Veracode Review

Effective at preventing vulnerable code from going into production, but static analysis is prone to false positives


What is our primary use case?

We use it to scan our web applications before we publish them to see if there are any security vulnerabilities. We use it for static analysis and dynamic analysis.

How has it helped my organization?

Veracode has helped immensely with developer security training and in building developer security skills. Before we implemented it, we would find a lot more vulnerabilities in our applications. Now, with Veracode, the developers have started doing a lot more secure coding and they have much better coding practices.

It has also helped our organization to review code quicker, about 50 percent quicker, and to deploy more secure code.

And when it comes to the solution's ability to prevent vulnerable code from going into production, so far, I haven't seen any instances in which we've had false negatives. So it's pretty effective at that.

What is most valuable?

Among the most valuable features are the ability to 

  • submit the software and get automated scan results from it
  • collaborate with developers through the portal while looking at the code
  • create compliance reports.

Otherwise, we would have to do working sessions with developers and pull together all the different findings and then probably manage it in a separate mechanism like Excel. And to have to go through source code manually would be quite time intensive and tedious.

The solution also provides you with some guidance as well as best practices around how vulnerabilities should be fixed. It points you in that direction and gives the developers educational cues.

In addition, the policy reporting for ensuring compliance with industry standards and regulations is pretty comprehensive, especially around PCI. If you do the static analysis, the dynamic analysis, and then a manual penetration test, it aggregates all of these results into one report. And then they create a PCI-specific report around it which helps to illustrate how the application adheres to different standards.

The solution also integrates with developer tools such as Visual Studio and Eclipse.

What needs improvement?

It's pretty efficient, but sometimes the static analysis is prone to a lot of false positives. But that's how it is with most static analysis tools. In some cases, they might have other mechanisms which would deal with a particular vulnerability, but it wouldn't be captured in the code. I would estimate the false positive rate at about 20 percent.

Upon review, the developers understand the solution. But when they get the initial list of findings, it can be a bit daunting to them if it's not managed appropriately.

Also, the static analysis can sometimes take a little while. The time that it takes to do a scan should be improved. There are times when we need a quick turnaround but it will take a little while. We might have something scanning and not get a result until the following day. It's not too critical, but it does increase the delay. Most of the time, when developers submit their code, because of the way that we use it, it's because in their minds they're ready to have that code deployed into production. But the security testing, especially with the feedback, introduces additional time into the project, especially if a security fix is needed.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Veracode for about two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There have been no issues with the stability. We haven't had any outages or any unavailability of the system, so far.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have about 40 developers but we use this product per project rather than per developer. All our projects will pass through this product. At any given time we have about 10 to 12 projects going on. Outside of developers, it's just the five security team members who also use Veracode.

Any increase of usage will be based on the business and if there are more software projects. Whenever there are additional software projects, we will then increase our usage.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support is good, but we haven't really had to use it much, so far.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward but, depending on the type of applications or the types of code that you're using, the setup requirements may be a little different. It takes a little getting used to, based on the environment in which you're working.

For example, for Visual studio, it might have specific requirements that are needed to package an application for scanning, whereas an Angular application would have different requirements. For me, as a non-developer, the issue would be around understanding those different requirements for each development environment.

Our deployment didn't take long; it took a couple of days. There were three people involved in, including a developer, someone setting it up, and a code reviewer. By "setting it up" I mean putting in the applications, saying what the application does—providing the business rules of the application.

We didn't have a specific strategy for deploying it. The software is pretty straightforward, once you have the application bundles to be scanned. There's not a whole lot to do after the packaging.

Maintenance-wise, it doesn't take much because it's SaaS. We don't really do much on our end.

What about the implementation team?

We did it in-house with Veracode. Working with Veracode for the deployment was pretty easy, pretty straightforward.

What was our ROI?

We've seen ROI in that we've cut down on the number of penetration tests we've been doing by about 50 percent, and also because of the stage at which the vulnerabilities are found, before they get into production. That means the risk has also been reduced.

It has reduced the cost of application security for our organization, but more than it has reduced the cost, it provides better software assurance.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

In addition to the standard licensing fees there's a support cost and an implementation cost at the beginning.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

This year I looked at other vendors in the market, including Synopsys, Contrast, and Checkmarx. What I didn't like about them is that their licensing models are based on how many developers you have. That wasn't a good fit for me. In addition, Checkmarx didn't have a SaaS solution.

What other advice do I have?

If you are doing pipeline-based implementation, it would be more complex than the way that I'm doing this, but I didn't see any real challenges that would be tool-specific or vendor-specific, with implementation.

Your development model will really determine what the best fit is for you in terms of licensing, because of the project-based licensing. If you do a few projects, that's more attractive. If you have a large number of developers, that would also make the product a little more attractive. But if you have maybe one or two developers doing many projects, then you might look more towards software that has a developer-centric model.

We don't use the Static Analysis Pipeline Scan because of the build process that our  developers use. They don't really have an automated build pipeline in which they push the code to production. Also, with the false positive rate, it's a bit tricky when you implement that into the pipeline, as it might stop a developer from pushing code out to test. We use it more like a gate. The developers submit the code to us and then we scan it and review it with them.

The biggest lesson I've learned from using Veracode is that you need to manage it with the developers, so that you speak through the findings with them. It's not just a tool that you throw down their throats.

Overall, I would rate it at seven out of 10. Ideally, I would prefer a product that had the interactive testing, as well as the ability to scan a little faster.

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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