Security Experts:

New BSIMM Provides Measuring Stick for Secure Application Development Programs

Cigital announced the release of the fourth version of the Building Security In Maturity Model (BSIMM) study, gathering data from 51 security initiatives at corporations around the world.

The latest version of the study encompasses ten times the measurement data of the original one from 2009. The study is based on in-depth measurement of secure software development programs at companies such as Adobe Systems, Bank of America and SAP. This year, researchers included two new activities in their measurements – simulated software crisis and automated malicious code detection.

"The BSIMM describes what 51 leading firms actually do in their leading application security initiatives," said Gary McGraw, CTO of Cigital. "So if you wonder 'how should I approach software security for the enterprise?' all of the data you need to consider are included in the BSIMM. The BSIMM is a measuring stick that allows you to compare your own approach to those of 51 other major firms."

Of the 111 activities included in the BSIMM, there are 12 that are practiced by 63 percent of the firms that were studied. These 12 include: identifying obligations related to personally-identifiable information, performing security feature reviews and using external penetration testers.

Organizations can use the BSIMM as a measuring stick to determine where "your approach stands relative to other firms," the authors of the study state in a paper outlining the study.

 “Fidelity Investments makes use of BSIMM measurements taken over time to identify areas for improvement in our software security initiative,” said David Smith, vice president of Technology Risk Management at Fidelity, in a statement. “Access to the BSIMM Community adds additional value both when trying to get new initiatives off the ground and when working to enhance and evolve existing initiatives."

The BSIMM shows that software security initiatives worldwide are maturing and expanding, McGraw said, adding that those that are not baking in security are falling behind.

"Though we are making great progress in software security, the problem remains with us and may actually be growing," he said. "Why?  Because though we are building software with less bugs per square inch, we are making more square miles of code than ever before.  That is, we know how to build secure software, now we need to use those methods universally."