What is Software Composition Analysis?


Definition “Composition Analysis” What is Software Composition Analysis?

Open source software has its advantages without question. Software Composition Analysis manages to provide an automated solution for the detection of open source components.

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For reasons of software inventory and vulnerability protection, it makes sense to identify open source components in the code.For reasons of software inventory and vulnerability protection, it makes sense to identify open source components in the code.

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The software Composition Analysis (SCA) is part of an extensive application security test and detects and manages the use of open source components. This has become all the more important for modern software outsourcing developers, as the industry’s demands on developers have changed in recent years.

Under the changed time requirements, fast and reliable applications can only be operated if the code no longer needs to be completely re-generated. Libraries have simplified this process and an estimated 60 to 80 percent of all applications rely on open source components for different parts.

However, this use must also be monitored and managed accordingly in order to ensure functionality and security on the one hand and compliance with licensing regulations on the other. Depending on the scope of the OS components in an application, manual management can be too time-consuming; automated methods are much more efficient in this case.

A software Composition Analysis does just that and logs, tracks and integrates open source components into the code of an application.

Advantages of Composition Analysis software


  • Bill of Materials: The Bill of Materials (BoM) is a built-in software bill of materials that includes all components, their version numbers, and the license types for each component. As such, it is the basis for a better assessment of the status of a software and possible security risks.
  • Open Source Tracking: In the next step, Software Composition Analysis tracks all open source components in containers, code, subcomponents, dependencies and their modified variants.

The further possibilities of SCA:

Correct Licensing: License Compliance collects important license and usage information for each open source component. In practice, this ensures that developers use program components according to their approved license and that attribution rights of the software authors are respected.

Security vulnerabilities: The main function of Software Composition Analysis is to detect known vulnerabilities in used open source components. Depending on the scope of the chosen SCA solution, developers can not only identify vulnerabilities and critical gaps, but also define whether their own code uses the corresponding vulnerability and whether fixes are available. This also applies to libraries and components that require updates or patches to ensure full functionality.

Proactive Monitoring: For most application scenarios, the choice of a software Composition analysis is advantageous, whose use allows proactive and continuous monitoring. As a result, updates and patches can be quickly integrated and newly discovered vulnerabilities can be eliminated.

Software Composition Analysis – now a necessity in IT

Due to the widespread use of open source components in almost all programs, developers need to find simple solutions to ensure security and functionality and to protect companies and their users.

Modern software Composition Analysis software is geared towards the increased use of open source even at critical points and provides not only inventory, management and monitoring, but in many cases also an automatic correction of all vulnerabilities. After all, it is no longer just about detecting vulnerabilities and licensing errors, but also about prioritization and automatic cleanup. The best-known SCA solutions include Black Duck by Synopsys, Veracode, Checkmarx, CAST Highlight or FOSSA.


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