In this episode of AppSec Builders, Jb is joined by security expert, John Steven, to discuss his BSIMM study findings, the fundamental shifts in AppSec, software-defined security governance, and much more.
Through his firm Aedify, John advises innovative security product firms as well as maturing security initiatives. John leads one such firm, ZeroNorth, as CTO. For two decades, John led technical direction at Cigital, where he rose to the position of co-CTO. He founded spin-off Codiscope as CTO in 2015. When both Cigital and Codiscope were acquired by Synopsys in 2016, John transitioned to the role of Senior Director of Security Technology and Applied Research. His expertise runs the gamut of software security—from managing security initiatives, to cloud security, to threat modeling and security architecture, to static analysis, as well as risk-based security orchestration and testing. John is keenly interested in software-defined security governance at the cadence of modern development. As a trusted adviser to security executives, he uses his unparalleled experience to build, measure, and mature security programs. He co-authors the BSIMM study and serves as co-editor of the Building Security In department of IEEE Security & Privacy magazine. John is regularly invited to speak and keynote.
[00:00:02] Welcome to AppSec Builders, the podcast for practitioners building modern AppSec hosted by JB Aviat.
Jb Aviat: [00:00:14] So welcome to this episode of AppSec Builders. Today I'm proud to interview John Stevens. So, John is the founding principle at Aedify where he advises product security firms. John, before that, you led ZeroNorth as a CTO and before that you were leading as co-CTO at the Cigital firm. Welcome, John.
John Steven: [00:00:36] Hello, how are you? Thanks for having me.
Jb Aviat: [00:00:38] I'm great, thanks for joining. So John, another thing that you've done is that you co-authored BSIMM, so could you let us know what it is and how it can be a useful tool to AppSec builders?
John Steven: [00:00:50] Yeah, it's worth clarifying because it's frequently misunderstood. The BSIMM is the building security in maturity model observational study. We went out and over a period of 11 years we've studied about two hundred and over two hundred firms and asked the question, what do you actually do to build your security initiative and to secure your software? And it doesn't prescribe what to do, but you can use it to look at what firms that are within your vertical or that look similar to you in terms of maturity, are doing with their time and money, and decide whether or not you want to replicate those behaviours or cut your own.
Jb Aviat: [00:01:29] So you are interviewing like CISO application security practitioners, developers like every actor of the security game.
John Steven: [00:01:38] Yes. Historically, the list has looked like what you described. What was interesting to us about the last two years of this study is that when we began talking with the CISO, they'd say, oh, you need to talk to the VP of Cloud on this, or actually you need to talk to the SREs and to to delivery or to the VP of engineering. The people we had to talk to fundamentally changed over the last two years. And that was a key finding that we we wrote about this year, that the people doing the work of security were shifting from the security group to the engineering, digital transformation and cloud groups.
John Steven: [00:02:20] And that's a big deal, right, because there's been these phrases...