Key Takeaways from Forrester’s 2023 State of Application Security Report

In an era where digital transformation is no longer a luxury but a necessity, the importance of application security has never been more pronounced. Forrester’s State of Application Security report 2023 provides an insightful analysis of the current landscape, highlighting the complexities and challenges businesses face in securing their applications. 

This blog post aims to highlight the key findings from the report and shed light on the importance of API security in the broader context of application security.

The Dominance of Application Security Issues

The year 2022 was marked by significant security challenges, with the Log4Shell vulnerability taking center stage. This incident underscored the vulnerabilities inherent in the software supply chain, a complex network of dependencies that, if not properly secured, can pose significant threats to businesses. As we move forward, it’s crucial to learn from these incidents and implement robust security measures to protect our applications and the sensitive data they handle.

Attackers’ Methods: Old and New

Attackers are constantly evolving their tactics, exploiting both new and old vulnerabilities to breach security systems. The software supply chain has emerged as a popular target, with attackers exploiting it to gain access to an organization’s network. At the same time, traditional web application exploits remain a significant concern.

Moreover, the increasing use of open source libraries has opened up new avenues for attackers. These libraries, while beneficial for development, can contain vulnerabilities that, if exploited, can lead to significant security breaches. This highlights the importance of API security, which can help protect these libraries and mitigate potential risks.

The Rise of Software Composition Analysis (SCA)

In response to these challenges, Software Composition Analysis (SCA) has emerged as a valuable tool for application security. SCA provides a comprehensive analysis of open source and third-party dependencies, helping organizations identify and remediate vulnerabilities. The adoption of SCA tools has seen a significant increase, particularly among firms that have experienced a breach, underscoring their value in enhancing application security.

Next-Generation Software Supply Chain Attacks

The landscape of software supply chain attacks is evolving, with next-generation attacks seeing a staggering growth rate. These attacks, which include methods like dependency confusion and typo-squatting, pose a significant threat to application security. However, SCA tools can help mitigate these risks by detecting and blocking malicious packages from entering the software supply chain.

Increasing Application Security Budgets

The report also highlights a positive trend: despite economic downturns, application security budgets are on the rise. This increase is particularly pronounced among firms that have experienced multiple breaches, indicating a growing recognition of the importance of investing in robust application security measures.

The Shift of Purchasing Power to Developers

As the landscape evolves, so too does the role of developers. More and more, developers are being entrusted with the final decision on app-sec technologies. This shift underscores the need for developers to be well-versed in security practices and for security measures to be seamlessly integrated into the development workflow.

The “Shift-Everywhere Movement” is a significant trend in application security, as highlighted in Forrester’s report. This movement is characterized by the complete automation of security throughout the Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipeline, creating tight feedback loops from code through production. This approach enables organizations to continuously assess and respond to security issues.

The Shift-Everywhere Movement reflects a broader shift towards integrating security measures throughout the entire development lifecycle, from code to production. This approach, combined with the increasing importance of API security, is crucial for navigating the complex landscape of application security.


API Security in the Broader Context of Application Security, based on Forrester’s Insights

As Forrester states, API security is a critical component of application security, especially in the current digital landscape where APIs are extensively used to enable software interactions. 

  1. APIs as Attack Vectors: The report highlights that APIs have become a significant target for attackers. Incidents like the data breach involving Optus customers due to a publicly exposed API that did not require authentication underscore the potential risks associated with insecure APIs. Therefore, securing APIs is crucial to protect sensitive data and maintain trust with customers.
  2. Rise in Malicious API Traffic: The report mentions a 117% jump in malicious API traffic, indicating that APIs are increasingly being exploited by attackers. This trend underscores the need for robust API security measures to detect and block such malicious activities.
  3. Shadow APIs: The report also highlights the issue of shadow APIs, which are unmanaged or unknown APIs. These can pose significant security risks as they might be overlooked during security assessments and could be exploited by attackers. API security measures can help identify and secure these shadow APIs.
  4. Shift-Everywhere Movement: The Shift-Everywhere movement, which emphasizes integrating security measures throughout the entire development lifecycle, includes a focus on API security. This reflects the recognition of API security as a critical component of a comprehensive application security strategy.
  5. API Security Tools Adoption: The report notes an increase in the adoption of API security tools, indicating a growing awareness of the importance of API security in protecting applications.



The Forrester’s State of Application Security report 2023 provides a comprehensive overview of the current application security landscape. As we navigate this complex landscape, it’s clear that a robust approach to application security, including API security, is crucial. 

By learning from past incidents, leveraging tools like SCA, and integrating security measures throughout the development lifecycle, we can better protect our applications and the sensitive data they handle.


About Traceable

Traceable is the industry’s leading API Security company that helps organizations achieve API protection in a cloud-first, API-driven world. With an API Data Lake at the core of the platform, Traceable is the only intelligent and context-aware solution that powers complete API security – security posture management, threat protection and threat management across the entire Software Development Lifecycle – enabling organizations to minimize risk and maximize the value that APIs bring to their customers. To learn more about how API security can help your business, book a demo with a security expert.