Why Every Business Needs SAST As One Of The Components Of Their Security Program

Published on: April 16, 2024
Last Updated: April 16, 2024

Why Every Business Needs SAST As One Of The Components Of Their Security Program

Published on: April 16, 2024
Last Updated: April 16, 2024

Here is a statistic to chew on. 30,000 cyberattacks take place every day.

And it is not just individuals or small businesses that are vulnerable to them. Even protected state departments and big banks have faced them. 

As the world becomes more and more technology dependent, cybercrime is only expected to rise.

From costing USD 11.5 trillion in 2023, the number is expected to more than double to around USD 24 trillion by 2027.

This is not a sum that can be ignored. And besides the economic cost, cybercrime also has costs in terms of human distress and delays in effectively carrying out business.  

It is no wonder then that there are plenty of software testing tools available today. One of them being static application security testing (SAST), which is discussed at length here. 

What Sets SAST Apart

The unique selling point of SAST is that it can analyze the source code and spot any vulnerabilities early during the software development lifecycle.

What Sets SAST Apart

As a result, it can strengthen the programs early in the day instead of their being remediation only after a cyberattack takes place. 

This compares favorably with others like the Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST).

While SAST takes the ‘white box’ approach in that it has access to source code, DAST takes a ‘black box’ approach. It does not access the source code, instead, it spots vulnerabilities when applications are in use. 

There are other security tools as well, like the Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST) as well.

It combines both SAST and DAST in its analysis. But the fact remains that SAST can be an integral part of software security. 

Advantages Of SAST

SAST also has other advantages. The first is efficiency, arguably its most unique feature. It provides developers with feedback as the development takes place.

As a result, there is less reinvention of the wheel required, so to speak. It can also analyze the entire codebase much faster than a manual analysis can, adding to the efficiency as well.

It is also cost effective. Since SAST can spot potential vulnerabilities that can be rectified as programs are developed it saves time on correction.

By contrast, if codes were corrected after creation, it could be wasted time, effort and money. Not to mention the fact that damage might have been caused too. 

Finally, the importance of having SAST is underlined by compliance requirements. Regulations like the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard and the General Data Protection Regulation require data security provisions that can pre-empt any potential challenges. SAST meets exactly this requirement. 

How It Works

There are four key steps that comprise the SAST cycle for best results. These are as follows:

  • After a code is developed and committed to the CI/CD pipeline, SAST analyzes it for vulnerabilities. 
  • It then provides a report of these weaknesses and also suggests steps for rectification. 
  • Based on this feedback, updates are made that strengthen the program. 
  • Once the updated code is committed again, SAST analyzes it for any remaining vulnerabilities. 

Ensuring that these processes are in place is key to getting the most out of SAST. However, there are additional points to make it even more effective in code development.

Firstly, it’s essential to choose the right SAST tool. Aspects such as the language used are key in determining this. Second, it needs to be ensured that the tool is properly configured.

This can be done by defining the target outcomes for the analysis based on which the tool can be customized.

Thirdly, SAST needs to be seen as a tool of continuous application. Even if the vulnerabilities pointed out once are resolved by developers, it might be able to point out more in the future. 

SAST Is A Significant Positive Addition

SAST Is A Significant Positive Addition

The key takeaway from the discussion is that SAST is an important aspect of software security.

With cybercrime on the rise and expected to cause far more damage in the future it should not be ignored. In fact organizations and developers should integrate into their software development. 

SAST offers support through the process of code development, minimizing potential vulnerabilities.

It also processes much data and faster, making it more efficient than manual checks. Because of its efficiencies, it also ends up being a cost-effective solution to cybersecurity needs. 

In order to get the most out of SAST though, organizations need to ensure it is properly integrated into the system. Scoping out the outcomes sought from its application is an example of this.

Accordingly the tool can be customized to ensure these outcomes are met. But even before this, the right SAST tool needs to be chosen.

And finally, it’s essential to see it as a tool for continuous use to ensure better security now and in the future.

With these steps in place, SAST can be a valuable tool for any organization in ensuring that there’s least likely damage from software weaknesses. 

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Written by Allison Langstone

Allison produces content for a business SAAS but also contributes to EarthWeb frequently, using her knowledge of both business and technology to bring a unique angle to the site.