Static application security testing (SAST) is a method of analyzing application source code for security vulnerabilities and weaknesses without executing the code. As applications grow more complex with each new feature and functionality added, it becomes increasingly difficult for developers alone to catch all security flaws during development. This is where SAST comes in. Here are 5 top reasons why organizations should leverage sast( static application security testing):
1. Find Security Issues Early
Static application security testing (SAST) has the unique ability to analyze source code for vulnerabilities even before the code is compiled or deployed. Developers are able to run SAST scans on their code as they are writing and developing it. This allows any security issues to be identified at the earliest possible stage in the development process.
Finding vulnerabilities early, during development, is extremely beneficial as it makes fixes much simpler and cheaper to implement. If an issue is caught during development, the developer only needs to make a small code change before moving on. However, if a bug slips through to production, it can be significantly more difficult and costly to fix. It may require rolling back code deployments, more extensive testing, and involve other teams like operations as well.
With SAST, developers get automated feedback directly within their IDE or workstation on any potential security weaknesses in their code. As they write code, SAST runs in the background and highlights exact lines that need to be addressed. This enables developers to shore up security before their code is promoted to staging and production. It prevents costly remediation efforts down the line after vulnerabilities are potentially exploited. Early detection of issues translates to massive savings in remediation time and resources for an organization.
2. Reduce Risk of Data Breaches
In today’s world, data breaches have become all too common. When a breach occurs, it can do irreparable damage to a company’s reputation and finances. What’s worse is that many breaches stem from vulnerabilities that were known about for a long time but never addressed. Static application security testing (SAST) helps solve this problem by proactively identifying vulnerabilities before attackers can take advantage.
SAST works by automatically scanning application source code for the top security flaws known to be exploited by cyber criminals. Things like SQL injection, cross-site scripting, broken authentication, and sensitive data exposure are exactly what attackers target to steal valuable customer information. By checking for these issues early, often referred to as the OWASP Top 10, SAST aims to close entry points before the bad guys can get in.
Rather than playing catch-up after a breach, SAST allows organizations to take a preventative approach. Development teams can fix flaws right away, even before they have a chance to manifest. This translates to a drastic reduction in risk over the long run. With continuous SAST monitoring, any new vulnerabilities introduced as code evolves are also caught immediately. The end result is more secure applications that keep customer data safe from theft or abuse. SAST is a powerful way to stop data breaches before they happen.
3. Improve Developer Productivity
Developers play a crucial role in building secure applications, but they also work under immense pressure to rapidly develop new features and functionality. Manual security testing can be a time-consuming process that slows down the development cycle. This is where SAST proves to be extremely helpful. By automating the security checking process, SAST takes a lot of workload off the developers’ shoulders. Instead of developers spending hours pen testing their code, SAST runs automated scans in the background as code is being written.
This parallel testing has no impact on development speed. Once a scan is complete, developers simply review the clear and precise SAST results to address any issues. With SAST pinpointing the location of vulnerabilities, fixes can be implemented with minimal effort compared to manual testing. SAST also ensures security is considered concurrently while coding, rather than as an afterthought. This integrated approach weaves security into the fabric of development.
4. Ensure Compliance
Data security and privacy are heavily controlled in today’s environment. Businesses are required to abide by industry norms and laws on the handling of personal data, including credit card information, personal health information, and user data. Reputational damage and large fines may follow noncompliance. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for healthcare organizations, and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for any business handling EU citizen data are a few of the major compliance frameworks that businesses frequently have to abide by.
Adequate security measures must be ingrained in your systems and procedures from the beginning in order to be compliant. Here’s when SAST comes in handy. SAST verifies that the applications have been designed securely in accordance with best practices by searching the application code for vulnerabilities. It finds problems that can jeopardize compliance, such as input validation gaps, cross-site scripting vulnerabilities, hard-coded credentials, etc.
5. Continuous Monitoring
Applications are always changing in the fast-paced software development environment of today due to new features, customizations, and code modifications. Because of this ongoing evolution, application security is likewise evolving. Anything that was safe today may be unsafe tomorrow if updates create new vulnerabilities or unintentionally violate defenses that were in place.
The capacity of SAST to continually scan the source code of an application gives development teams real-time visibility into how modifications are affecting the security posture of an application. SAST automatically analyzes code when developers send modifications to testing branches, reporting any newly found vulnerabilities. This makes it possible to proactively address problems prior to the modifications being combined and put into use.
Any firm that takes application security seriously has to have static application security testing. SAST reduces risk, increases productivity, ensures compliance, and finds bugs early on, all of which contribute to increased security and lower costs. It’s time to take advantage of SAST and give your apps and company long-term security benefits.