More than once in our articles, we have mentioned that the creation of the product itself is only the beginning of the adventure. Digital product software needs to be taken care of, to run smoothly and not bring financial losses in the form of massive errors. Whether the application is new or old, whether it receives positive feedback from users or a whole list of complaints – it is necessary to perform a proper code audit once in a while to prevent unexpected problems.
What is a code audit?
A code audit involves a detailed analysis of a product’s source code. It allows you to verify the quality of the code, as well as learn about its architecture and check its performance and resistance to cyber-attacks. Such analysis is a key procedure that provides insight into the overall state of the software and tells a lot about its maintainability. Conducting a regular code audit is necessary and brings many benefits to product management companies.
Why it’s worth doing a code audit?
While performing a code audit, experts are tasked with finding as many gaps and risks as possible that could cause problems for your product. Sometimes the bugs are simply the result of code built on outdated tools, which can make it incompatible with newer security updates.
Therefore, doing an audit is very beneficial, because it allows you to confirm that your code is secure and compliant with common standards. What’s more, it should prove that all the product’s licenses are up-to-date and that it doesn’t violate any copyrights.
The code audit also carries the value that it helps us get to know the product properly. After analyzing the results, we will know what methodologies were used to build it, if there will be no problem adding new functionality to the code, and if everything is properly documented and follows basic organizational practices.
Since the review of the entire product is a very time-consuming activity – five types of software audits are listed, characterized by different research objectives. These are:
This is an audit that gives preliminary information about the nature of software code and helps determine whether it was written in accordance with current standards. It can be used for both MVPs and finished projects.
It is dedicated to the operation of servers and networks. The audit is designed to verify that systems are running efficiently, helps optimize servers, and most importantly, checks that they are running up to date and not compromising system security.
As the name suggests, this type of audit focuses primarily on detecting gaps in software security.
In this case, the review concentrates on the core elements responsible for the performance, the responsiveness of the interface, and the related user experience of the product.
In this case, experts primarily check the technologies used to create the code and its structure. This type of review shows whether the tools used are not outdated and whether the code was written in accordance with current rules.
Organization of the code audit
When conducting a software code audit, it is advisable to divide it into several stages that will make it easier for experts to make an efficient assessment. Here are example breakdowns:
At the beginning of the audit, it is recommended to conduct a basic study that will give initial information about the code and its structure. This stage should conclude with a check for any internal errors that could cause problems in the functionality of the product.
Automatic code analysis
This stage searches for errors in the source code, related to violations of specifications, as well as problems typical for the programming language being used. This is a good time to check the main controllers, and it is also possible to check the code for its business logic.
It is recommended that engineers also conduct a manual audit to identify more bugs that threaten the maintenance of the product in the future, as well as catch possible gaps that could lead to dangerous situations, such as data leakage.
The final step is to summarize the results of the previous tests into a single report, which will contain a comprehensive analysis of the code, including all the bugs found and suggestions for fixing them. It is worth remembering to make the report easy to read not only for developers but also for customers.
When is a code audit necessary?
A code audit is not always necessary, but sometimes it becomes a kind of to-be or not to be. Here are some examples of such situations.
Purchase of an application
It is understandable that it is better to know what you are buying. The idea of an app itself may be attractive, but its technical condition and functionality are what will make users want to use it with pleasure. That’s why, whether you’re a buyer or a seller, during the transaction process, an audit is a must. A code audit is not just a nice-to-have for an application. Sometimes it’s a matter of legal liability to show that the product meets all technical standards and doesn’t violate copyright laws.
If you’re dealing with a digital product that has been on the market unchanged for several years – check it out. There’s a good chance that it may have some problems typical for old software, like security vulnerabilities or problems with updating and compatibility with newer versions of integrated software.
Implementing a new product
If you think this is the obvious time to do a proper audit before officially rolling out a digital product to the market – you’re right! As a developer or principal, it’s better to be one hundred percent sure of the quality of the product you’re releasing than to pay and stress over bugs that will start to surface after the release, and that you could have avoided earlier.
Do you want to find out more about code audit?
Product users are disappointed
When users start reporting increasing problems with the product’s performance like slow loading, hanging, and lack of responsiveness – something is wrong, and a code audit should be done. After all, the point is to cause a quality user experience, right? In order to do that, you need to find out as soon as possible where the problem is.
A complex and reliable code audit can be one of your company’s risk management measures. Not only is it able to catch errors, but it also helps you better understand your product and the potential risks that can affect not only the product, but the company behind it. In this way, you are able to influence the position of your business in the market and resolve possible crises in advance.
A code audit is always a good idea
There is actually no bad time for a code audit. Just like any machine (airplane or bicycle), any software needs to be checked regularly to ensure that it runs smoothly and provides safety and quality to users. Regularity in this area can also effectively minimize the cost of fixing unexpected bugs (which can sometimes be very expensive). If, while reading this, you realize that you need a holistic code audit of your product, or you are trying to invest in a project that you haven’t fully audited yet – contact us! At Applover, we will help you deal with the problems of your application and advise you on how to go about conducting an audit that will benefit your business.