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What is runtime application self-protection and how it works 

RASP solutions are designed to be as smart as your smartest threat.

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Image: KnowTechie Store

These days, when technology threats are more dynamic than ever, static security won’t work to protect your applications.

What if we said you could have a security solution that learns context and treats each application’s security as uniquely as the app itself? We’re talking about runtime application self-protection or RASP, and it’s a smarter approach to application security. What is RASP, and how does it work? Here’s what you need to know.

What is RASP?

Runtime application self-protection (RASP) software is a security technology built into or linked into an application environment, capable of controlling application execution as well as preventing and detecting threats in real-time.

In plain English, RASP runs on a server and kicks into gear when a linked application runs. You can use the application as you normally would, and RASP runs in the background, protecting the app from malicious content. It does this by monitoring the app’s behavior and the context of that behavior.

If it detects a problem, RASP can send alerts and prevent individual requests from running.

How It Works

RASP may sound like a firewall, but it’s also a diagnostic tool–it depends on how you use it.

RASP has two modes: protection or diagnostic.

In diagnostic mode, RASP intercepts all calls from an app to an outside system, making sure they’re secure and validating the data within the calls. If it notices that something is amiss, it will sound an alarm so the user can take action as they see fit.

In protection mode, RASP can act of its own accord. It can halt the execution of suspected intrusions by stopping the application from completing the action. For example, it could prevent an application from executing instructions to a database that appears to be a SQL injection attack. It can stop an application’s execution, alert the user or security personnel, or terminate a user’s session completely.

The net result? You’ve essentially combined a firewall and an application’s runtime context.

Why Do You Need It?

Many security measures are taught to look for specific signatures and spot the signature of a specific vulnerability. RASP is unique because it can adapt to an application’s unique security needs–and it can look for entire categories of issues, rather than a single unique signature.

Basically, RASP can learn how the application is supposed to behave and recognize aberrations based on context. It can also go further than recognizing threats–it recognizes how threats change an application’s behavior.

This means that RASP is closely attuned to the unique security needs of a specific application and can respond accordingly based on context.

In some ways, RASP is like a firewall, but it goes much deeper. A firewall is perimeter protection–if anything makes it past the perimeter, the firewall won’t know what’s going on inside and can’t help you. RASP technology allows applications to become self-protecting.

RASP technology provides an advantage that no firewall can: a secure environment with no signatures and no learning mode.

RASP Solutions for Your Company

RASP solutions are designed to be as smart as your smartest threat. That way, you can use applications without fear for your security environment. You’ll always be able to learn and improve, and you won’t put your application at risk with a security system that isn’t prepared for it.

After all, when your threats are changing all the time, and when threats are tailored to fit the application in question, shouldn’t you have a security system that offers you the same level of adaptability? RASP software offers that kind of security solution so that your technology doesn’t need to slow down for any threat.

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