What is Software Composition Analysis?

Open source software undoubtedly has its advantages. Software Composition Analysis manages to provide an automated solution for the detection of open source components.

The Composition Analysis software (SCA for short) is part of a comprehensive application security test and detects and manages the use of open source components. This has become all the more important for modern software developers because the demands of industry on developers have changed in recent years.

Fast and reliable applications can only be operated under the changed time requirements if the code no longer has to be completely regenerated. Libraries have simplified this process and an estimated 60 to 80 percent of all applications rely on open source components to some extent.

However, this use must also be appropriately monitored and managed in order to ensure functionality and security on the one hand and compliance with license terms on the other. Depending on the scope of the OS components in an application, manual administration can be too time-consuming; automated methods are much more efficient in this case.

A software composition analysis does exactly this and logs, tracks and integrates open source components into the code of an application.

Benefits of the Composition Analysis software

The inventory

  • Bill of Materials:The Bill of Materials (BoM) is a software parts list that contains all components, their version numbers and the license types for each component. As such, it is the basis to enable a better assessment of the status of software and possible security risks.
  • Open Source Tracking:In the next step, Software Composition Analysis tracks all open source components in containers, in the code, in the subcomponents, the dependencies and in their modified variants.

The further possibilities of SCA:

Correct licensing: License Compliance collects important information on the license and use for each open source component. In practice, this ensures that developers use program components in accordance with their released license and that the software authors’ attribution rights are observed.

Security vulnerabilities: The main function of Software Composition Analysis is to identify known security vulnerabilities in open source components used. Depending on the scope of the selected SCA solution, developers can not only identify weak points and critical gaps, but also define whether their own code uses the corresponding weak point and whether fixes are available. This also applies to libraries and components that require updates or patches to ensure full functionality.

Proactive monitoring: For most application scenarios it is advantageous to choose a software composition analysis whose use allows proactive and continuous monitoring. This means that updates and patches can be integrated quickly and newly discovered security gaps can be eliminated.

Software Composition Analysis – now a necessity in IT

Due to the widespread use of open source components in almost all programs, developers have to find simple solutions to ensure security and functionality and to protect companies and their users.

Modern software composition analysis software is geared towards the increased use of open source, even at critical points, and not only provides inventory, management and monitoring, but in many cases also automatic correction of all weak points. After all, it’s no longer just about tracking down weaknesses and license errors, but also about prioritization and automatic cleanup. The best-known SCA solutions include, for example, Black Duck by Synopsys, Veracode, Checkmarx, CAST Highlight or FOSSA.

Software Composition Analysis Guide

Software Composition Analysis Guide