Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle Review

If new libraries need to be used, we can scan them to see if they are secure or valid

What is our primary use case?

During the development, if there are new libraries that need to be used, then we scan them first to see if they are secure or valid. If there is a threat, can we avoid it or use alternatives. Also, before each release, it is mandatory for us to scan the code before we go to release it.   

It was installed at the beginning of the year, so I think we are using the latest version.

How has it helped my organization?

We rely on the default policies because we are new to the system. We haven't adjusted any policies and are sticking with whatever policies were shipped to us. We are mostly focused on policies 9 and 10 for the highest threat levels. These are the ones which we are focusing right now. We don't want to make any modifications or adjustments in terms of 9 or 10. Mostly, it will be the security officer's decision if we need to update the policies. I'm the manager of the development team and my developers usually will not make any changes in terms of policies.

It provides a very detailed analysis of our library. Then, when some of the scans identify a licensing issue, we look at them and know if we have the license. It sort of scans everything. Without this tool, I don't think that there's even a capability to go through all these libraries, because some of the libraries were introduced by contractors and a developer who no longer works here anymore. When Nexus comes in with its scans, it reports on licensing or other vulnerabilities. This is easier to do instead of asking around.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the scanning part, then the report part, as it is quite easy to read. The report part is very important to us because that is how we communicate to our security officer and the security committee. Therefore, we need to have a complete report that we can generate and pass onto them for review.

The solution’s data quality has been pretty accurate. The ones that we are focusing on now are 9 and 10. Once we adjust and scan them again, they are no longer deemed to be the same threat level, which is good. If I replaced the library with a safer one, they still complain that that's not good. So far, we're pretty happy with the quality.

What needs improvement?

One thing that I would like to give feedback on is to scan the binary code. It's very difficult to find. It's under organization and policies where there are action buttons that are not very obvious. I think for people who are using it and are not integrated into it, it is not easy to find the button to load the binary and do the scan. This is if there is no existing, continuous integration process, which I believe most people have, but some users don't have this at the moment. This is the most important function of the Nexus IQ, so I expect it should be right on the dashboard where you can apply your binary and do a quick scan. Right now, it's hidden inside organization and policies. If you select the organization, then you can see in the top corner that there is a manual action which you can approve. There are multiple steps to reach that important function that we need. When we were initially looking at the dashboard, we looked for it and couldn't find it. So, we called our coworker who set up the server and they told us it's not on the dashboard. This comes down to usability. 

There is another usability thing in the reports section. When the PDF gets generated, it is different from the web version. There are some components from some areas which only reside inside the PDF version. When I generate the PDF for my boss to review, she comes back with a question that I didn't even see. I see on the reporting page whatever the PDF will be generating. The PDF is actually generating more information than the web version. That caught me off guard because she forwarded this to the security officer, who is asking, "Why is this? Or, why is that?" But, she has no idea. I didn't have anything handy because I saw the PDF version, which should be same as what I see on the web. This is a bit misrepresented. I would like these versions to speak together and be consistent. Printing a PDF report should generally reflect whatever you have on the page.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using it for two or three months now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable.

Users of the solution include our security officer, our application architect, and me. I manage all of the development and the developers who work on upgrading libraries.

Not many people are needed to maintain this solution. We need two or three people. One person is from our service support where the Sonatype Server is deployed and managed. Another person is the application architect who reviews the libraries.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is not applicable to us at the moment.

The solution is pretty much involved in every release that we have. So, it's quite frequently being used. We don't have current plans to increase usage. We are working on our continuous integration process. Once that's done, then there will be a need to increase usage.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't opened a support ticket yet.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not have another solution that we previously used before Sonatype.

We had one job file we used a long time ago (it was over 10 years ago). At that time, we had purchased a license, but nobody has really used it for a really long time.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't involved in the initial setup.

What about the implementation team?

This was all done by our service support.

What was our ROI?

This solution has increased developer productivity by 20 percent. They know the version that they need to use. It is a lot easier.

What other advice do I have?

We are still in the process of automating our deployment.

In terms of the developing the IDE, I don't see a big need because we are mostly focusing on enhancing existing projects. We mostly will be focusing on addressing existing issues and vulnerabilities. For a developer to use a new library all the time, this is not a high priority. Right now, we are working on continuous integration continuous deployment solutions. Then, we will integrate the Sonatype Scanner as part of the build, testing, and release.

I would give it an eight (out of 10). Right now, it is sufficient for us to identify our vulnerabilities. It is quite easy to use and not too much trouble.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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