"Customers are under increasing pressure from threats that exploit security weaknesses that were either missed or insufficiently addressed during the early lifecycle phases," said Chris Whitener, chief security strategist of Secure Advantage. Whitener added that he believes HP is the first company to come to market with such a service. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]
HP has been using this service internally for more than six years and, according to Whitener, has seen a return of 5- 20-times on the cost of implementation. And this, he says, is just on things that can be measured. The service has freed up a lot of schedule time formerly spent in finding and fixing application vulnerabilities.
Many other risk-analysis programs come later in the development process, meaning that developers often miss vulnerabilities at the earliest stages of design. That brings up two problems, according to John Diamant, HP's Secure Product Development strategist, the risks associated with the vulnerabilities and the cost of patching the software.
"By addressing these vulnerabilities early in the process," Diamant said, "we're able to reduce the risk and eliminate the cost of repair."
The new service offers two main thrusts for increased security:
- A gap analysis to examine applications and identify often-missed technical security requirements imposed by laws, regulations, or best practices.
- An architectural threat analysis, which identifies changes in application architecture to reduce the risk of latent security defects. This also eliminates or lowers costs from security scans, penetration tests, and other vulnerability investigations.
While lowering development costs, using a security service early in the lifecycle can also lower the threat of security breaches, which can cost in the millions of dollars in fines and penalties, as well as the fallout in a loss of customer confidence.
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