Discovering Top Static Application Security Testing Tools

Static Application Security Testing

As software development accelerates rapidly, application security has become a top priority for organizations worldwide. Static Application Security Testing (SAST) tools identify vulnerabilities early during development before code is deployed to production. This in-depth article will explore some of the leading SAST solutions and how integrating them into development processes helps strengthen security.

What is Static Application Security Testing?

SAST involves analyzing application source code and binaries for flaws without executing the code. It leverages techniques like taint analysis, data flow analysis and symbolic execution to detect issues such as cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injection, and buffer overflows. SAST tools parse code to identify these vulnerabilities that could impact confidentiality, integrity or availability.

Key benefits of SAST include:

  • Finding and fixing bugs early.
  • Reducing remediation costs.
  • Supporting compliance needs.
  • Facilitating DevSecOps best practices.

While no tool can guarantee 100% protection, integrating SAST shifts security left in the SDLC for more robust applications.

Top 5 Static Application Security Testing (SAST) Tools

Static application security testing
Static Application Security Testing

Among the many options available, these five Static Application Security Testing (SAST) solutions have consistently demonstrated market leadership based on their powerful capabilities and successful implementations across diverse organizations. Each tool takes a unique approach to identifying vulnerabilities. Still, they are united in facilitating the crucial goal of shifting security efforts left in the development lifecycle through their seamless developer workflows and robust policy engines. A deeper exploration reveals their specific strengths for enhancing an application security program:

1- Veracode

As the largest SAST provider, Veracode scans over 10 million lines of code daily across binaries, APIs, libraries and custom code through comprehensive coverage. It facilitates compliance needs of regulated industries like healthcare through automated policy management. Veracode integrates with over 40 IDEs and builds servers and project-tracking tools for seamless workflows.

2- Checkmarx

Checkmarx is an industry leader known for detecting flaws with unprecedented accuracy through techniques like path-sensitive static analysis and model-based code inspection. It supports assessing multiple code versions simultaneously and finds flaws in complex codebases through deep scanning capabilities. The remediation guidance simplifies fixing even critical issues.

3- Fortify

Fortify is highly scalable and supports prominent enterprises with billions of lines of code. It detects flaws across 22 languages/frameworks through deep static and dynamic analysis. Fortify remediates flaws 400% faster than alternatives through integrated IDE guidance, strengthening security for mission-critical applications.

4- SonarQube

As one of the earliest open-source SAST platforms, SonarQube has a large ecosystem of plugins and integrations. It offers extensive custom rule development and robust policy engines. In-depth dashboards provide visibility into technical debt and compliance status.

5- Kiuwan

Kiuwan detects vulnerabilities across entire software portfolios consisting of millions of files. It provides unparalleled context into how and why each flaw occurs. Step-by-step remediation assistance accurately implements fixes. Kiuwan seamlessly integrates with over 20 IDEs, CI/CD tools and bug trackers.

These five SAST tools stand out for their comprehensive coverage, accurate detection capabilities, robust policy and compliance support, seamless developer workflows and ability to securely manage large and complex codebases. Their integrations facilitate shifting security left in the SDLC.

Choosing the Right SAST Solution

When selecting a SAST tool, key factors include available language coverage, supported frameworks, accuracy levels, scalability, pricing options, and compliance requirements. Demo the top options to assess ease of use and prioritized features.

Look for seamless developer workflows, flexible scanning options, and robust reporting capabilities. Evaluate support for custom rules, open source components analysis, and integrated remediation guidance. Comparing user reviews can help shortlist the best-fit solution aligned with your unique needs.

Streamlining Security with Seamless SAST Integration

Integrating Static Application Security Testing (SAST) tools into the development lifecycle and workflows is crucial to achieving the security benefits of early vulnerability detection at scale.

  • Configure SAST in version control and pipelines: Tools can be set as pre-commit hooks in version control like Git. Automating regular scans on feature branches merged to main fails insecure builds in CI/CD like Jenkins and Azure DevOps.
  • Provide inline guidance for developers: Leading solutions seamlessly integrate into IDE plugins via warnings during coding. Tools such as Kiuwan integrate into over 20 IDEs and tools.
  • Streamline remediation workflows: Correlating SAST results with ticketing systems automatically creates tickets from new findings. Customizable dashboards and reports provide views for teams.
  • Ensure complete remediation: Automatic re-scanning after code changes addresses all flaws before closing tickets. Integrations like Veracode simplify fixing vulnerabilities for developers.
  • Establish security standards: Automated baselines define standards for applications. Customizable policies set severity thresholds and remediation timeframes visible to managers.

This level of seamless integration across the development lifecycle and tools is essential to realize the full security benefits of shifting left with SAST.

Leveraging SAST to Simplify Compliance

Integrating Static Application Security Testing (SAST) into the development process can significantly streamline an organization’s efforts to validate adherence to various compliance standards and data protection regulations.

  • PCI DSS Compliance – SAST tools help validate Requirements 6.5 and 6.6, which mandate protections against vulnerabilities such as XSS and insecure object references. Configuration options map scan results directly to these requirements.
  • ISO 27001 Controls – Flaws detected by SAST are relevant to controls around secure development and vulnerability management, supporting the validation of controls like A.12.6.1 and A.14.2.2 on a regular basis.
  • HIPAA/HITRUST Requirements – These health frameworks mandate risk analysis and monitoring, which SAST demonstrates through vulnerabilities detected in applicable NIST 800-53 controls such as RA-5 and SI-2 while protecting PHI.
  • GDPR Principles – SAST helps comply with principles such as security by design when applications process EU personal data, ensuring protections to minimize data breach risks from flaws.
  • Custom Standards – Results can be mapped to organization-specific requirements, with policy templates providing consistency across internal and third-party application portfolios.

The level of support varies by tool, but integrated SAST streamlines validating diverse compliance needs significantly more efficiently than alternative manual processes. Regular scans provide artifacts demonstrating ongoing due diligence.

Customizing SAST Configurations for Unique Needs

To derive maximum value from SAST, organizations should customize implementations specific to their development processes and security requirements:

  • Create Custom Rules that detect proprietary code patterns and organization-defined vulnerabilities not covered by default checks.
  • Filter False Positives by using regular expressions to exclude known safe code sections from analysis.
  • Schedule Targeted Scans of high-risk modules like payment processing and authentication more frequently than others.
  • Fail Builds on Critical Issues while reporting less severe findings to balance security and productivity.
  • Suppress Long-standing Low Issues once confirmed infeasible to fix, avoiding analysis fatigue.
  • Group Results by Context to provide personalized views for applications, components, and individual teams.
  • Integrate with Existing Tools by configuring scanners within IDEs and ticketing systems already used by internal developer teams.
  • Benchmark on Staging to establish realistic expectations of tool performance in production-like environments before deploying.
  • Automate Policy Evolution by refining the defined security standard based on historical scan findings over time.

Proper customization is key to deriving full value from SAST investments over the long term.

Deep Learning for SAST

Static application security testing
Static Application Security Testing

Emerging techniques like machine learning and natural language processing augment traditional SAST. Deep learning models detect more complex logic flaws by analyzing patterns in code structures and data flows. They generate more accurate results with fewer false positives over time.

SAST platforms integrate these models to provide a more comprehensive view of an application’s security posture. Combined with custom rules, they strengthen protection against known and unknown vulnerabilities across the development lifecycle.

Advanced SAST Techniques

Leading tools continuously enhance detection through advanced techniques like fuzzing, data flow analysis and symbolic execution. Fuzzing generates random input strings to uncover edge case flaws. Data flow tracking identifies vulnerabilities by tracing how untrusted data propagates through code.

Symbolic execution analyzes all possible code paths to find conditions that could lead to failures. It effectively tests exponentially more scenarios than traditional methods. Tools like Kiuwan integrate these techniques for unprecedented accuracy.

Machine learning is also augmenting SAST. Statistical models detect patterns in open-source vulnerabilities and proprietary codebases. They generate hypotheses about potential issues to investigate, reducing false positives. Over time, these models become brighter through continued training on new code and vulnerabilities.

Developers can also train custom ML models on their code to detect organization-specific flaws. As models improve, previously unknown vulnerability classes are uncovered. Combined with traditional techniques, ML strengthens protection for rapidly evolving codebases and threats.

Managing SAST Across the Enterprise

Larger organizations integrate SAST at scale across diverse portfolios, languages and teams. Central management dashboards provide visibility into the security posture of all applications and development pipelines.

Policy templates ensure consistent standards across divisions while allowing customizations. Approval workflows integrated with tools like Jira facilitate managing exceptions and remediation timelines. Managers track remediation progress, policy violations and compliance for executive reporting.

APIs and integrations aggregate results from multiple SAST instances into a unified view. It facilitates coordination, prioritization and oversight of remediation efforts enterprise-wide. Regular executive reporting justifies security investments by quantifying the risks addressed.

Enhancing Protection with Combined SAST and DAST

While Static Application Security Testing (SAST) excels at catching many flaws, it has limitations in detecting issues that only manifest dynamically. Integrating Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) addresses this gap.

DAST tools like Acunetix and Burp Suite execute live code and simulate attacks to find vulnerabilities like Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), SQL Injection (SQLi) and weak session management controls that evade static analysis due to runtime conditions.

Leading SAST platforms now offer seamless DAST integration for more comprehensive coverage. For instance, Veracode allows scheduling dynamic scans from within the SAST interface or launching them on-demand.

By correlating issues found between the two techniques, the combined approach provides complete visibility into an application’s risk profile. It also streamlines remediation workflows as developers address all identified flaws.

Overall, augmenting SAST with selective DAST scanning strengthens an organization’s ability to develop applications securely. The complementary techniques offer improved protection for both known and unknown threats.

User Experience and Productivity

SAST solutions focus on usability. User-centered designs and intuitive workflows simplify configuration, investigation and fixing issues. Contextual inline annotations guide developers directly to the vulnerable code section.

Customizable dashboards aggregate results tailored to each user’s role and interests. Sophisticated search and filtering capabilities help security and development teams quickly navigate large result sets. Integrations with IDEs and chat platforms improve collaboration on remediation.

Gamification features like leaderboards and badges motivate developers to address flaws promptly. Automated testing after each build ensures issues stay fixed. Over time, these user-centric innovations cultivate a security-minded culture and boost productivity.

Take the Next Step Toward Robust Application Security

Leveraging industry-leading Static Application Security Testing (SAST) is key to strengthening the security posture of your applications and development processes. As a trusted provider with nearly two decades of experience delivering results-oriented IT and security solutions to small and mid-sized businesses, the security experts at ZZ Servers can help you customize the right SAST implementation tailored to your unique needs and environment. Contact us today at 800-796-3574 to learn more about how we help organizations like yours simplify compliance, enhance developer workflows, and proactively identify vulnerabilities to build a culture of security throughout the development lifecycle.


In today’s complex threat landscape, proactive application security practices are essential to mitigate risk. Integrating best-in-class SAST tools and customizing them to organizational needs helps shift security left by uncovering flaws early.

Leveraging the latest techniques in static analysis, machine learning, usability, and enterprise management facilitates building robust applications aligned with modern DevSecOps methodologies. This holistic approach enhances security posture while maintaining development efficiency at scale. Continuous innovation will further strengthen the role SAST plays in developing trustworthy software.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of vulnerabilities can SAST detect?

SAST tools can detect various issues, such as cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injection, buffer overflows, insecure direct object references, access control flaws and more. The specific types detected depend on the individual tool’s supported vulnerability definitions and analysis techniques. In general, SAST excels at finding flaws that impact the confidentiality, integrity or availability of web applications and APIs.

How accurate are SAST results?

No tool can guarantee 100% accuracy; leading SAST solutions typically detect 70-90% of vulnerabilities when properly configured. Accuracy levels vary based on code complexity, supported languages and frameworks. False positives can be reduced through custom rules and exclusions. Regular re-scanning as code evolves also helps tools u0022learnu0022 an application to generate more precise results over time. Ultimately, SAST provides a strong starting point that security teams can validate and supplement with alternative testing.

Can SAST be used for compliance needs?

Yes, SAST supports compliance with various standards and regulations. It maps results to requirements from frameworks like PCI DSS, ISO 27001, NIST 800-53 and more. Policy templates ensure consistency for audits. SAST automates vulnerability monitoring and risk analysis mandated by standards like HIPAA. Integrations provide artifacts demonstrating due diligence, helping validate that security is built-in throughout the development process. With the right tool, SAST streamlines compliance efforts significantly compared to manual methods.

How does SAST integrate with the development process?

Leading SAST tools offer deep developer workflow integrations through IDE plugins, version control pre-commit hooks, and CI/CD pipelines. It allows catching issues early without disrupting workflows. Inline annotations and dashboards contextualize results within the tools developers already use. Well-configured pipelines can fail builds on critical vulnerabilities. Automated retesting ensures fixes take effect before merging code. Overall, seamless SAST unification with existing DevOps tools and methods helps shift security left without slowing development.

What skills are required to use SAST?

While security expertise helps maximize value, SAST tools are designed for ease of use. Basic configuration usually requires only understanding an application’s architecture and dependencies. Tool-specific training covers user interfaces and available customization options. Developers need no specialized security knowledge – they fix vulnerabilities the tool identifies. Some customizations, like new rule development, benefit from coding or regex skills. Most teams can adopt SAST with existing DevOps talent through guided tool learning and support from dedicated security professionals as needed.

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