How Software Composition Analysis Works

Software composition analysis and how it works

In today’s world, open-source code is found all around. Developers are having to play catch-up to keep applications secure due to how quickly technology is progressing. As a result, open-source codes are becoming more and more useful as they help you assess vulnerabilities and make improvements more easily. 

Using software composition analysis (SCA) tools is crucial to helping companies manage and reduce the risk of vulnerabilities impacting their system. 

Software Composition Analysis Explained 

Software composition analysis is used to help you find where open-source code is located within a codebase. It’s a process that’s automated and helps you to improve the quality of code and overall security. 

In addition to this, software composition analysis helps you to be more informed about the possible constraints involved with your open source licenses. Since this is an automated system, it’s much easier than manually checking the agreements individually. 

As a result, software composition analysis helps with overall productivity for companies when it comes to improving the quality and security of their code. 

How Software Composition Analysis Works

Using SCA tools enables you to observe source code, files, container images, and binary files with ease. Through this process, you’re able to compare your open source system by placing the files into a Bill of Materials. 

This lets you compare your open-source with a range of other databases. The most notable database being the National Vulnerability Database. You’re able to compare your open-source with the standards set out by the National Vulnerability Database to ensure your security measures are up to scratch. 

Within this database, you can find details about some of the most common vulnerabilities to open source systems. In addition to this, SCA allows you to compare your open-source system with other commercial systems to assess the quality of your code. 

Utilizing SCA tools makes it easier for security departments to locate potential vulnerabilities in open source systems, which includes legal vulnerabilities. The faster they can act, the quicker the open-source systems can be fixed. 

Why Should You Use Software Composition Analysis?

Using open-source code analysis tools that are automated improves your security and development. Some of the main benefits of using SCA include the following: 

  • Provides you with an extensive risk assessment of your open-source system. 
  • Compliance and security features are already integrated into the system to make it easier to identify and fix vulnerabilities. 
  • You’re able to clearly see the open-source system and compare it with other systems. 

Using open-source systems has become the main method of building software applications. However, there are still many companies that don’t take the correct steps to ensure that their open-source systems are legally compliant and free from security risks. 

There are many SCA tools available nowadays and developers are gaining a deeper understanding of how best to use them to keep open source systems safe and compliant.

SCA Solutions

Let’s take a quick look at what some of the main SCA solution tools involve. 

Expansive Language Assistance

The best SCA tools work with languages that you’re using, as well as languages that you may potentially use sometime in the future. This can prevent the extra hassle of having to implement another SCA solution in a couple of years because the current one didn’t support enough languages.

Detailed Databases

The building blocks of SCA solutions involve databases. The more detailed a database is, the better the system is when it comes to finding security risks within open source environments. 

If you’re using an out-of-date database, current security risks would be trickier to access. Not to mention, your system wouldn’t be finding the most up-to-date licenses for compliance, and security teams would always be a step behind when it comes to making fixes. 

Having a detailed database is crucial to ensuring that you benefit the most from SCA tools as it’s the only source of information when it comes to updates, licenses, and security information. 

Automated Policies

There are SCA solutions available that include automated policies that are also incredibly flexible. This is highly beneficial as it allows companies to customize their policies to their unique needs. 

Developers are also able to have an easier time when it comes to approving, selecting, and tracking open source systems due to how it’s an automated process.

Reporting Tools

SCA solutions that include extensive reports will benefit you the most. They provide you with details when it comes to reporting bugs and vulnerabilities, as well as information on licensing and inventory. 

Implementing detailed reporting tools makes it easier to find security risks and policies so that developers can make quick fixes to the system. 

Vulnerability Tools

SCA systems that include vulnerability trackers allow security teams to identify and fix security risks much more effectively. There are systems that will put your security vulnerabilities at the forefront for you to see clearly. 

In addition to this, you can use vulnerability tools that also give you tips on how to go about solving the issue. These tools work with an automated system which means security teams and developers don’t have to manually check for security risks. 


Software composition analysis helps organizations when it comes to complying with licenses and improving the security of their open-source systems. Since technology is progressing, trying to manually track open source code isn’t a viable option anymore. 

The more complex these systems get, the more crucial it becomes for companies to be using SCA tools. There are more security risks that are impossible to keep track of without using a dedicated and automated system. 

SCA tools make the task of identifying security risks and licensing compliance issues a lot smoother. As a result, developers and security teams can be much more productive and act quicker to fix any issues. 

Hopefully, you can leave this post feeling more assured about how software composition analysis works and why it’s more necessary than ever for organizations to be using these systems.