Composing Effective Software Security Assurance Workflows.pdf (2.91 MB)

Composing Effective Software Security Assurance Workflows

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journal contribution
posted on 15.09.2020 by William Nichols, James D. McHale, David Sweeney, William Snavely, Aaron Volkmann
In an effort to determine how to make secure software development more cost effective, the SEI conducted a research study to empirically measure the effects that security tools—primarily auto-mated static analysis tools—had on costs (measured by developer effort and schedule) and benefits (measured by defect and vulnerability reduction). The data used for this research came from 35 projects in three organizations that used both the Team Software Process and at least one auto-mated static analysis (ASA) tool on source code or source code and binary. In every case quality levels improved when the tools were used, though modestly. In two organizations, use of the tools reduced total development effort. Effort increased in the third organization, but defect removal costs were reduced compared to the costs of fixes in system test. This study indicates that organizations should employ ASA tools to improve quality and reduce effort. There is some evidence, however, that using the tools could “crowd out” other defect removal activities, reducing the potential benefit. To avoid over-reliance, the tools should be employed after other activities where practicable. When system test cycles require expensive equipment, ASA tools should precede test; otherwise, there are advantages to applying them after system test.


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Copyright 2018 Carnegie Mellon University. All Rights Reserved. This material is based upon work funded and supported by the Department of Defense under Contract No. FA8702-15-D-0002 with Carnegie Mellon University for the operation of the Software Engineer-ing Institute, a federally funded research and development center. The view, opinions, and/or findings contained in this material are those of the author(s) and should not be construed as an official Government position, policy, or decision, unless designated by other docu-mentation. This report was prepared for the SEI Administrative Agent AFLCMC/AZS 5 Eglin Street Hanscom AFB, MA 01731-2100 NO WARRANTY. THIS CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY AND SOFTWARE ENGINEERING INSTITUTE MATERIAL IS FURNISHED ON AN "AS-IS" BASIS. CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY MAKES NO WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, AS TO ANY MATTER INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR PURPOSE OR MERCHANTABILITY, EXCLUSIVITY, OR RESULTS OBTAINED FROM USE OF THE MATERIAL. CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY DOES NOT MAKE ANY WARRANTY OF ANY KIND WITH RESPECT TO FREEDOM FROM PATENT, TRADEMARK, OR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT.