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Contributing writer

BSIMM7: Older then, younger now

Oct 11, 20163 mins

One indication that the software security framework is coming of age is that its membership is growing and getting younger

training wheels
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As the BSIMM (Building Security In Maturity Model) gets older, it is also getting younger.

With the release of the seventh version of the software security measurement tool, launched in 2009 by Cigital CTO Gary McGraw along with colleague Sammy Migues, and Brian Chess, then of Fortify Software, the average “maturity” of the membership is declining, said McGraw.

The goal from the beginning has been to help software developers use real-world data and analysis designed to build security into their products from the start, rather than try to bolt it on later.

As McGraw said at the time, “It doesn’t tell you what you should do. It tells you what other people are already doing.”

And it has steadily grown. The first iteration of BSIMM presented a set of best practices culled from studying nine software security initiatives.

Eight years later, the BSIMM7 data set includes 237 measurements observed in 95 software security initiatives from firms including: Adobe, Aetna, ANDA, Autodesk, Axway, Bank of America, Betfair, BMO Financial Group, Cigital said in an executive summary of its report.

The software security framework domains include governance, intelligence, SSDL touchpoints and deployment, which are further broken down into a dozen practices.

McGraw added in an interview that an interesting element of the recent growth is that the average age of the participating companies is lower. “Because software security is growing so rapidly, there are a lot entering the field who are new at it,” he said. “The big takeaway is that BSIMM is not just early adopters any more.”

The number of verticals has also expanded, he said, into, “insurance, health care and IoT (Internet of Things).”

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The Cigital report said this year’s release also, “marks the addition of a BSIMM activity to address application containers and the growing use of the cloud as part of the secure development process.”

And, as has been the case from the beginning, you don’t have to be a member, or even pay anything, to use it. “It’s released under a creative commons license, which lets developers take what they think is useful and create their own model,” McGraw said. “We just ask them to give credit for the material used to BSIMM.”

In his view, the best thing about it is that it has, “built a community around software security that is a very powerful thing, even though a lot of the members are fierce competitors.

“Within the community that has emerged, there are 400 people asking questions and getting answers all the time,” he said.