Fortify Pushes Application Security

Armed with a new product and strategy, the company is urging organizations to change the way they look at secure application development.

Fortify Software is advocating a new strategy to help keep businesses secure during the software development process.

Dubbed Business Software Assurance, the strategy begins with the release of Fortify 360, a suite of integrated products Fortify officials said will help organizations identify and fill security holes in their software.

Barmak Meftah, senior vice president of products and services at Fortify, said for many enterprises, most of the money spent on IT security goes towards protecting the network perimeter. The problem, he said, is that the applications that are being hacked are always exposed.

"If you want to bank online, if you want to stock trade online, as [the] end user you have to [have] exposure to that application," Meftah told eWEEK. "A hacker takes advantage of that application for unintended consequences, so the business of putting walls around that application fundamentally is broken."

The knee-jerk response to being hacked is typically to buy a tool, he said. However, application testing products such as penetration testing may only address the indicators of insecure software, not insecure code, Meftah said.

To read about Fortify's acquisition of Secure Software, click here.

Businesses must start thinking of an inside-out approach to security, he said. This is where Forify's Business Software Assurance comes in.

What software assurance is about is a business process change and, understanding software security end-to-end, tools and services become enablers to make that happen," Meftah said. "So, as opposed to approaching the problem from the other angle, which is, -Let me buy a tool and build business process around it,' we encourage that you build a business process and [that] tools become enablers of that."

Founded in 2003, Fortify's forte has been static code analysis, where it competes with the likes of Klocwork and Coverity. With Fortify 360, the company is applying two other integrated levels of analysis: dynamic analysis of running applications during quality assurance testing and the real-time monitoring of applications once they have been deployed. The product also features an audit workbench that correlates and prioritizes vulnerabilities to help security teams manage the most serious threats first.

Another feature of Fortify 360 is the collaboration module, which provides a shared working environment where security and development teams can work together to resolve vulnerabilities. Users also receive regular threat intelligence updates produced by the Fortify Security Research Group.

"It's not just about the technology, but also about bridging the gap between those in the enterprise responsible for development and security," Roger Thornton, Fortify's chief technology officer, said in a statement. "Security is a low priority in software development compared to functionality, quality and performance, and most business managers are often unaware of the inherent business and security risks of deploying dangerously exposed software. Fortify 360 connects all of these teams, integrating software assurance as a business process throughout the organization."