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What is Application Vulnerability Correlation and Why Does it Matter?

DevSecOps

Publish Date

May 28, 2021

Written by

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ZeroNorth

Tagged with

  • Vulnerability Correlation

As applications become more complex, and attack vectors grow more sophisticated, the critical importance of comprehensive software security testing emerges. These days, application testing has become synonymous with risk mitigation, as organizations continue to embrace security at all stages of the software development life cycle (SDLC). This effort includes automation, which helps to reduce the labor of testing and ensures applications are secured without impacting velocity.

But it’s not so easy. A variety of different application security (AppSec) tools, both open source and commercial, are necessary for comprehensive application testing, invoked at different stages of the SDLC. From SCA to SAST to DAST to IAST tools, each one has its own strengths and weaknesses. As a result, businesses moving toward true DevSecOps practices most likely have multiple tools integrated into their CI/CD pipelines to get the security coverage they need. While it’s true automation can help with security, efficiency and the reduction of manual labor, it is not a fix-all for managing the copious results yielded from a wide range of AppSec testing tools. For developers working overtime to make sense of data from disparate tools, this challenge is real. And when it’s not done right, organizational risk skyrockets.

What is AVC?

This is where application vulnerability correlation (AVC) comes in. Defined, AVC is an AppSec workflow and process management tool that works to streamline SDLC application vulnerability remediation by incorporating findings from a variety of security-testing data sources into a centralized tool. Put another way, AVC tools accelerate the remediation of vulnerable applications by fully automating the flow between testing tools, centralized application security functions and the many development teams that fix security defects. By automating what is now an all-too manual process, AVC tools enable security teams to have more impactful conversations with development teams.

This exchange between AppSec and DevOps allows developers to focus on the most critical vulnerabilities while still maintaining the speed and innovation they need. This workflow automation is even more important with increasing adoption of approaches such as DevOps, Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD). Without it, development teams are slowed by security best practices and vulnerabilities persist.

While not everyone uses the term AVC, it does provide a common language between teams (as well as among end-users and customers) who are looking to understand the nuances of such technologies.

What can AVC do?

An AVC tool presents a possible solution to these problems. It can correlate and consolidate different results across static, dynamic and code composition analysis. This gives engineering teams a more in-depth understanding of the bug or flaw, during runtime and as code. As tools tend to also have commonly recognized flaws, but varied naming conventions, the tool should be able to de-duplicate these flaws and provide a unique result. This eliminates the need for manual aggregation of scan results from multiple sources.

An AVC tool should also be able to provide risk prioritization. By combining different risk scores from various tools, it can rate them based on industry standards and provide data that is both usable and actionable. This ability clears away the white noise of duplicate findings, highlights where security attention is needed and speeds remediation efforts.

Most developers already use a defect tracking tool, such as Jira, in the DevOps pipeline. A good AVC could use these results to reduce manual involvement by flagging potential issues. Raising these concerns in defect trackers increases AppSec visibility for the engineering team and allows them to prioritize security issues, finding and fixing them faster—and with less cost. Further, an AVC report provides actionable, reliable information, the kind developers need to remediate vulnerabilities presenting the most risk.

How does ZeroNorth fit in?

ZeroNorth improves AppSec performance, reduces risk and furthers the journey to true DevSecOps. Our DevSecOps platform provides the type of automation and orchestration teams need to properly address security by integrating AppSec directly into the CI/CD pipeline. With capabilities that include, but extend beyond those of niche AVC solutions, ZeroNorth correlates and consolidates multiple results and provides comprehensive visibility (complete with granular drill-down) to guide prioritized remediation. Beyond this, ZeroNorth provides central management of these tools; delivers integrated open source security scanning capabilities; and enables companies to seamlessly integrate results into DevOps pipelines.

This type of seamless integration and orchestration of AppSec tools within DevOps pipelines provides consistent, repeatable scanning at scale, without changing existing workflows or impeding productivity.

In addition, ZeroNorth’s analytics and reporting provide businesses with enterprise-level visibility that delivers a single source of true on AppSec risk.

In short, ZeroNorth brings security, DevOps and the business together to improve application security performance and reduce organizational risk. The company’s DevSecOps platform unites enterprises to rapidly identify, prioritize and remove the vulnerabilities standing in the way of software excellence. In an age where the security of applications needs to be everyone’s responsibility, ZeroNorth is where organizations come together for the good of software. For more information, contact us directly or visit our website.


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