Shifting Left Means Shifting Smart: Managing Software Risk With ASPM
Natasha GuptaNatasha Gupta

Shifting Left Means Shifting Smart: Managing Software Risk With ASPM

By Natasha Gupta, Senior Security Solutions Manager, Synopsys Software Integrity Group

As organizations embrace digital transformation efforts to speed up software delivery, security practices have had to evolve. Development teams are increasingly shifting toward the software factory model—setting up a scalable framework across people, processes, and tools for standardizing how applications are developed and maintained. This has implications for how security workflows are implemented, particularly when looking at testing automation, validating security controls, and building more secure code. To keep up with the pace of modern development, application security programs need to achieve the following:

  • Enforce checks at each stage of the software development lifecycle (SDLC): Organizations need solutions that can integrate assessment, controls, remediation, and validation within pipelines to maintain continuous compliance. This includes centrally defining and enforcing policies that orchestrate testing and prioritization.
  • Provide accountability and transparency: Security and development teams need an accurate, global perspective of all applications, components, and associated security data. This context is required to understand the full scope of software risk, and the effectiveness of current security tooling and teams.
  • Connect key data sources, tools, and workflows within the existing environment: It is vital to enable a frictionless path to security adoption across multiple development teams by connecting existing tools, issue-tracking, and software delivery frameworks within a uniform user experience. This simplifies training, breaks siloes across interrelated teams, and above all, standardizes security visibility across all sources of software.

In practice, many organizations achieve these capabilities in a piecemeal fashion using a variety of tools including vulnerability management platforms, application security testing (AST) tools, and homegrown methods for issue-tracking and reporting. While these methods provide data and context on issues that are uncovered at various stages of the SDLC, they offer an assortment of snapshots that can’t be easily pieced together. The expanding threat footprint has accelerated the need for solutions that unify fragmented tools, data, and workflows to provide a holistic view of software risk. This has driven the evolution of application security posture management (ASPM).

What is ASPM?

ASPM solutions consolidate security data, visibility, and enforcement of controls across software development, deployment, and operations. They enable organizations to distill security signals across multiple sources of security data, orchestrate tooling, and view risk posture across all applications within a single management layer. According to a recent Gartner study, over 40% of organizations developing proprietary software applications will adopt ASPM by 2026 to rapidly identify and resolve application security issues. There are several key capabilities that ASPM solutions provide to accelerate security efficacy.

  • Integrates with your existing tools: Often, organizations use security tools from multiple vendors to cater to different scanning needs (SAST, SCA, IAST, DAST, API scanning, and more). Each of these tools provides their own assessment of risk, but lacks the larger context of other testing results or the business criticality of key software components and assets. ASPM solutions provide value by integrating with all third-party security and developer tooling, and normalize data from these tools to provide a single source of truth with a common risk taxonomy. This is central to how ASPM solutions provide context on vulnerable software assets, and map out visibility of all relevant issues at every stage of the SDLC.
  • Provides a way to define, manage, and enforce policies: Setting universal security policies is key to implementing guardrails which prevent issues from going downstream. ASPM solutions provide a way to specify policies which define criticality thresholds, remediation SLAs, and testing triggers to allow for a more standardized enforcement of security practices. This takes the guesswork out of security decisions and eliminates redundant testing cycles.
  • Enables teams to prioritize the right work: ASPM solutions allow you to define risk criteria to identify which security work to prioritize, and how issues should be triaged. This criteria can include context on business-critical software assets, compliance violations, and issue severity. With these capabilities, developers can eliminate unnecessary escalations and focus on the security work that matters most.
  • Provides a holistic summary of software risk: An ASPM solution provides context about where an organization’s most vulnerable software resides, whether issues have been resolved, and any policy or compliance violations. This provides a way for teams to gauge the effectiveness of their overall application security program, and enables them to audit their software accurately.

Today, most organizations understand that software risk equals business risk, and bridging the process gap between development and security teams is key to addressing that risk. With ASPM, organizations can substantially reduce the threat to their business by shifting their application security model to keep pace with modern development, and amplify the value of their existing security tooling.

About the Author

Shifting Left Means Shifting Smart: Managing Software Risk With ASPMNatasha is a Senior Security Solutions Manager at Synopsys, driving go-to-market strategy for Software Risk Manager, an Application Security Posture Management (ASPM) solution. She has worked for ten years in the cybersecurity and enterprise networking space. Prior to Synopsys, Natasha was with ServiceNow, where she managed product marketing initiatives for ServiceNow Security Operations, a SOAR platform for incident and vulnerability management.

She has also held previous roles in product marketing and software product management at Imperva and A10 Networks. Visit our company website: https://www.synopsys.com/software-integrity.html

February 1, 2024

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