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Less Than Fifty Percent of Third Party Code Tested for Quality and Security in Development, Study Shows

Coverity, a company that helps developers reduce defects and increase security in their software, announced the results of its “Software Integrity Risk Report” today.

Coverity, a company that helps developers reduce defects and increase security in their software, announced the results of its “Software Integrity Risk Report” today.

According to the study, the majority of companies source software code from multiple third parties and this code is not tested for quality, safety and security with the same rigor as in-house developed software. Disturbingly, when respondents were asked to rank the top items that are driving their quality related initiatives, only 13 percent listed security initiatives as a top item.

The study was conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Coverity, and surveyed 336 software development influencers in North America and Europe on current practices and market trends for managing software quality, security and safety.

Highlights from the report include:

• More than 90 percent of respondents confirmed they use third party supplied code from commercial vendors, outsourced teams, or open source providers

• More than 40 percent of respondents cited that problems from third party code resulting in product delays or recalls, security vulnerabilities, increase in development time, and revenue impact have caused them to seek greater visibility into code integrity

• Roughly 65 percent of companies say that customer satisfaction is impacted by software defects, while 47 percent believe time-to-market is also impacted by software defects

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The research study also highlights the gaps between testing internally developed code and third party software:

• Only 44 percent of companies conduct automated code testing during development for third party code, compared to 69 percent that use automated code testing for internally developed software

• Only 35 percent of companies conduct risk, security or vulnerabilities assessments for third party code, compared to 70 percent of companies deploying these methods on their internally developed software

• Only 35 percent of companies apply manual code review to third party supplied software, compared to 68 percent who perform manual code review on internally developed code

• Quality assurance gaps were also indicated with 51 percent of respondents stating they perform automated functional, load and unit testing for supplied software, compared to 75 percent who apply these QA testing methods to internally developed software

The research seems to indicate a skewed risk–to-responsibility culture forming around software development practices:

• In nearly one out of every two cases, the buyer side is held 100 percent responsible for quality and security issues found in third-party code, compared to one in every ten cases where the third party supplier is held 100 percent accountable

• The study also confirmed that developers are taking on additional responsibility with more than 74 percent of respondents stating that developers are held more accountable for quality and security goals than a year ago

“The Software Integrity Risk Report data is very telling of the drivers for change in software code accountability,” said Dave Peterson, Chief Marketing Officer at Coverity. “Today’s development teams are in a real pinch. Developers are 100 percent accountable for the outcome of their software, yet cannot control the software supplied by third parties.”

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