Software development is on the rise like never before, and this rise is only reaching new heights with every passing day. Because people rely more and more on technology, this has created a need for more and more services in today’s digital economy that people can use to make their lives easier, whether it’s through accessing websites or downloading mobile applications.
There are numerous factors that have accelerated the growth of the software development industry as a whole. Although all of these can’t be accounted for in a single article, some of these include the introduction of new technologies, practices, ad methodologies. Moreover, there are third-party solution providers like GitHub, JFrog, Zoho, and Ombori Grid, among countless others, that have given software development operations the push they need.
Another factor that has really contributed to the accelerated pace of software development is the integration of Open-source Software (OSS) with software applications that are being developed, to the extent that it’s been reported that 97% of applications are leveraging open-source components in one form or the other.
Open-source software refers to software that is present on the internet for anyone to download along with its source code and use, modify, or enhance. Developers use open-source software and integrate these with the software applications they are developing.
Utilizing open-source software comes with many benefits. For starters, it saves developers a lot of time since bespoke solutions take a lot more time to build. This, consequently, also reduces costs.
Practices to Use Open-Source Components More Securely:
Regardless of the benefits, there are some risks involved with utilizing open-source components in developing software projects. Especially when it comes to cybersecurity. However, there are some practices that can help to mitigate these risks:
- Software Supply Chain Security:
Prior to coding the entire application, it’s necessary to check for vulnerabilities within the entire software supply chain. Since the adoption of open-source components has only enhanced the concept of modularity in software development, it’s important to check all modules for security through thorough testing and understand how they all connect with each other.
- Automated Enforcement Policies:
One of the biggest disadvantages of using open-source components is that it leaves the control of these components to the contributors. This, of course, poses cybersecurity threats of various levels. The way around it is to introduce internal security policies that are focused on scanning these components and make sure these are implemented throughout the software development lifecycle.
- Leverage the Use of SCA Tools:
Using Software Composition Analysis (SCA) tools is a great way to secure software applications that have been built using open-source software. The most notable thing about SCA is it can quickly track and run analyses on external components that are part of the software application. This includes any security vulnerabilities as well as dependencies and support libraries; SCA tools can trace these very quickly.
The process of cloning open-source code prior to making modifications is referred to as forking. Code changes can be tracked through this practice, which means version histories of the changes made are available. However, it also separates the modified code from the original one. Forking also empowers developers to leverage one of the top benefits of utilizing open-source software, i.e., customizing existing source code to tailor to a software application.
- Implementing Security Management Tools:
There are quite a few security management solutions that can further enhance cybersecurity when it comes to software development. Some of these specialize in scanning open-source software and, in return, provide things like a “software bill of materials”. This can allow developers to cater to vulnerabilities in the code by viewing all open-source components and dependencies within a software project.
Such security management tools also run a line of defense when it comes to open-source license compliance. This allows software development teams to ensure the software they’re using is compliant with the internal policies they have drafted and implemented within an organization.
Deploying applications with the use of open-source software is definitely a trend that will keep on for years to come. Primarily due to the ease of use it provides developers with, as well as saving time and additional costs. However, it is very important to make sure that the right cybersecurity practices are adhered to in order to ensure there aren’t any security breaches. By using these techniques, development teams can safeguard themselves against the rising security threats of today.