How to go about building a SAST plan for your company?

SAST, you said?

And what's the difference between SBOM?

SAST stands for Static Application Security Testing, and it refers to the process of analyzing the source code of an application to identify potential security vulnerabilities before it is compiled and executed. SAST tools use techniques such as data flow analysis, control flow analysis, and pattern matching to identify potential security issues in the code. By identifying vulnerabilities early in the development process, SAST can help developers reduce the risk of security incidents and improve the overall security of their applications.

In contrast, SBOM stands for Software Bill of Materials. It is a list of all the components that make up a piece of software, including open source and third-party components. SBOM is designed to help organizations better understand and manage the risks associated with the use of third-party components in their software. By creating an inventory of all the components used in a particular piece of software, organizations can identify vulnerabilities and ensure that they are up-to-date with the latest security patches and updates.

The evolution of SAST has been driven by the need for more effective and efficient ways to identify security vulnerabilities in software. Early SAST tools were often limited in scope and effectiveness, but over time they have become more sophisticated and comprehensive. Today's SAST tools can analyze a wide range of programming languages and frameworks, and they are capable of identifying a wide variety of potential security issues.

Some of the key milestones in the evolution of SAST include the development of tools such as Fortify and Coverity in the early 2000s, which were among the first commercially available SAST tools. More recently, there has been a shift towards open source SAST tools, such as SonarQube and CodeQL. These tools have become increasingly popular in recent years, as more organizations have recognized the importance of SAST as a key component of their overall security strategy.

Getting buy-in from stakeholders for a new security program like SAST can be challenging, but there are several strategies that can be effective. Here are some ideas to consider:

  1. Share real-world examples: Provide examples of high-profile data breaches and security incidents that could have been prevented by the implementation of a SAST program. Use these examples to illustrate the importance of proactively identifying and remediating vulnerabilities in the codebase.
  2. Discuss the cost of vulnerabilities: Discuss the financial impact of security incidents and data breaches, including lost revenue, legal fees, and reputational damage. Explain how the implementation of a SAST program can help reduce these costs by identifying and addressing vulnerabilities before they are exploited.
  3. Demonstrate the efficiency gains: Explain how a SAST program can improve the efficiency of the development team by identifying vulnerabilities early in the development process. This can help reduce the time and cost of remediation efforts and minimize the impact on release schedules.
  4. Highlight compliance requirements: If the organization is subject to industry or government regulations, explain how a SAST program can help ensure compliance by identifying and addressing vulnerabilities that could result in non-compliance.
  5. Provide training and support: Offer training and support to the development team to help them understand the importance of SAST and how to use the tool effectively. Provide resources and guidance to help developers prioritize and remediate vulnerabilities.
  6. Collaborate with stakeholders: Work closely with developers and other stakeholders to understand their concerns and address any issues they may have with the implementation of a SAST program. Foster a collaborative approach to security that emphasizes the importance of working together to improve the security posture of the organization.

By using these strategies, security leaders can help get buy-in from stakeholders for the implementation of a SAST program. Providing real-world examples, highlighting the cost of vulnerabilities, and demonstrating the efficiency gains of a SAST program can help stakeholders understand the importance of the program and the benefits it can provide.

A 30 day plan

Day 1-3: Conduct a feasibility analysis and define scope

  • Determine the areas of the codebase where SAST will be applied
  • Assess the readiness of the development team and tools to use SAST
  • Identify the necessary resources (tools, hardware, personnel) required for implementation
  • Prepare a project plan for implementation

Day 4-7: Obtain necessary tools and infrastructure

  • Identify the best SAST tool for your needs and obtain licenses
  • Acquire any necessary hardware resources (such as additional servers or storage)
  • Set up the necessary infrastructure to run the SAST tool (such as a dedicated server or virtual machine)

Day 8-10: Configure the SAST tool

  • Configure the SAST tool according to your needs and requirements
  • Establish appropriate policies for the tool to enforce (such as maximum severity levels or specific coding standards)

Day 11-14: Train the development team

  • Educate the development team about SAST and its benefits
  • Train developers on how to use the SAST tool to identify vulnerabilities in their code
  • Train developers on how to interpret and prioritize SAST results

Day 15-21: Run the initial scan

  • Execute the SAST tool on the targeted codebase
  • Review and analyze the SAST results with the development team
  • Prioritize vulnerabilities and assign remediation tasks to the appropriate developers
  • Track progress of remediation efforts

Day 22-25: Implement continuous scanning

  • Configure the SAST tool to run continuously as part of the build process
  • Establish policies and procedures for addressing identified vulnerabilities
  • Monitor and track SAST results on an ongoing basis

Day 26-28: Evaluate the effectiveness of the SAST program

  • Review the SAST results and remediation efforts to assess the effectiveness of the program
  • Identify areas for improvement and update policies and procedures as necessary

Day 29-30: Communicate the value of SAST to stakeholders

  • Share the results of the SAST program with stakeholders to demonstrate its value
  • Encourage continued use of the SAST tool and emphasize the importance of ongoing vulnerability management

By the end of this 30-day plan, your organization will have implemented SAST as part of its development process, increasing the security posture of your codebase and reducing the risk of vulnerabilities being introduced into your applications.

How to measure if the rollout is a success?

Sure, measuring the success of the SAST rollout is important to demonstrate the value of the program to management and to identify areas for improvement. Here are some metrics that can be tracked and reported:

  1. Code Coverage: This metric measures the percentage of code that has been scanned by the SAST tool. A higher percentage indicates better coverage and a lower risk of vulnerabilities.
  2. Number of vulnerabilities found: This metric measures the number of vulnerabilities identified by the SAST tool. A decrease in the number of vulnerabilities over time indicates an improvement in the security posture of the codebase.
  3. Severity of vulnerabilities: This metric measures the severity of the vulnerabilities identified by the SAST tool. By tracking the number of high, medium, and low severity vulnerabilities, the organization can prioritize remediation efforts.
  4. Time to remediate: This metric measures the time it takes to remediate identified vulnerabilities. A decrease in time to remediate over time indicates an improvement in the efficiency of the development team in addressing vulnerabilities.
  5. Cost savings: This metric measures the cost savings resulting from the implementation of SAST. By tracking the cost of remediation efforts before and after the implementation of SAST, the organization can determine the cost savings resulting from the early identification and remediation of vulnerabilities.
  6. Training effectiveness: This metric measures the effectiveness of the SAST training provided to the development team. By evaluating the number of vulnerabilities identified and remediated by the development team, the organization can determine the effectiveness of the training.

On an ongoing basis, the organization should continue to track the above metrics to ensure the SAST program remains effective. In addition, the organization should track the following:

  1. False positives: This metric measures the number of false positives generated by the SAST tool. By reducing false positives, the development team can focus on legitimate vulnerabilities and improve the efficiency of the remediation process.
  2. Integration with CI/CD: This metric measures the integration of the SAST tool with the organization's CI/CD pipeline. By tracking the effectiveness of the SAST tool in identifying vulnerabilities during the build process, the organization can ensure the tool is integrated correctly and providing value.
  3. Adoption rate: This metric measures the adoption rate of the SAST tool by the development team. By tracking the number of developers using the tool and their frequency of use, the organization can determine the effectiveness of the SAST training and identify areas for improvement.

By tracking these metrics, the organization can ensure the ongoing effectiveness of the SAST program and demonstrate its value to management.

SAST Tools List

There are several popular open source SAST tools available. Here are some of the most widely used tools:

  1. SonarQube: SonarQube is a popular SAST tool that provides code quality analysis, code coverage, and security analysis. It supports multiple programming languages, including Java, C#, and Python.
  2. CodeQL: CodeQL is a semantic code analysis engine developed by GitHub. It supports several programming languages, including Java, C++, and Python. CodeQL is used by organizations such as Microsoft, GitHub, and Google.
  3. FindBugs: FindBugs is a Java-based open source static analysis tool that identifies potential vulnerabilities in Java code. It has been used by organizations such as Google and Red Hat.
  4. ESLint: ESLint is a JavaScript linter that provides SAST functionality. It identifies potential security issues and coding errors in JavaScript code. ESLint is widely used in the JavaScript development community.
  5. Brakeman: Brakeman is a Ruby on Rails security scanner that identifies potential security vulnerabilities in Rails applications. It has been used by organizations such as Shopify and GitHub.
  6. Bandit: Bandit is a Python SAST tool that identifies potential security issues in Python code. It has been used by organizations such as HP and Red Hat.

You can find more tools at Gitlab page where they list the SAST tools they integrate with.

It's worth noting that while these tools are open source and free to use, they still require expertise to configure and use effectively. It's important to evaluate the tool's capabilities and determine if it is a good fit for the organization's needs before implementing it.

Additionally, while it can be useful to see who is using a particular SAST tool, it's important to remember that this information may not be publicly available. Many organizations may not disclose the specific tools they are using for security reasons.

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Cloudanix Blog authored by Cloudanix Author. Read the original post at:

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