Static Code Analysis Isn’t Optional Anymore

Frank Zinghini

Founder & CEO

Your dev team already has a tool to help protect your company from cyber attack—but it may not be using it.

For most developers, checking app security with static code analysis (CA) is just a burden that eats up too much time during development. In fact, less than 22% of dev teams test the security of their applications. With tight deadlines, testing security is a luxury most developers don’t feel they have. Security is someone else’s job.

But passing the buck only leaves your company exposed to a damaging security breach.

Your business is vulnerable to cyber attack

Data breaches are increasing, and large companies such as Target, Home Depot and OPM are finding themselves in the national news, paying out hefty settlements, and suffering brand damage for their compromised data.

However, it’s the small and medium-size businesses that are in greatest danger. Smaller companies usually have fewer security measures in place—which means if you’re a small company, you’re actually more vulnerable to cyber attack. Experts are now saying that it’s not a matter of if you’ll be attacked, but when.

To be effective, application security has to be included throughout the complete development life cycle. Static CA gives you one more layer of protection in a field that’s constantly under attack.

App security is everyone’s job

Security teams are ill-equipped to handle the security of your apps on their own. Agile development makes it difficult for security teams to keep up, and because they aren’t developers, they often worry about modifying production code that could break the application.

In light of high-profile security breaches and the challenges security teams are facing, many dev teams are realizing how important—and how difficult—it is to write secure software. It’s no longer about whose job security is, but protecting your company from danger at every level.

Static CA saves time and money

While it might feel like running CA early and often puts you behind schedule, it actually keeps your rework to a minimum. If you catch a code issue early on during development, it could cost a few hours of work. But if the bug isn’t identified until the end of the development cycle, you could find yourself implementing major architecture changes at a time when you’re up against deadlines.

You can save even more time by integrating code analysis into your build process so that every time you check in anything, the CA automatically runs a check and fails the build if certain issues are detected. Run CA as soon as you have code checked in. It might mean a slower start as you correct warnings, but if you start doing it later in the process you’re more likely to excuse bad coding because you won’t want to go back and fix things you did long ago. It’s better to bite the bullet and commit to it early.

Other benefits of static code analysis

Stronger security isn’t the only benefit of running static CA. It can help improve your dev team’s coding too.

Teach new devs your company standards

If you’re working with a team of developers, CA can provide some automatic oversight into the code they’re writing and alert you if they did something unexpected. You might not have time to review everyone’s code in a given project, but code analysis—along with a style checker—can be a good first line of defense and a helpful way to teach other developers what kind of code you expect on a project.

Improve your coding skills

Code analysis can also provide suggestions that you never would have considered for improving your code. Code suggestions provide insight into the structure of the code, highlighting things that aren’t necessarily wrong, but could be optimized. Using CA like this can help you find new ways to write cleaner code or make you rethink your approach to a solution. Even if you disagree with the suggestions, it’ll show you new ways of doing things—helping to make you a smarter developer.

Looking for a great CA tool?

If you’re looking for a good tool for code analysis, we recommend Code Dx. Code Dx is a tool we developed in-house that runs a suite of CA tools. It presents a common interface, so if results come from different tools, you can see them all in the same interface.

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