Enabling application security management at scale

Written by:
Daniel Berman

September 30, 2020

0 mins read

We’re pleased to announce the release of our advanced, developer-first project management capabilities, helping organizations manage application security at scale!

Devising, managing, and executing an application security program becomes more difficult the larger an organization gets. Size, in this context, matters. As a business grows, the application grows as well. Additional products and services are added. More teams are onboarded. Multiple environments are used to build, test, and deploy the application.

The new model of cloud native applications adds to this complexity. Applications today are assembled from different building blocks, all interrelated but not necessarily managed in one centralized repository. Managing application security across this modern software supply chain is a project management nightmare. The sheer number of projects is enough to overwhelm these teams, making even simple tasks such as finding a project difficult, not to mention more time-consuming tasks such as prioritizing and remediating identified vulnerabilities.

These challenges can impact the overall security posture of an organization. The equation is a simple one—the more difficult project management is, the less effective the management of the actual risk they pose is. Project clutter wastes the time of development and security teams and can result in growing frustration and mistrust. At the same time, of course, critical vulnerabilities might run unnoticed or not be fixed in a timely manner.

To overcome the challenge of scale, an easy way to manage application security is required. Traditional enterprise security solutions either lack management capabilities or provide capabilities too rigid to be effective. Snyk’s developer-first project management capabilities were designed to help you organize, govern, and prioritize projects more easily, and ultimately - manage the security vulnerabilities and license issues they introduce more efficiently.

Standardize project organization

Proprietary code, open source packages, containers, Kubernetes configurations, infrastructure as code—these are the common building blocks used to assemble a cloud native application. From a security management perspective, and even more so in larger organizations, this model can translate into a huge amount of different projects.

Snyk’s Enterprise license customers, for example, manage an average of over 2000 projects. Customers on our Pro license are managing over 900 projects. Together, and on average, these projects contain over 5000 vulnerabilities! Without a standard way of organizing these projects, prioritization and remediation workflows for the issues they contain become burdensome and inefficient. 

Snyk’s new project management capabilities provide an easy way to overcome this challenge. Using Project Attributes and Project Tags, users can now add different types of identifiers to their projects, helping to organize them in a standardized way, and according to the organization’s internal logic. This way, sorting and searching for projects is much simpler.

A more detailed breakdown of how to use Project Attributes and Project Tags to organize projects is included in this blog.

Govern over security and compliance

Policies help set the boundaries acceptable by the organization and within which developers can operate, and are especially important for large organizations as they provide a way to automatically and consistently set these boundaries in place.

But projects are not born equal. A mission-critical project warrants a different set of security and compliance boundaries compared to a project with a low business impact. A project’s environment or stage of the application’s lifecycle can also affect the degree of control applied.

To help enforce policies effectively across the different projects within an organization, Snyk provides flexible governance and controls. Automated security and license policies can be easily applied to a specific project, or group of projects, based on an attribute that was applied to it. This way, for example, a strict license policy might be applied to a project in production whereas a more lenient policy might be applied to an application in development.


You can learn exactly how to create a policy and associate it with a specific project using Project Attributes in this blog.

Prioritize efforts on the projects that matter most

In July, we announced the release of a long list of prioritization capabilities designed to help development and security teams tackle their security backlogs more effectively. Project Attributes and Project Tags are a continuation of this same line, enabling users to prioritize based on subjective, business-specific context as well.

Different organizations value their assets differently. Understanding this business value and potential consequences associated with an asset being compromised are crucial for assessing risk and prioritizing.

Snyk users can now quickly identify those projects mattering most to their organization from a business perspective, either by using Project Attributes (Environment, Business Criticality, Lifecycle stage) or by creating and assigning fully-customizable Project Tags. Fix efforts can then be prioritized accordingly—by team, type of application, data sensitivity—the sky’s the limit.

Successfully scaling application security

To stay competitive, businesses today are evolving and growing quickly. Thanks to cloud computing, DevOps, and the cloud native model, new code is developed and deployed with unprecedented frequency. As cited above, this pace is challenging application security—54% of organizations regularly and knowingly ship vulnerable code because of the pressure to meet release deadlines.

Organizations looking to improve upon this stat require a solution that enhances productivity instead of hindering it. Snyk’s developer-first project management capabilities were designed to do just this, helping these teams organize, govern and prioritize their projects more easily, and ultimately—manage application and enterprise security more effectively.

Project Attributes are available across all Snyk Open Source and Snyk Container plans, including the Free plan. Project Tags are available in Snyk Open Source and Snyk Container Pro and Enterprise plans. Security Policies are available, in Beta, for Pro and Enterprise plans.