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Code Audit | Why Do You Need it?

Code Audit | Why Do You Need it?
blog-author Nitin 20+ Years of Exp. Delivery Head
Avner Avner Technical Writer

The 2019 Capital One cyber incident is still fresh on our minds. Poor code quality was one of the main reasons for hackers to steal the personal information of 106 million individuals. A simple code audit and Capital One could have avoided significant financial losses.

To avert a scenario like Capital One, you can invest in a process like source code audit that prevents vulnerabilities and ensures code quality.

So, you must perform a code audit for two primary purposes – avoiding financial losses and saving your company’s reputation. In a simple line, consider software code audit a strategic investment for protecting your business and building trust.

This blog will explain why you should care and rectify weak code. Further, we will also explain what a good code audit cover. So, without any ado, let’s begin.

Code Audit: Why Should You Care?

Perform a Code Audit

An insecure code can prove costly. How?

You can face the following types of consequences:

  • Data breaches
  • Downtime
  • Compliance issues

Let’s break down each aspect and understand how your app or portal that a weak code has can cost your business.

Data Breaches

Data Breaches

A weak code can expose sensitive information to unauthorized access.

Here are some points that explain the vulnerability exploits:

  • Unsecure coding practices: Code containing errors, like buffer overflows or SQL injection vulnerabilities, can create entry points for attackers to inject malicious code.
  • Insufficient input validation: If code doesn’t correctly validate user input, attackers can inject malicious scripts.
  • Broken authentication and authorization: Weak password hashing, lack of multi-factor authentication, or improper access controls can allow attackers to bypass security measures and steal data.

Now, data breaches can lead to financial issues. This table will explain the main challenges.

Category Explanation
Fines Regulatory bodies like the GDPR can impose fines for information theft. Here’s an interesting stat – The international average cost of a data breach (in 2023) was USD 4.45 million!
Legal costs Lawsuits from affected individuals and regulatory investigations can incur significant legal fees
Customer compensation Businesses might be liable to compensate affected customers for damages like identity theft or fraud.
Loss of business Breaches can damage brand reputation and lead to customer loss, impacting revenue


Down Time

This facet is directly proportional to a faulty code. If your code contains errors, the following outcomes have high possibilities:

  • Bugs and crashes
  • Integration issues
  • Scalability problems
  • Security exploits
  • Deployment risks

A code audit does prevent such outcomes. But, before delving deep into understanding software code audit, you need to be aware of the risks of not performing one.

Understand this – A faulty code can lead to lost productivity. Every minute of downtime can translate to low employee efficiency, impacting output and revenue. Furthermore, you can lose potential revenue if customers cannot access services or make purchases due to downtime.

Depending on the industry, downtime might include additional costs like restoring lost data or rerouting operations.

Compliance Issues

Compliance Issues

If you are a business in sectors like healthcare or finance, it is mandatory to perform a code audit. For instance, if you don’t comply with HIPAA or PCI DSS regulations, get ready to pay a hefty fine.

Similar to data breaches, non-compliance can damage a company’s reputation and hamper customer trust. In addition, you can also face operational disruptions, as implementing compliance measures after violations can interrupt operations and incur additional costs.

So, you should care about performing a source or website code audit. This way, you can ensure data safety, compliance with the regulations, and downtime prevention.

Tip: We have a handy resource that can help boost your cyber security. Read our blog on the ‘Top Front End Security Best Practices’ for these invaluable insights.

Code Audit: What Does it Cover?

Code Audit

Now, let’s come to the technical side of code audit. What does this process cover?

Well, to begin with, you should understand the meaning of code audit.

In simple words, code audit implies analyzing your existing code to look for issues, shortcomings, or flaws in your project. Generally, experienced programmers perform these audits.

A source code audit ensures your software is reliable, secure, and easy to maintain.

The Types of Code Audit

The Types of Code Audit

There are several categories of code audits. After all, you can customize this process to serve your unique requirements.

However, as a decision-maker, you should understand some popular software code audit types.

Here are the main ones:

  • Manual code audit: In this type, a developer examines the source code line by line and checks for errors, inconsistencies, and bad practices.
  • Security audit: As the name suggests, this type of code audit focuses on vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.
  • Front-end review: A developer focuses on the user experience of the website or app, ensuring things like responsiveness, clarity, and performance.
  • Back-end review: This type of audit evaluates the code structure, efficiency, and potential technical issues.
  • Compliance audit: This analysis ensures that your code follows specific regulations or industry standards.

Overall, dedicated developers can perform any of these audits as per your requirements. So, ensure you understand the basics of these evaluations to make the best decision.

Focus Areas of a Code Audit

Focus Areas of a Code Audit

Which aspects does a code audit cover?

Well, the answer to this question is subjective. However, a comprehensive software code audit includes the following vital facets:

  • Security
  • Code quality
  • Performance
  • Compliance

To offer a simplified flow of information, we will present the information in a tabular format for each focus area.

1. Security

Vulnerability assessment Input validation Authorization and access control
A code audit identifies weaknesses in the code that attackers could exploit to gain access, steal data, or disrupt operations This evaluation verifies that user input doesn’t introduce security risks like SQL injection or cross-site scripting Make sure only authorized users access specific data and functionality.

2. Code Quality

Coding standards and best practices Code complexity Documentation
A code audit checks for adherence to established coding rules that promote readability, consistency, and ease of maintenance It also identifies areas where the code is overly complex or difficult to understand. A thorough evaluation assesses the availability and quality of documentation explaining the code’s purpose, functionalities, and logic.

3. Performance

Resource usage Scalability Algorithm and data structure choices
An audit evaluates how a code utilizes resources like memory, CPU, and network bandwidth. It analyzes the code’s ability to handle increased load and user traffic without performance issues A source code audit checks if the code uses suitable algorithms and data structures for optimal performance and memory usage.

4. Compliance

Industry regulations Explanation
A code audit verifies compliance with relevant industry regulations or data privacy laws that apply to the software It also checks adherence to the organization’s specific coding standards and best practices.

Software Code Audit Stepwise Process

By now, you must be sure that a code audit is one of the most vital processes in the IT field. So, the decision to hire dedicated developers for this must be on your mind.

If you have this strategy lined up, ensure that you know the steps experts perform for conducting a source code audit. This section contains all the crucial details of each stage.

The Preparation Phase

The Preparation Phase

In this stage, the developers define your codebase. Then, they outline aspects like security, performance, speed, and others for audit purposes.

The preparation stage also involves the collection of relevant documents, code samples, and other details about the process. Finally, the preparation phase also consists of choosing the type of code audit experts according to the project’s requirements.

Codebase Analysis Phase

Assessment of the Codebase

The analysis phase in a software code audit involves a detailed evaluation of the structure, design, and tech stack. Experienced developers can use automated tools to find errors, bugs, and compliance with standard regulations.

Then, they find potential risks and areas for improvement (if any) by examining the code samples.

In-depth Assessment

In-depth Assessment

This stage deals with a detailed assessment of security weaknesses, resource usage, and code efficiency.

The developers perform all of the following types of evaluations:

  • Performance analysis
  • Vulnerability assessment
  • Compliance review
  • Maintainability assessment

After completing these steps, the concerned personnel move towards reporting the entire code audit.

The Reporting Stage

Final Documentation and Reporting

This final step ensures proper recording of the code audit in a systematic manner. The auditors include details on risks, issues, improvement scope, and recommendations.

The best source code audit also includes a plan to address the critical facets depending on the severity. So, ensure that you receive a report that consists of all such parameters at a fluent pace.

Popular Code Audit Tools

Plenty of software in the market can lead to some confusion. So, thorough knowledge of the best source code audit tools can prove helpful.

This information equips you to make the right decisions and gauge whether a company is using the best options in the market. So, consider these names for proper code audit:

  • ESLint
  • Burp Suite
  • SonarQube
  • Jmeter
  • Codacy
  • Bitbucket Pull Requests

Our dedicated developers use tools like Jmeter and Bitbucket Pull Requests to perform code audits on demand. So, you can contact us to conduct a comprehensive source code audit.

Wrapping Up

A code audit is one of the most vital evaluations in any software development project. Expert auditors can assess your codebase and create a solid report covering security, code quality, performance, and compliance.

Once you receive a source code audit report, rectifying any shortcomings or potential improvements becomes easier. The best developers follow a systematic process to conduct a software code audit.

This process includes steps like preparation, codebase analysis, in-depth assessment, and final documentation. Specific automation tools like Jmeter and ESLint can be helpful to augment the quality of code audits.

So, to prevent data breaches and downtime and save yourself from financial losses, make it a mandatory inclusion in your project plan. For more assistance, contact our team, and we will perform a customized source code audit to ensure your end product is ready for a final take-off.

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