Knowing your Vulnerabilities: The Importance of Regular Security Scans in Code

Concerns about having your website or critical business software hacked isn’t new. Since the dawn of the internet, online security has been a problem, whether it’s stolen information, ransomware, phishing, malware or virus’s, most of us have heard of and are aware of the threats that exist. 

Security is the number one feature of the majority of hosting companies, whether onsite or cloud, and other than speed is the key deciding factor for most Business Owners or CTOs when choosing a partner. However, for many businesses this is where their security understanding starts and finishes, with a mis-interpretation that because their server has a firewall their code is protected. Unfortunately this isn’t the case, one of the most important aspects to code security falls within the code itself and any dependencies or connections your code has with other components or services. 

One of the foundational pillars of a robust security strategy is the regular scanning of your codebase. In this article, we delve into the significance of routine security scans and explore the key elements that some renowned security scanners like Black Duck, Snyk and Semgrep scrutinize to fortify your code against potential threats. 

Why Regular Security Scans Matter:

1. Proactive Vulnerability Detection:

Regular security scans act as a proactive measure to identify vulnerabilities in your code before they can be exploited by malicious parties. By adopting a preemptive stance, you fortify your software against potential threats that could compromise data integrity, user privacy, or overall system stability. By having a proactive approach you are also able to work more closely with your development team or partner to collaborate on identifying and understanding potential security vulnerabilities as they arise. This doesn’t need to mean that you are taking over, but means you can share access to regular security scan results and discuss their priority in conjunction with your ongoing development roadmap.

2. Compliance Assurance:

In many industries, adherence to regulatory standards is not just a best practice; it’s a legal requirement. Regular security scans help ensure compliance with industry-specific regulations, safeguarding your business from potential legal and financial ramifications. This is particularly important when your business software rely’s on 3rd party open source components. You may have full confidence that your own code is fully secure and compliant, but if you are using an open source component that hasn’t been kept up to date then this will have the same impact on your compliance as if your own code was compromised. 

3. Safeguarding Reputational Capital:

A security breach not only jeopardizes your data and operations but can also inflict severe damage to your brand’s reputation. Regular scans serve as a vigilant guardian, protecting your company’s reputation by identifying and addressing security vulnerabilities promptly. While there are never any guarantees that your systems cannot be breached, if the worst should happen, being able to display that you had all the available tools in place to mitigate any security issues also goes to maintaining your reputation. On the flip side, if you have no processes inplace for regular checks and you experience a security breach then you are more likely to shoulder the blame and experience reputational damage.

What do the likes of Black Duck, Snyk and Semgrep look for in code security scans?

1. Known Vulnerabilities:

In the context of code security ‘known vulnerabilities’ refer to well-documented and recognized weaknesses or flaws in software that have been identified and reported by security researchers, developers, or the software community. These vulnerabilities are documented in databases and repositories, making them “known” to the public. Security professionals actively track and share information about these vulnerabilities to help developers and organizations address and patch potential security risks in their software. Security scanners meanwhile, meticulously check for known vulnerabilities within your codebase. Black Duck, for instance, uses these extensive databases of known vulnerabilities and cross-references your code against it to identify potential risks.

2. License Compliance:

License compliance refers to the adherence to the terms and conditions specified in the software license agreement associated with a particular piece of software or code. Software licenses outline the legal permissions, restrictions, and obligations governing the use, distribution, and modification of the software.

When you are working with open-source or proprietary software, it’s crucial to understand and comply with the terms of the software license. What security scanners like Snyk do is scan every open-source library being used in your codebase and alert you to any potential issues, such as you using an outdated version of the software or needing to review your implementation. 

Beyond security concerns, Black Duck also checks for license compliance. Ensuring that your code adheres to licensing requirements is crucial for legal and regulatory compliance.

3. Code Patterns and Anomalies:

Within a code repository you will likely have different blocks of code, each with relationships to other areas of the code repository. When discussing potential security risks within code patterns we are referring to specific structures, sequences, or behaviours in the source code that might indicate security vulnerabilities or deviations from secure coding practices. Security tools, like Semgrep, analyze these patterns and anomalies to identify potential security risks or issues that may lead to vulnerabilities in the software. Analyzing code patterns and anomalies is a proactive approach to identifying and mitigating security risks early in the development process. By recognizing patterns associated with vulnerabilities or anomalies that deviate from secure coding practices, developers can address potential issues before they become security threats.

Where does The Code Registry come in?

If you’ve got this far you’re probably thinking, yep this sounds great I should definitely implement some kind of process around regular security scans on my code. The main issue for most leaders, whether you are CEO, CTO, Digital Manager or Investor, is that implementing any of these security tools is incredibly complicated. What tends to happen is that this type of security scanning is left down to your development team or partner and you rely & trust that the scans are being done and reviewed regularly. 

This is completely normal and most development agencies, developers or IT teams will have their own preferences on tools and methods of reviewing security. However, as the person ultimately accountable for your business software it’s important for you to have full visibility independently from the development process. 

That’s where The Code Registry comes in. Within our platform of code intelligence and analysis we’ve taken the best of what Black Duck, Snyk and Semgrep do and implemented them into our easy to use dashboard meaning there is literally no configuration or implementation needed from you. 

The minute you sign-up and create your code vault, our platform will perform a full security scan covering over 4,000 different rules and databases to ensure you know all of the potential issues within your code and dependencies. Not only that, once you set your replication schedule The Code Registry’s analysis will re-scan your code vault and compare any changes vs the previous version – allowing you to work with your development team or partner on improving and resolving any potential issues in a collaborative way.

Sign up and try it

Whether you are a CEO, CTO, PM or Digital manager, we guarantee that The Code Registry’s suite of tools and AI assistant will not only give you the peace of mind through knowing your code is being regularly checked for security threats, but will also empower you to make better decisions, save time and money in the long run. It is not only a tool to simply run code reviews, through a single account you can sync as many projects and code repositories as you need and monitor and analyse them ongoing. Just think, one place to be alerted of any new security vulnerabilities across all your projects? One place to review your teams output? 

Set your own schedules within each project in-line with your development processes and compare versions to track changes and then present back to your clients. Showcasing your value and transparency, building trust and better working relationships. 

Want to Learn More?

Our simple sign-up process takes less than 5 minutes, once we’ve replicated your code and created your dedicated IP Code Vault you’ll be able to start understanding more about your code immediately! Why not book a non obligation demo today to see our platform in action.

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