What is Software Composition Analysis (SCA)?

What is Software Composition Analysis (SCA)?


Software Composition Analysis (SCA) also known as Open-Source Library Scanning. SCA is a method for the management of open source components or open-source software (OSS). This produces a report that lists all components of an open source in a given product – including direct and indirect dependencies. With a SCA, a development team can easily monitor and evaluate any part brought into a project via open source.
The number of open source components used in proprietary projects grew steadily. Data in 2018 found that most projects in its codebase contained an average of 57 per cent of open source code. Many of these components are so basic they are taken almost for granted.

What it Do?

  • Create an accurate Bill of Materials (BOM) for all your applications. A BOM will describe the components included in applications, the version of the components used, and the license types for each. A BOM helps security professionals and developers to understand better the components used in applications and gain insight into potential security and licensing issues.
  • Discover and track all open source. OSS and license management scanning tools allow companies to uncover all open source used in source code, binaries, containers, build dependencies, subcomponents, and modified and OS components. This is especially critical as companies factor in extensive software supply chains, including partners, third party suppliers, and other open-source projects.
  • Set and enforce policies. OSS license compliance is critical at all levels within an organization, from developers up to senior management. SCA spotlights the need to set policies, respond to license compliance and security events and provide OS training and knowledge across the company. Many solutions automate the approval process and set specific usage and remediation guidance.
  • Enable proactive and continuous monitoring. To better manage workloads and increase productivity, SCA continues to monitor for security and vulnerability issues and allows users to create actionable alerts for newly discovered vulnerabilities in both current and shipped products.
  • Seamlessly integrate open source code scanning into the built environment. Integrate OS security and license scans in the DevOps environment to scan code and identify dependencies in the built environment.

What the benefit of SCA to the Business?

  • Quicker, safer time-to-market. Over 50 percent of the technology used in today's software is open source. Who gets to market first drives the competitive edge and software engineers use OS components to speed up their work. Software Composition Analysis applies the correct OSS management and testing to ensure compliance with regulatory obligations, and fix all vulnerabilities. With fewer stoppages, the product gets to market quicker, and what is distributed is better for end consumers and decreases the risk for license non-compliance, lawsuits and open source vulnerabilities to negatively affect the company.
  • They are innovating quickly and effectively. OSS offers cost-efficiencies, flexibility and freedoms that are unsurpassed by proprietary software solutions, enabling Innovative as well as regulated companies, to make choices about themselves. Innovative goods become better when SCA is used for OS enforcement and control of licenses.
  • They are eliminating unknown business risks. Organizations are aware of less than 10% of their open-source use. Software Composition Analysis (SCA) turns out to be unknown by implementing the right processes and automation to identify, find and remediate open source security and license compliance risks.

S.W.O.T analysis of SCA

Let's us what the strengths, weakness, opportunities and treats or SWOT analysis of SCA if we implement in our CI/CD pipeline;


Available Tools in the Market

There are already plenty of good SCA resources on the market, including open-source and paid and commercial software. For various levels of programming, CI / CD and commercial support, they have their own advantages and disadvantages. See below what the pros and cons of each tools:


Below I've listed several tools that you can use in your CI/CD pipeline between Oen-Source SCA Tool and Paid SCA Tool;


Best Practice for SCA

  1. Your CI/CD pipeline must completed within 10-15 minutes.
  2. Create a separate jobs for easy tracing and troubleshooting.
  3. Fail the CI/CD pipeline when critical or high severity issues are found.
  4. Link all your finding and step taken in Knowledge base page or wiki page.
  5. Always use tool which has it own API, good for automation and scalability.
  6. Keep your CI/CD simple.
  7. Try to make Everything as a Code, auditable, measurable and securable.


More than 50 percent of the current software application is open source code, while surveys show that most teams don't even show that. Through a sound protection strategy, organizations, while protecting end users from their inherent vulnerabilities, will benefit from OSS. In addition to a comprehensive SCA solution, a solid, collaborative relationship between security and engineering teams would ensure effective data protection.

Next you should read

Tutorial -> How to implement SCA in CI/CD Pipeline.

Static Analysis Security Test (SAST)

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