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Software Code Audits: The 3 Major Types

The 3 major types of software code audits are software quality assurance, software compliance, and software licensing. Learn more

A code audit is a comprehensive review of source code that is used to identify coding issues and vulnerabilities. The purpose of a code audit is to ensure that code is secure, reliable, maintainable, and meets the organization's standards. There are three major types of code audits: manual code audits, automated code audits, and hybrid code audits.

1. Manual code audits

A manual code audit is a human-driven review of code that is performed by experienced developers. Manual code audits can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, but they offer the highest level of scrutiny and can identify subtle issues that automated tools may miss. Manual code audits typically involve reviewing code line-by-line, looking for potential vulnerabilities, logical errors, and other issues.

Manual code audits are typically performed as part of a larger software development life cycle (SDLC) process, such as before code is released into production or during code maintenance. Manual code audits are an important part of software development because they help ensure the quality, security, and maintainability of code.

2. Automated code audits

Automated code audits are performed using software tools that analyze code for potential issues. Automated code audits are often used to supplement manual code audits, as they can quickly analyze large volumes of code for potential vulnerabilities, coding issues, and other problems.

Automated code audits are typically performed using static analysis tools that analyze code without executing it. These tools can identify coding issues such as uninitialized variables, buffer overflows, and potential race conditions. Automated code audits are often performed as part of a continuous integration (CI) process, where code is automatically analyzed as it is checked into a source code repository.

3. Hybrid code audits

A hybrid code audit combines the best aspects of both manual and automated code audits. Hybrid code audits typically involve a team of experienced developers who perform a manual code review while also using automated tools to supplement their analysis.

Hybrid code audits can be particularly effective because they combine the benefits of human expertise with the efficiency of automated tools. Hybrid code audits are often performed as part of a comprehensive code review process, which includes reviewing code for functional correctness, performance, and security.

Code audits vs. code reviews

While code audits and code reviews are similar in that they both involve reviewing code for potential issues, they are different in several important ways. A code review is typically a less formal process than a code audit and is often performed as part of a collaborative software development process. Code reviews are typically focused on improving code quality, sharing knowledge, and identifying potential issues early in the development process.

Code audits, on the other hand, are more formal and are typically performed by experienced developers who specialize in code analysis. Code audits are focused on identifying potential security vulnerabilities, coding errors, and other issues that may not be easily identified during a code review.

In conclusion, code audits and code reviews are both important and help ensure code quality, security, and maintainability. There are three major types of code audits: manual code audits, automated code audits, and hybrid code audits. Each type of code audit has its own benefits and drawbacks, and the best approach will depend on the specific needs of your organization.

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