December 5, 2023

Software development’s today landscape traveled to have a lot and took major changes, with short release cycles, developers need to rely heavily on open source to accelerate innovation. But that each open-source component included in an organization’s projects is tracked to avoid risks of legal non-compliance and to maintain a strong security posture. This tracking must be tightly integrated within each stage of the software development lifecycle.

Software Composition Analysis (SCA) is a process/method that provides visibility into the open-source components and libraries being incorporated into the software that development teams create. SCA can help manage security and license-related risks. It can help ensure that any open-source component embedded in applications meets certain standards, to avoid introducing risks that could result in a data breach, compromised intellectual property, or legal disputes.


To accomplish this, SCA tools can identify specific open-source versions, and correlate any associated security vulnerabilities and licensing information. Advanced SCA tools can automate the entire process, from detection and identification of components to vulnerability or license association and remediation of potential risks.

SCA tools inspect package managers, manifest files, source code, binary files, container images, and more. The identified open-source is compiled into a Bill of Materials (BOM), which is then compared against a variety of databases, including the National Vulnerability Database (NVD).

SCA tools can also compare BOMs against other (usually commercial) databases to discover licenses associated with the code and analyze overall code quality (version control, history of contributions, and so on). By comparing the BOM against a database, security teams can identify critical security and legal vulnerabilities and act quickly to fix them.

An SCA solution allows for the security risk management of open-source use throughout the software supply chain, allowing the security team and developers to:

  • Create an accurate Bill of Materials (BOM) for all your applications.
  • Discover and track all open sources.
  • Set and enforce policies.
  • Enable proactive and continuous monitoring.
  • Seamlessly integrate open-source code scanning into the built environment.

Choose a Software Composition Analysis Tool

  • Comprehensive open-source database
  • Broad programming language support
  • Comprehensive reports
  • Prioritization and remediation

The growing adoption of open source is enormous, and together with the publicity of recent breaches and cyber-attacks, the interest in SCA will likely rise in the coming days. The role open source is playing in fuelling digital transformation is becoming increasingly apparent and there is little to no reason to assume that these trends will change any time soon.

Organizations are using open source to help them better compete in their respective markets while at the same time there is a growing understanding that they must control this usage by managing and mitigating the accompanying risks. Only Software Composition Analysis tools that answer the key requirements listed above will help organizations successfully achieve this goal.


SCA Tools in the Market

  • Synk
  • Black Duck
  • Jfrog Xray
  • Nexus Sonatype
  • GitLab
  • NTT Application Security

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