow malware into your network, reveal sensitive data to others, or completely shut down your app. Always review any third-party tool before using it, especially if it’s by a vendor you haven’t heard of before.
Protecting Your Tech Stack from Attacks
What can you do to ensure that there are few or no vulnerabilities in your tech stack? It’s easier for new companies—you can investigate your options, look at which tools work well together and which have the functionality you need, and determine which are compatible. This will let you build a tech stack that will provide everything you need to complete your goals while also being secure.
If you already have a tech stack you’ve used for years and have just discovered vulnerabilities, you may need to remove some tools and add others. You may have to update some of your previous projects or, in a worst-case scenario, rebuild them from the ground up. Whether you’re updating your stack or building a new one, here are a few things you can do to keep your tech stack secure:
- Use tools from reputable companies that you know will provide the functionality you need.
- Make certain the tools you’re using are up-to-date.
- Train your team on new versions of programming languages and other tools.
- Introduce best practices and updated processes when possible.
- Do your research. Look into each tool to see if it has any history of security vulnerabilities.
- Let your IT team have a seat at the table. They are the ones who will be using these tools, and they likely have hands-on experience with them. Make use of this experience.
- If you outsource your IT support, get their opinion, too. These experts also have years of experience in IT and likely are familiar with many of the tools you could include in your tech stack.
- Reduce the complexity of your tech stack as much as you can without eliminating any functionality you need.
Bring in an Expert
Need some help understanding the best cybersecurity tools available? If you’re a new company or don’t have a strong IT team built up yet, outsourcing can be your best option. Whether you need on-site support or are looking for remote IT support, Wooden Spoon IT is here for you. We can assist you in optimizing your network, bringing in the right security tools to keep your data safe while your team works on their apps and other projects. We can also provide assistance in understanding what your tech stack needs and which tools may be right for you.
Why Wooden Spoon?
What can Wooden Spoon offer you in terms of IT support? Our team has years of experience in managed IT services, and we can provide everything from planning and strategy to security and maintenance. We will assist you with hardware and software support, preventative maintenance, proactive security measures, remote support, and much more.
Want to know more about how Wooden Spoon can help you? If you have any questions about what we provide or want to discuss partnering with us, call us today at 707-523-2222.