SAST vs. DAST vs. IAST: How is a Developer to Choose? - Part 2
March 07, 2023

Dotan Nahum
Check Point Software Technologies

With the increasing threat of cyber attacks, developers need to take the necessary steps to protect applications and find a middle ground between security and delivery time.

Start with SAST vs. DAST vs. IAST: How is a Developer to Choose? - Part 1

What Can Security Tools Do For Developers?

Security testing can't survive using manual assessments only. Why? Because it's too slow and unproductive. The introduction and wide adoption of DevOps allows for faster build times by using security tools to conduct assessments. The days of traditional testing are gone, and here's why:

Faster Detection - Automation allows for quicker assessments because it limits and detects errors during production. With the guidance of automated security tools, coders and devs learn what to do to remediate vulnerabilities.

Saving Cost - Detecting bugs quickly and as early as possible in the SDLC means less manual labor, which equals reduced operational costs.

Reducing Human Error - Let's face it, none of us are perfect. Each team can take ownership of its activities, enabling software security verification at all stages.

Consistent Assessments - Security tools perform consistent and reliable testing throughout multiple releases, reducing the risk of vulnerability curveballs.

Increased Product Quality - Users expect a high-quality product to keep their data safe, and offering a great user experience is key to developer recognition and business growth.

Improving Overall Reputation - A high level of security builds trust among users but also between developers. Devs benefit from the good reputation of products, projects, and businesses they're associated with, and a high-trust environment helps teams communicate more effectively.

SAST vs. DAST vs. IAST: Which One Should You Choose?

While DevOps provides many devs and businesses with solid development practices to follow that increase productivity, it introduces a significant risk since security teams often can't keep up with the demands. A revolutionary shift happened in traditional security practices to solve this problem, and DevSecOps was born. It introduces security at each of the eight typical stages of the DevOps lifecycle, ensuring a shift-left approach:

Plan: Threat modeling

Code: Code review, SAST (Static Application Security Testing)

Build: Software composition analysis

Test: DAST (Dynamic Application Security Testing), IAST (Interactive Application Security Testing), penetration testing

Release: Compliance validation

Deploy: Logging and auditing, threat intelligence

Operate: Patching, RASP (Runtime Application Self Protection)

Monitor: Security Monitoring

Every stage works harmoniously to allow developers to build and release new features into existing live applications with minimal effort compared to a traditional SDLC.


Selecting the most appropriate testing approach boils down to the requirement and the nature of the application. However, in most situations, there isn't a clear winner. Development teams need to use a combination of SAST, DAST, and IAST to keep the application secure.


In a practical approach, dev teams may decide to deploy SAST early on in the SDLC to guarantee secure coding practices. Next up comes DAST, which ensures a secure build at the testing stage. IAST provides a combination of SAST and DAST while reducing false positives. Development teams may also implement RASP to ensure that applications with legacy components remain secure by reducing the attack surface until they can upgrade them.

SAST: The Key to Clean Code Development?

It's the million-dollar question for dev teams: what's more critical, quick releases or secure releases? Although quick releases make fast profits, a single security breach can pull the rug from under the project. On the other hand, taking more time to secure the product could hinder dev teams' ability to deploy applications within the required timelines.

SAST could provide the answer by assisting in the jump from DevOps to DevSecOps. As an automated tool integrated into your existing CI/CD toolset, SAST covers all in-house written code, web and mobile applications, and every location in the cloud computing ecosystem. While some devs might complain about the time it takes to perform a SAST scan, the real question is: would you rather commit four to ten times your build time to security, or hash it out with vulnerabilities in each of these products after deployment?

Dividing and configuring the scan rules depending on each phase of the DevSecOps pipeline maximizes efficiency as shorter scans will occur further left in the development cycle. With comprehensive, custom rules and regular scanning, SAST will add no extra labor to the DevSecOps pipeline.

Dotan Nahum is Head of Developer-First Security at Check Point Software Technologies
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