To improve DevSecOps, set application security priorities

The 18th-century philosopher Voltaire once said, “Perfect is the enemy of good.”

If you try to make software perfect, not only will you fail, but you’ll never bring a product to market.

In the world of application security, this means setting priorities. Fix the biggest problems. Eliminate the worst threats.

Thanks to the expanding DevSecOps movement, this message is being heard and embraced by security leaders.

But what should application security leaders prioritize? At Synopsys, we help AppSec leaders answer this question on a daily basis. According to our experts, here are three places to start.

Priority: Secure open source software

Open source is no more or less secure than proprietary or commercial software. And fixing open source vulnerabilities is often as simple as patching or upgrading. But without an inventory of your open source, or a software bill of materials (BOM), you’re likely to miss an update or patch for a vulnerability. In short, you can’t secure what you don’t know you have.

It is impossible to comb through thousands of software components and dependencies to compile a list manually. But a software composition analysis (SCA) tool integrated into your DevSecOps workflow can flag both known security vulnerabilities and potential licensing conflicts and create a BOM automatically.

Having a BOM also offers a long-term benefit: When you find that a component has a critical security vulnerability, you’ll be able to find out immediately which applications are affected.

Priority: Prevent weaknesses that cause vulnerabilities

Open source is not the only risk, of course, which is why other application security tools are necessary in your DevSecOps pipeline. Among the most crucial is static analysis, or SAST, which helps find defects and weaknesses in code before they become vulnerabilities. The trick is making it easy for developers to fix mistakes as they’re coding, rather than days later.

Think of it as a version of spell-check. Your mistakes are flagged immediately, making it easier, faster, and ultimately cheaper to check in code that is free of significant defects.

Priority: Fix significant defects

The last, but not least, application security priority in DevSecOps: “significant” defects. Since it’s not possible to eliminate every risk, your goal should be to eliminate the most serious ones.

A platform such as Polaris Software Integrity PlatformTM integrates results from several types of tests to provide a holistic view of risk across the software development lifecycle. This gives developers a guide to severity and identifying high-risk defects.

All of which leads to accomplishing the achievable and necessary goal: Making the secure way to develop software the easier way.

Learn more about navigating the intersection of DevOps and security

Taylor Armerding, Synopsys

Synopsys Software Integrity Group helps development teams build secure, high-quality software, minimizing risks while maximizing speed and productivity. Synopsys, a recognized leader in application security, provides static analysis, software composition analysis, and dynamic analysis solutions that enable teams to quickly find and fix vulnerabilities and defects in proprietary code, open source components, and application behavior. With a combination of industry-leading tools, services, and expertise, only Synopsys helps organizations optimize security and quality in DevSecOps and throughout the software development life cycle. Learn more at

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