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The Role of ASPM in Enhancing Software Supply Chain Security

ASPM plays an essential role in optimizing your software supply chain security. Learn more about this critical facet of the SDLC and what the future holds for ASPM.

Application Security Posture Management (ASPM) is a relatively new term encapsulating the shift in managing application security in software development and operations. Over the last two years, ASPM has gained traction and become a priority for many organizations looking to secure their software supply chain in a more holistic and scalable fashion.

In this article, we’ll go over how ASPM has evolved from other application security frameworks and security approaches, the benefits it can bring to organizations, and how leaders should think about ASPM when considering vendors, tools, and adopting it in their own environments.

Given the increasingly complicated cloud-based environments many organizations need to secure, having an understanding of ASPM is necessary for the eventual shift from DevOps to DevSecOpS, which provides more comprehensive and proactive security within the SDLC. 

This article will serve as a guide to ASPM while also showing leaders how they can properly utilize it to secure their software supply chain.

The History of ASPM 

What Is ASPM?

Application Security Posture Management (ASPM), according to Gartner, is a strategic approach that analyzes application security signals across the stages of software development, deployment, and operation. The objective of ASPM is to enhance visibility, effectively manage vulnerabilities, and enforce necessary controls throughout the entire application lifecycle. This comprehensive method helps organizations maintain a robust security posture by continuously monitoring and managing application risks.

The genesis and evolution of ASPM

ASPM was first coined by Gartner in 2023, so it’s a relatively new term. However, it has quickly become a key player in the realm of software supply chain security, addressing evolving complexities and challenges in this domain.

Before ASPM, Application Security Orchestration and Correlation (ASOC) tools were the driving force behind application security. These tools pioneered the integration and consolidation of various application security tools for vulnerability detection, laying the groundwork for a unified security management approach. However, when it came to scalability, ASOC tools fell short and weren’t able to properly manage risks in an evolving and changing threat landscape.

To address these limitations, ASPM emerged and focused on a more dynamic and continuous model for monitoring and managing application risks. These tools moved away from a static and fragmented approach and instead adopted a more integrated and scalable framework, providing a more holistic view of the application security landscape, enabling organizations to not only detect but also prioritize and manage security risks more effectively.

ASPM, ultimately, is a reflection of a maturing application security industry and reflects the need for comprehensive, continuous application security management strategies. Given its nascency, understanding how to best utilize and adopt it requires a strong understanding of ASPM and application security priorities as a whole.

How ASPM Enhances & Optimizes Software Supply Chain Security

While ASPM is not the sole application security solution available, it stands out favorably over alternatives like Application Security (AppSec), Application Security Orchestration and Correlation (ASOC), and Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM). ASPM tools facilitate the scaling and management of AppSec programs in alignment with assumed risk levels, so it doesn’t run into the operational issues of implementing AppSec while providing the breadth needed to properly address risks and threats.

ASPM’s strength lies in its comprehensive and holistic insight into application environments. It provides an expanded view of the entire cloud security landscape, enabling organizations to detect, prioritize, and manage risks more effectively while being able to more effectively remediate potential issues. ASPM's versatility also allows it to be effectively implemented in both on-premises and cloud-based environments, enhancing its appeal across hybrid and more complex IT infrastructures.

Moreover, ASPM tools offer a wider scope than ASOC tools and are equipped with a greater variety of features and tools designed to address a spectrum of application security concerns. This enables organizations to maintain a vigilant and proactive stance against potential security threats, ensuring that vulnerabilities are addressed promptly and efficiently.

Adopting an ASPM solution can also foster a more controlled and manageable security protocol environment, leading to a shift-left approach, which integrates security earlier in the software development lifecycle. This creates a proactive security culture across the entire organization, minimizing the potential for security incidents downstream within the SDLC. This is a major benefit that will impact a company’s application security posture for years as it allows them to view cybersecurity as an investment, rather than a cost.


What the Future of ASPM Holds 

The trajectory of Application Security Posture Management (ASPM) points towards a future where effective application security considers not only the proactive security a strategy provides, but how easily it can integrate in an organization’s operations largely due to how businesses are increasingly migrating to cloud and hybrid environments. Gartner projects that by 2026, over 40% of organizations will implement ASPM to expedite the identification and resolution of application security issues.

In application security, swift vulnerability detection and remediation is crucial for staying ahead of threat actors. With infrastructures and applications becoming more complex, it’s easy to adopt multiple point solutions, leading to an overwhelmed team that can’t properly manage the flood of data from a wide variety of security tools. As a result, more organizations will look towards ASPM’s capability to centralize and correlate data from disparate sources and its ability to provide a cohesive and manageable security overview.

Here are some predictions for the future of ASPM: 

Expansion of Native ASPM Solutions: Native ASPM solutions, designed to seamlessly integrate with existing application and infrastructure ecosystems, will become more accessible and prevalent, offering more streamlined and efficient security management.

Advancements in API Posture Management: As APIs become ubiquitous in software development, API posture management will become a core component of ASPM solutions, ensuring that APIs are secure by design and throughout their lifecycle.

Growth of ASPM and ASPM-like Vendors: The market will see a surge in ASPM vendors, making it harder to discern between the right ASPM vendors and companies who are using the acronym as a selling or marketing point without offering a comprehensive ASPM solution.

Integration of AI and Machine Learning: ASPM tools will increasingly incorporate AI and machine learning algorithms to predict and preemptively counteract application security threats, enhancing predictive analytics capabilities.

Enhanced Automation in Security Processes: ASPM is likely to foster more and more security task automation to increase efficiency, reduce the potential for human error, and serve larger enterprise-level companies.

Broader Integration with DevSecOps Practices: ASPM will become more integrated with DevSecOps and be crucial for promoting security throughout the application lifecycle while fostering a culture of security across the entire organization instead of just the security and development departments.

As ASPM matures, so will the market and the organizations that are prioritizing AppSec and looking to integrate it as part of a broader DevSecOps strategy. ASPM will continue to be a crucial component, but organizations will need to adapt to an expanded vendor market and increasing product sophistication.

Optimize ASPM, Optimize Your Software Supply Chain Security 

ASPM has rapidly evolved since its inception in 2023, signifying a pivotal shift in application security management. Its emergence highlights the need for solutions and tools that facilitate application security via operational efficiency as well as comprehensive and proactive cybersecurity implementations. This is the only way organizations can properly secure their complex software supply chains in a proactive and scalable way.

Ultimately, the shift from ASOC to ASPM is a shift towards more efficient AppSec processes that allow organizations to more completely integrate security in their SDLC, resulting in an organization that can better pre-empt and mitigate risks, threats, and vulnerabilities in their software supply chain. 

As the market matures, organizations should look for ASPM tools that offer the comprehensive vulnerability visibility and detection capabilities required for effective risk management while also fostering security across their DevOps teams. This is best done via tools that are easy to implement and minimize disruptions in the SDLC workflow.

The Legit Security platform was designed specifically as a lightweight and easy to implement security solution that automates security tasks in the SDLC. This results in a more efficient and secure DevOps team that’s empowered by its security tools rather than hindered. This focus on productivity and efficiency is necessary for an organization to achieve effective Application Security in a scalable way and it will make the difference for companies in the long run.

Optimize your ASPM today.  

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Published on
April 18, 2024

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