Software integrity and defect impacts

Wednesday 11th May 2011
Pipeline integrity. Courtesy:fabri.org

The majority of US companies source software code from multiple third parties that is not tested for quality, safety and security with the same rigor as in-house developed software. A skewed risk-to-responsibility culture is forming in development, with the software impacting on business.

Software integrity company Coverity has commissioned a “Software Integrity Risk Report,” from Forrester Consulting. This surveyed 336 software development influencers in North America and Europe on current practices and market trends for managing software quality, security and safety.

The study uncovered the significant adoption of third party code and the impact of that code on business priorities.

Highlights include:

  • More than 90% of respondents confirmed they use third party
  • supplied code from commercial vendors, outsourced teams, or open source providers
  • More than 40% of respondents cited 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% of companies say customer satisfaction is impacted by software defects, 47% believe time-to-market is also impacted by software defects

The study highlighted the gaps between testing internally developed code and third party software:

  • Only 44% of companies conduct automated code testing during development for third party code, compared to 69% that use automated code testing for internally developed software
  • Only 35% of companies conduct risk, security or vulnerabilities assessments for third party code, compared to 70% of companies deploying these methods on internally developed software
  • Only 35% of companies apply manual code reviews to third party supplied software, compared to 68% who perform this on internally developed code
  •  Quality assurance gaps were indicated as 51% of respondents state they perform automated functional, load and unit testing for supplied software, compared to 75 % who apply these QA testing methods to internally developed software.

The research also highlights skewed risk–to-responsibility culture forming in development:

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

The study confirms that developers are taking additional responsibility. More than 74 % of respondents state developers are held more accountable for Q&A and security goals than a year ago.

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

This has lead to strong demand from customers seeking control and governance over the entire software supply chain.”

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