Speed vs. security: how to manage digital transformation

by Camille Zara

Balancing the need for agility and efficiency in software development with growing data privacy and security concerns.

The rise of digital transformation and skyrocketing demand for web, mobile, and cloud solutions continue to push enterprises to innovate at speed and scale. That’s why many are embracing DevOps practices and virtually all are building on top of open source software components, according to the 2020 Open Source Security & Risk Analysis (OSSRA) report. However, in the face of rising data privacy and compliance concerns, it’s also important for executive leaders to be more strategic in their approach to application development and security. They need to balance business needs for agility and cost efficiency with the security and user experience expectations of their customers.

Luckily, businesses seeking to transform and differentiate using cloud, mobile, or web-based apps and services can successfully address these requirements with a little foresight and planning. “Customer expectations for the richness and reliability of their digital experience are continuously increasing,” explains Patrick Carey, senior director of market analysis and strategy for application-security leader Synopsys. “While it’s crucial that your organization’s online services be fast, reliable, and easy to use, it’s also imperative that they be secure and protect both the customer and your business.”

Innovating Securely

Finding ways to accelerate software innovation while managing these security and quality challenges is essential. Doing so requires not only putting the right technology tools in place but also putting emphasis on processes and people. A three-step approach, focusing on automated software testing, risk-based security policies and governance, and continuous education (i.e., ongoing training in cyber threats and secure development practices) can help bridge the gap, Carey explains. That’s why providers such as Synopsys, recently named a Leader in Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant for Application Security Testing,” recommend executives take a holistic view of application security.

“Transformation requires a more proactive approach than simply monitoring for and responding to cyber-attacks as they happen,” Carey says. “You need to build security into your development infrastructure, teams and processes up front.”

Fortunately, a growing range of providers like Synopsys offer a myriad of solutions that can help organizations stay ahead of hackers targeting security weaknesses in their software. For example, Synopsys’ solutions combine tools that integrate directly into the development process, with a variety of services and training offerings that help customers ensure their teams and practices are optimized to build and verify that their software is secure.   

Because most modern software combines proprietary code built internally with open source components obtained externally, Synopsys tools and services leverage a variety of security analysis techniques.  For example, its static analysis tool, Coverity, allows developers to identify security defects in their code as they write it, while its Black Duck software composition analysis tool helps developers identify and manage security and license compliance risks in open source components. Other tools like Tinfoil, Seeker, and Defensics help teams verify application security in development and production. Synopsys can also perform this analysis as a service for customers lacking sufficient in-house skills or resources.

Smart Streamlining

It’s not uncommon for development teams to be leery of application security controls due to fears that they will add complexity and hurt productivity. To address these concerns and simplify application security testing at scale, Synopsys has integrated its solutions into its cloud-based Polaris Software Integrity Platform™ which provides unified analysis, reporting, and management for development, DevOps, and security teams.  And to help those teams become more security proficient at building secure software, Synopsys integrates its eLearning training solution directly into the tools developers use every day.

The benefits of this holistic approach can be realized in organizations in virtually any market segment.  Online retailers and financial institutions can protect customer data by addressing potential software vulnerabilities before cybercriminals can exploit them. Similarly, software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers can maximize security while ensuring peak app performance.

And, companies that offer software-embedded hardware solutions, such as suppliers of telecommunications, medical or industrial control systems, can maximize reliability and safety in the field.

“While the underlying technologies are complex, the overarching goal is simple: It’s to help teams build secure, high-quality software faster,” Carey says. “It’s all about maintaining velocity while providing the tools that enterprise leaders need to identify and mitigate risk. That means not only working with security and development leaders to assess where they are today but also empowering them with the tools and skills needed to maintain security as they chart a course for tomorrow.”

To learn how you can embrace digital transformation without sacrificing speed or security, visit www.synopsys.com/software.

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