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5/12/2010
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Product Watch: 'Measuring Stick' For Software Security Gets An Update

Version 2 of Building Security In Maturity Model (BSIMM) includes 30 companies in seven industries

A new version of the Building Security In Maturity Model (BSIMM) released today adds three times the number of companies' secure software initiative practices than the original version, plus the project has recruited security executives from Microsoft, EMC, Intel, Adobe, and Nokia to serve on newly created advisory board.

BSIMM2 encompasses secure software initiatives from financial services firms such as Bank of America, software vendors, technology companies such as Google, healthcare, insurance, energy, and media firms, providing insight into the best practices of these organizations for their secure coding initiatives.

Gary McGraw, CTO at Cigital, which announced the BSIMM2 release, says the goal of BSIMM is to create a measuring stick for organizations to see where they stand in secure coding. Among the trends in those organizations highlighted in BSIMM is that those with the more mature software security initiatives have a more distributed approach to it, McGraw says. "Over time, the core software security group starts getting a satellite around it of developers, architects, product managers, and [those] in different areas of the business," he says. "In the beginning, they are very centralized" in the software security group, but over time, some pieces get passed on to the developers as well, says McGraw, a co-author of BSIMM.

BSIMM highlights the top 15 of 110 software security activities that are most commonly adopted. "They are 15 things everybody does," says Sammy Migues, director of knowledge management and training at Cigital and one of the co-authors of BSIMM. "Everybody hires penetration testers to come in and find problems," for example, he says, which can be used as baseline steps for organizations beginning to adopt these practices.

The study shows some common themes among successful secure software initiatives, including the need for a software security group (SSG), as well as SSGs organized by technical software development, operational, and business unit categories.

Meanwhile, the new BSIMM Advisory board comprises Steve Lipner, senior director of security engineering strategy for Microsoft; Eric Baize, senior director of the product security office at EMC; Jeff Cohen, head of product security assurance at Intel; Janne Uusilehto, director and head of product security at Nokia; and Brad Arkin, director of product security and privacy for Adobe.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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