Software Composition Analysis: Key Insights Every Business Should Have


SCA, or software composition analysis, is a subset of the application security testing (AST) solutions market that focuses on how open-source components are incorporated into software systems. The SCA tools implement automated scans of an application’s code base, including related artifacts, to detect open-source components, license compliance data, and security vulnerabilities. Some SCA solutions, besides providing information on the use of open-source software, may also aid in the remediation of open-source vulnerabilities by prioritizing and automating correction processes. 

How Does Software Composition Analysis Work?

SCA solutions are intended to review an unknown codebase and record the open-source components that were used, as well as the vulnerabilities of those components and other information. The following elements will allow you to achieve this goal:

  • Scanning. An SCA tool will first scan a codebase to discover which libraries and dependencies are used by the code. The tool may generate a Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) based on the results of this scan, which details all of the open-source code used by the application.
  • Documentation. Details like a software’s version, license details, and how a program is used are all quite valuable. Once an SCA scanner has established whether sections of a codebase include open-source code, it will collect this information.
  • Vulnerability Detection. The names of afflicted software and versions, as well as any known weaknesses, are recorded in a database called “common vulnerabilities and exposures. SCA tools may detect known vulnerabilities inside an application if they are given information on the open-source libraries used and the version numbers of those libraries.
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According to Gartner’s study, sixty percent of organizations building or acquiring software for critical infrastructure will need and standardize SBOMs as part of their software engineering approach by 2025. This is up from less than 20% in 2022. According to the business, by 2024, 90% of software composition analysis tools will be able to generate and test SBOMs to aid in the safe consumption of open-source software. 

An SBOM is a list that comprises all of the software components of an application as well as their dependencies. This list is created when an SCA tool scans and analyses a code base for vulnerabilities. The SBOM may be used to maintain track of licenses and vulnerabilities for each component, and the data is checked against a variety of databases. 

By comparing the SBOM to a database, security teams may identify major security and legal flaws and take corrective action quickly. As a result, security personnel can better defend their organizations. Following that, the SCA tool will provide suggestions on how to address potentially dangerous vulnerabilities.

Software Composition Analysis Benefits 

Implementing a software composition analysis has several advantageous outcomes, including the following: 

  • Improved Security. SCA aids organizations in detecting and addressing vulnerabilities in the software they employ, minimizing the likelihood of a security breach or the loss of critical data.
  • Compliance. SCA assists companies in ensuring that they comply with legal and licensing requirements for the software they use, reducing the chance of legal challenges and penalties.
  • Better Decision-Making. SCA can help businesses in making more informed decisions about which software components to use in their applications. These decisions might be based on factors such as the degree of security, reliability, and compatibility with other software components of the software component.
  • Increased Efficiency. Since identifying and managing software components lets companies maintain and update their systems more quickly, costs go down and efficiency and productivity go up.
  • Enhanced Quality and Reliability. Software configuration analysis (SCA) may assist companies in identifying and resolving problems with individual software components, which can lead to an increase in the overall quality and reliability of the applications they develop.
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Open-source software makes up a significant component of today’s application frameworks. Software composition analysis refers to the process of automated insight into the use of open-source software (OSS) for risk management, security, and licensing compliance (SCA). It is critical in ensuring that the open-source components that developers integrate into their applications meet core security standards and do not jeopardize the company. 

Tools for software composition analysis may not only identify open-source security risks and vulnerabilities in third-party components, but they can also provide information on licensing and vulnerabilities particular to each component. By using more advanced technology that can automate the whole process of choosing open-source software, getting permission for it, and keeping an eye on it, developers can be able to save time and get better results at the same time.