AppSec Consolidation for Developers: Why You Should Care
With the increasing pressure to streamline application security (AppSec), you may be hearing a lot about consolidation these days. What is consolidation? Why is everyone talking about it? And why is it important for developers to get involved in this conversation?
At its simplest, consolidation means streamlining your existing AppSec activities, practices and solutions to minimize complexity and reduce resource inefficiencies. This process also allows organizations to consolidate all their application security testing into one or a few dashboards, which provides a clear, accurate and actionable picture of your software risk.
Recent survey results from the Enterprise Strategy Group, “Cracking the Code of DevSecOps” found that over 70% of organizations surveyed currently use more than 10 application security testing (AST) solutions, which makes a move to fewer vendors and products very appealing. Gartner further backed this finding, noting that 75% of organizations in its survey were pursuing vendor consolidation in 2022, as opposed to 29% in the 2020 edition of the survey.
What’s Driving Consolidation?
Complicated and messy AppSec programs are yielding a three-fold problem: unquantifiable or unknowable levels of risk for the organization, ineffective resource management and excessive complexity. This combined effect leaves enterprises with a fragmented picture of total risk and little useful information to help them strengthen their security posture.
Let’s look more closely at the three key drivers pushing organizations toward consolidation and how they might affect development.
Security tool proliferation results in higher expenses for an organization’s overall IT stacks in terms of licensing, support and maintenance. Managing various tools makes it more difficult for development to deploy, manage and become adept in a variety of UIs, which hinders productivity and often causes delays in development cycles. Since many of these tools have features that are comparable to or overlap with one another, security teams are more likely to miss key findings, which makes testing and remediation efforts ineffective.
An increase in the number of security tools leads to an increase in the number of security tests, which in turn translates to an increase in the number of results. This creates a vicious cycle that adds complexity to the AppSec environment that is both unnecessary and avoidable. Most of the time, these results are stored in their respective point tools. As a result, developers frequently receive duplicate issues as well as remediation guidance that is ineffective or lacking context, causing them to waste critical time and resources. Without consolidated and actionable outcomes, it is impossible to avoid duplication of findings and remediation actions.
The proliferation of security tools also contributes to the fragmentation of the risk picture. Because crucial security results are stored in a variety of point tools, there is no single source of truth. As a result, it is practically impossible for security teams or stakeholders to determine a comprehensive picture of the risk posed by an application or to the organization as a whole. Those responsible for security lack a straightforward approach that enables them to comprehend their risk posture at any given moment.
The Benefits of Consolidation
- Reduce AppSec complexity. As developers, you’re on the front lines of the increased workloads that accompany tooling proliferation. It’s up to you to manage, maintain and integrate various tools into your existing setups while also attempting to keep your strategic development operations from being affected. Organizations are able to limit complexity and lessen pressure on development when there are fewer tools to manage and less strain placed on management.
- Gain visibility into risk posture and improve it. Tool proliferation makes it more difficult to identify and prioritize vulnerabilities because it requires engineers to deduplicate and sort through mountains of false positives. By replacing more tools with correct tools that provide a single trustworthy source of truth and a comprehensive and actionable view of risk, organizations can streamline developer workloads and increase AppSec efficiency.
- Remove the demand on organizations to manage vendors. For businesses, having fewer contracts and the accompanying licensing expenses makes sense. However, for software developers, having fewer vendors means you can reduce the amount of time spent on maintenance and patching, as well as expedite the process of integrating tools throughout the software development life cycle.
How to Evaluate Your Vendor for Consolidation
When considering the scope of a consolidation effort, solution viability is clearly an important criterion. Given the complexity of existing development environments, organizations should weigh various considerations when evaluating vendors. The right vendor is one that can grow and adapt as your organization matures, allowing you to realize the cost-of-ownership benefits stemming from your consolidation initiative. Considerations should include:
- Vision: Will the vendor evolve its portfolio to keep pace with changing development techniques and threats?
- Coverage: Does the vendor offer solutions that can be readily adopted by development but still serve security teams? Does the vendor have a portfolio of strong AST tools, so you aren’t sacrificing functionality in any core technology?
- Staying power: Does the vendor have the staying power to allow an organization to realize its anticipated return on investment?
- Flexibility: Will the vendor provide flexible pricing and licensing to enable the organization to expand at its own pace?
- Openness: Does the vendor have the capability to roll up test findings from many products, providing a consistent view into software risk and prioritized findings?
Consolidation with Synopsys
Static application security testing (SAST), dynamic application security testing (DAST) and software composition analysis (SCA) are the “big three” application security areas in which Synopsys provides market-leading solutions. Our open ecosystem provides you with a one-stop partner for application security as well as the ability to use the tools you already have within your development pipelines.