SAST vs. DAST: What’s the Difference and Why You Need Both

SAST vs. DAST: What’s the Difference

and Why You Need Both

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SAST vs. DAST: What's the Difference and Why You Need Both

As security threats become more commonplace, relying on a single type of testing leaves applications vulnerable to attack. Cybercriminals tirelessly develop ways to exploit software application vulnerabilities, targeting organisational networks. A notable example is 2017 Equifax data breach, which exposed the personal details of 145 million Americans. 

To be successful, development teams must look beyond the most common testing methods. Two crucial tools in a developer’s arsenal are Static Application Security Testing (SAST) and Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST). But what exactly are they, and why are they both essential for your development team? 

Let’s deep dive to understand these differences, their benefits, and why your development team needs them is key to maintaining a robust security posture in this article.

What Is SAST (Static Application Security Testing)?

Static Application Security Testing (SAST) is a type of security testing that examines the application’s source code at a static, or non-running, state. Often referred to as “white box” testing, SAST provides a comprehensive view of the application’s code, allowing for a thorough examination of potential vulnerabilities. This method is typically performed early in the development lifecycle, even before the code is executed.

Key Characteristics of SAST:

  • Early Detection: SAST aims to identify vulnerabilities and flaws in the software’s code that could lead to security breaches, such as input validation errors, buffer overflows, and insecure server configurations.
  • Deep code analysis: By reviewing the code in its non-running state, SAST can help detect a wide range of issues.
  • Integration with Development: SAST often integrates with Integrated Development Environments (IDEs), providing real-time feedback as developers write code.

When to Use SAST:

SAST is particularly useful for continuously monitoring source code vulnerabilities and ensuring compliance with security best practices. It automated testing for a range of vulnerabilities using standards like OWASP Top 10, CWE (Weakness Enumeration), and CVE (Vulnerabilities and Exposures).

SAST helps to identify and fix code quality issues early on, improving the overall health, maintainability, and potential performance of your codebase. 

What Is DAST (Dynamic Application Security Testing)?

Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) is a “black box” testing methodology that tests the application in its running state. DAST simulates the actions of an attacker to identify potential vulnerabilities.

Key Characteristics of DAST:

  • Real-World Simulation: DAST simulates like a hacker, finding vulnerabilities attackers might exploit. It scans for common threats (OWASP Top 10, CWE, CVE) to prevent unauthorised access, data breaches, and disruptions.
  • Comprehensive Attack Coverage: DAST prioritises vulnerabilities based on their severity and potential impact, leveraging AI to distinguish between true vulnerabilities and false positives. This prioritises critical issue resolution, optimising security.
  • Prioritised Remediation with AI: DAST prioritises vulnerabilities based on their severity and potential impact, leveraging AI to distinguish between true vulnerabilities and false positives. This prioritises critical issue resolution, optimising security.

When to Use DAST:

DAST is useful for detecting misconfigurations in servers or databases that affect web application security during runtime. Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) goes beyond static analysis to simulate real-world attacks, uncovering vulnerabilities that SAST might miss.

Running a DAST application in a test environment helps developers find vulnerabilities before their applications are in production.

The Benefits of using SAST and DAST together

While SAST and DAST have their differences, they are not mutually exclusive. Using them in conjunction provides a more comprehensive view of the application’s security, addressing the limitations of each tool. 

Incorporating both SAST and DAST into the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) can significantly enhance security coverage. SAST can be used in the early development stages to identify and rectify potential vulnerabilities at the code level. DAST can then be implemented once the application is running, to detect any runtime vulnerabilities and assess the application’s behaviour under attack conditions.

This combination provides a holistic view of the application’s security, ensuring that both code-level and runtime vulnerabilities are identified and mitigated. It allows for a proactive and reactive approach to security, ensuring that all bases are covered.

ScoutTwo DevSecOps Platform: Simplifying Your Security Efforts

Integrating security into your DevOps workflow can be challenging, but the ScoutTwo DevSecOps platform simplifies this process, offering numerous benefits to streamline your security efforts.

1. Empower Your DevSecOps Journey in One Platform

ScoutTwo provides a unified platform for managing digital asset security, enhancing efficiency, and offering comprehensive protection throughout the DevOps process. This simplicity ensures that security is seamlessly integrated into every stage of development, helping you manage your security needs with ease.

2. Multiple Scanners One Integration

ScoutTwo incorporates various security scanners into your Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipelines. This seamless integration ensures automated security checks and real-time feedback, enhancing both efficiency and productivity. The one-time setup process eliminates the need for multiple, complex configurations, making security a natural part of your development workflow.

3. We Go Beyond Uncovering Vulnerabilities

ScoutTwo doesn’t just identify vulnerabilities; it addresses common weaknesses (CWEs) and known exploits (CVEs), including issues from the OWASP Top 10. With integrated task management, ScoutTwo helps prioritise which vulnerabilities to address first, ensuring that critical issues are resolved promptly and effectively.

4. Utilising AI to Guide Remediation Efforts

Harnessing the power of AI, ScoutTwo offers advanced remediation suggestions, helping to quickly mitigate cybersecurity risks. The platform’s AI capabilities include False Positive Detection and Verification, ensuring accurate vulnerability assessments and providing peace of mind as you enhance your security posture.

Conclusion

Integrating SAST and DAST into your development lifecycle is essential for robust application security. Platforms like ScoutTwo DevSecOps simplify these efforts by providing a unified, efficient, and AI-enhanced approach to managing digital asset security. By leveraging these tools, your development team can stay ahead of potential threats and maintain a secure, compliant, and resilient software environment. With ScoutTwo, you don’t have to choose between SAST or DAST because both are integrated into one platform. Get your free account and start securing your code and business.

Safeguard Your Source Code and Business

Simplify your DevSecOps with AI-Powered Platform, Start ScoutTwo for Free now!

Fanny Fajarianti - Performance Marketing at ArmourZero

Written by: 

Fanny Fajarianti (Performance Marketing). Experienced digital marketer in the information technology and services industry.



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