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3 Essential Software Audits

Auditing your software is critical for today’s enterprises that are often using software supplied by multiple vendors. The reason for this is that the IT security is a constant threat, auditing your software and subjecting it to third-party reviews and evaluations will help you prevent devastating security breaches by detecting vulnerabilities, implementing patches and other protocols. There are a few software audits that should be a regular part of your software security program and operating procedures.

Why You Need Software Audits
Once you have software applications deployed, many organizations fall into the trap of going with the flow and letting things run their course.  Even major software suppliers conduct periodic audits as well as issue updates to improve functionality and repair vulnerabilities discovered after the initial development process. Software audits should be standard operating procedure to keep your business running at maximum efficiency with optimal protection from outside threats.

Software Quality Assurance Audit
A software quality assurance audit is done with the objective of improving a software application. This type of audit addresses technical quality, form and function to identify ways that the application can be improved in terms of usability, security, reliability and performance. Practically everything is included in a software quality assurance audit, from code and data to report outputs, processes and media.

Software Compliance Audit
Depending on your industry, a software compliance audit can either be a pretty straightforward or an extreme anxiety-inducing process. Regulatory compliance ranges from simple system and reporting requirements to strict guidelines on data storage, strong security measures, privacy controls and access levels. These audits are performed by outside entities that include regulatory government agencies, typically on an annual basis.

Software Licensing Audit
A software licensing audit is intended to gauge the use of a software product, measure an organization’s exposure through use of its products, monitor copyright compliance and identify potential infringements. Sometimes conducted as part of a legal dispute, software licensing audits are used to uncover how an application or program is being utilized. Sometimes they are even conducted as a part of a risk management program.

Who’s in Charge of a Software Audit?
The team in charge of a software audit depends on the type of audit being conducted. Typically, software quality assurance audits are conducted internally, although third-party vendors are occasionally utilized to provide an unbiased assessment of the functionality and usability of an application. Likewise, licensing audits are often conducted by the enterprise that developed the program although; third-party resources are typically used to ensure objective findings during legal proceedings.

Compliance audits are the only type of software audit that’s always conducted by an outside entity. That said, an internal compliance audit conducted prior to a formal outside evaluation is useful for ensuring regulatory compliance to avoid licensing interruptions.

Software audits are time-consuming, but they’re essential to ensure smooth operations and continued compliance and approval from regulatory agencies. Making software audits a standard procedure is worth the benefits provided through added security, enhanced usability, application cost effectiveness, and maximization organizational performance as a whole.

Fergal Glynn is the Director of software audit tools from Veracode, an award-winning application security company specializing in secure software supply chain and other security breaches with effective risk assessment tools like secure software supply chain toolkit.

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