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Software Security Maturity Ticks Upward in 2017

Synopsys has released BSIMM8, the latest version of the well-known software security maturity model, along with stats on its usage that show a slight uptick in security preparedness among vertical enterprises.

The eighth iteration of the Building Security in Maturity Model (BSIMM) is based on real-world data collected from 109 firms, and describes the work of 4,769 software security professionals. Almost 300,000 developers across approximately 95,000 applications use BSIMM8 to help plan, execute and measure their software security initiatives (SSIs). Organizations can use the BSIMM to compare cybersecurity initiatives and determine which additional activities might be useful.

BSIMM8 shows that software security is becoming a critical business priority, with more organizations benchmarking their efforts early in their SSI lifecycle and using the results strategically to improve their risk posture over time. This is evidenced by a slight decrease in the average maturity score (33.1, down from 33.9 in BSIMM7) and average software security group age (3.88 years, down from 3.94 in BSIMM7) of the BSIMM population.

However, BSIMM firms mature over time. Firms that have participated in multiple BSIMM assessments show a clear trend of improvement, with scores increasing by an average of 10.3, or 33.4%. Benchmarking is an effective exercise in guiding organizations along the optimal path toward building secure software consistently.

"With the rise of widely distributed and increasingly disruptive attacks targeting vulnerable software, we're seeing a shift from the reactive 'penetrate and patch' approach toward more proactive strategies that empower organizations to build secure software systematically from the ground up," said Gary McGraw, vice president of security technology at Synopsys.

The report also shows that maturity varies by industry. Each industry prioritizes certain activities over others, and every industry and individual organization has a different path toward building security in. On average, cloud, financial services and ISV firms are more mature than firms in healthcare, IoT and insurance, the study found; and, financial services and cloud firms have notably higher scores in compliance and policy practices, while IoT firms have the most mature software environment practices.

Further, BSIMM8 indicates that firms tend to have established real software security initiatives, and that high-maturity initiatives are well-rounded—carrying out numerous activities in all 12 of the practices described by the model.

"Organizations are beginning to understand that they can mitigate risk more effectively by establishing a software security initiative, assessing their strengths and weaknesses early on through instruments like the BSIMM, and focusing their efforts on the most appropriate practices and activities,” McGraw added.


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