4 AppSec metrics to measure the effectiveness of your program

4 AppSec metrics to measure your program’s effectiveness

Application Security (AppSec) is an aspect of the broader cyber security industry witnessing significant growth. 87% of CIOs in Australia and New Zealand plan to increase their cyber security investments in 2024. On a global scale, 63% of security decision-makers reported an increase in their AppSec budget from 2022 to 2023.

Given this backdrop, the effectiveness of AppSec programs has become a focal point. It is not enough to simply implement security measures; your business must also evaluate their impact. If you have adopted an AppSec solution, how do you know if your program is effective?

Source: Gartner.

You have minimised the number of exploitable vulnerabilities

Exploitable vulnerabilities include security flaws that attackers could use to compromise a system or data. These include coding errors and software misconfigurations. A successful AppSec program should reduce the number of exploitable vulnerabilities found in your applications. It should also decrease the time taken to detect and remediate any that arise. 

It’s important to consider not just the quantity but also the severity of these vulnerabilities. An AppSec program might identify numerous low-risk vulnerabilities, which require attention but do not present the same level of threat as high-risk vulnerabilities. The severity of a vulnerability determines the potential impact it could have if exploited. Tools and resources like the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) guidelines or the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) database are invaluable in assessing the severity of identified vulnerabilities.

If an AppSec program consistently uncovers multiple high-risk vulnerabilities, it signals a need for further refinement and enhancement. Such findings suggest that while the program may be effective in identifying vulnerabilities, it needs to evolve its strategies to prioritise and address those that pose the greatest threat to the organisation’s cyber security posture.

You have good tool coverage across your organisation

The effectiveness of an AppSec program is closely linked to the adoption and coverage of tools. A successful AppSec strategy requires tools that are fully integrated into the team’s workflows. Gaps in tooling hinder the team’s ability to efficiently identify and resolve security issues, indicating a need for improvement. A high level of tool coverage and adoption are key indicators of an AppSec program’s maturity and success.

Tool coverage also becomes an important conversation during business mergers. Merging businesses must assess and align their AppSec tools to ensure comprehensive security coverage. This involves evaluating each entity’s tools, identifying overlaps, and filling gaps. 

You have rituals in place to continuously manage AppSec

Adhering to specific rituals is a critical indicator of a program’s success. Let’s take threat modelling as an example; these require regular performance reviews, updates, and records to understand and mitigate potential threats. Completing threat modelling consistently and thoroughly demonstrates a commitment to AppSec, and any team that commits to such rituals has a solid AppSec program.

You have improved vulnerability detection and response times

Balancing speed and accuracy are essential when addressing AppSec concerns. Quickly responding to known vulnerabilities minimises potential damage. At the same time, alerts must be accurate; your team should not waste time responding to false positives.

Improving detection times without increasing the number of false positives involves refining processes and using advanced security technologies. Regularly updating security protocols and training security personnel in the latest threat detection techniques contribute to quicker, more accurate responses.

Reducing the false positives is a key indicator of a well-functioning AppSec program. Fewer false positives mean that security teams can focus on genuine threats, enhancing overall security efficiency. Additionally, the ability to quickly address and resolve these issues further signifies the success and maturity of the AppSec program, ensuring that security responses are both quick and precise.

How do we measure AppSec metrics?

Various tools provide the data needed to measure these outcomes, including:

Static Application Security Testing (SAST) analyses application source code to identify potential vulnerabilities. In particular, SAST detects issues early in the development cycle, enabling developers to understand and rectify coding errors that could lead to security breaches.

Secrets detection tools are specialised software designed to identify and manage sensitive information, such as passwords, API keys, tokens, and private keys, which might be inadvertently included in source code, configuration files, or other areas within a software project.

Software Composition Analysis (SCA) examines the application’s open-source components and third-party libraries. It identifies known vulnerabilities within these components, ensuring the application uses up-to-date and secure third-party code.


An effective AppSec program should minimise exploitable vulnerabilities, align your organisation with compliance frameworks, reduce security breaches, and optimise detection and response. AppSec should minimise the number of false positives detected so that teams can focus on quickly addressing real vulnerabilities.

Maintaining secure applications demands vigilance and adaptability—tools like SAST, secrets detection and SCA support teams in identifying and addressing security threats. As threats evolve, strategies and tools must also adapt to ensure continuous application security and reliability.

Why choose AppSec as a Service from Galah Cyber?

Our AppSec as a Service program ensures your software applications and related infrastructure are secure, reliable and compliant. Our experts identify and assess security risks to deliver actionable insights and address potential application vulnerabilities at every stage – from the software development lifecycle to applications operating in live environments. Please visit our AppSec as a Service page for more information.