When it comes to creating code, developers work mostly with language and build upon their skills to a complex degree. It takes a lot of time and dedication to become a skilled coder to deliver applications at the speed which many organizations expect. 

This can lead to security taking a backseat, which results in more attacks throughout applications. Applications that use open-source elements are at a higher risk of being targeted by cybercriminals due to how they can be easier to infiltrate. 

Using open-source components can help developers work faster, but it also poses a set of risks that must be considered. This post covers some of the main ways that organizations are successfully improving their open-source security.

By the end, you’ll be feeling more assured about some of the best ways that you can implement open-source security tactics. 

Using SCA Strategies

SCA (Software Composition Analysis) helps companies create a plan of action when it comes to using open-source elements securely. When it comes to selecting and using open-source components, there are a few key factors to take into consideration. 

One of these factors involves thoroughly vetting the code. Security teams and developers can achieve this by using resources that are publicized to find common vulnerabilities. You may also want to consider carrying out tests and creating analysis reports on any security flaws that are found within the code.

This provides companies with a better idea about the flaws contained within the code so that they can fix it before using it. 

Companies should also ensure that the open-source code that they’re using has documentation regarding the licensing. If you find that open-source code doesn’t include licensing, it could make matters complicated when it comes to copyright laws. 

There are some open-source licenses that require demands for you to be able to use them. Other types of open-source code are more lenient and allow you to use it as you please. So be sure to check the licensing involved with open-source code before you use it. 

You can find open-source providers that give you support, often in the form of an additional subscription. It’s important to consider whether you need this extra support from the provider or if you want to hire a separate company to handle the support. Either way, be sure that developers have a clear understanding of the support policies that you put in place. 

Defining Processes For Action

Creating a process when using open-source elements helps your company to put a plan into action. One of the first steps to achieve this involves using open-source elements that are already in line with your company. 

This can be a more efficient way for developers to work with open-source elements as they already know that the licenses involved are approved and adhere to the guidelines of the company. 

It’s also a good idea to seek legal advice when it comes to looking at licenses for open-source projects. This helps developers feel more confident when it comes to making decisions about approving or denying open-source code. 

Organizations should also clearly document the necessary steps involved when it comes to dealing with a security risk. This ensures that developers and security teams know the first steps that must be taken when they receive confirmation of a security risk. They can then work systematically to remediate the issue. 

Create An Inventory 

Creating an inventory helps organizations get a better idea about what needs to be secured and where said items are located. Without having an inventory, it makes things a lot more difficult when security breaches occur as companies aren’t exactly sure of how secure their components were, to begin with. 

All of your open-source elements need to be included in your inventory. The locations in which they were downloaded are information that should be included in the inventory, as well as the libraries that the code is connected to. 

Having an open-source inventory helps developers identify what elements require securing the most so that they can prioritize components for better security. 

Complying To Open-Source Guidelines

Before you start using open-source elements, you must know whether they comply with licenses. If not, you could be putting the company at risk of legal problems and you may face issues when it comes to dealing with intellectual property. 

Developers should be in the habit of checking that the open-source code that they want to use adheres to guidelines. In addition to this, the open-source elements must be up-to-date. If they’re outdated, they may be vulnerable to weaknesses that could impact the rest of the application. 

Furthermore, developers should be able to assess the quality of the open-source code before they begin using it. Open-source code of a low standard can also jeopardize applications. 

Implement Policies

Companies that don’t have open-source policies put themselves in a poor position to effectively deal with risks. It’s common for organizations to have a board of people whose responsibility it is to monitor how open-source elements are being used within the company. 

Developers can also turn to this board of people if they’re unsure about the policies of an open-source project that they’re working on. It helps to mitigate legal issues whilst also ensuring that the open-source code being used aligns with the right policies and prevents you from using vulnerable elements. 

Use Databases

Databases can be a great resource for developers to turn to if they’re unsure about vulnerabilities within open-source software. The NVD (National Vulnerability Database) is a commonly used database that includes public details about vulnerabilities in open-source code. 

Databases like this can be used as a good guideline to check if open-source software is safe. Having said that, databases like this don’t always receive the newest security risks. This can make it tricky to go off of their reports alone which means you should use databases as a resource instead of relying on it completely when carrying out open-source code risk assessments. 

Conclusion

Cybercriminals try to infiltrate applications by looking at the easiest methods first, and open-source software is one of those easier targets. Therefore, you want to make sure to keep your open-source elements as secure as possible to make it difficult for hackers to exploit.

Hopefully, the details found in this post have provided you with some insight into how you can go about managing your open-source security software.