Meaning of Code Audit ⎻ When and Why We Need It

Analyzing the existing code of your project, aiming to avoid future problems, enhance the performance, and provide a more reliable and resilient source code.

Digital Quality
10 min
Digital Quality
Meaning of Code Audit ⎻ When and Why We Need It

A software code audit gives your business a chance to analyze the existing code of a project to look for issues based on where you are at in the process. Using code review tools, auditors find malicious code and other issues that are currently causing problems as well as issues that might cause problems in the future.

Just like investing money into a fixer-upper house or paying to update and customize an old car or motorcycle, this code review process gives you a chance to save the parts of a project that are worth saving.

That way, your business can continue to build on top of them — instead of tossing the whole project out and starting over with a blank slate.

It is one of the best ways to get the most value out of existing software and hosting environments for source code. Let’s take a deeper look into the meaning of a code audit and when and why you might need one.

What is the meaning of a code audit?

It is never too late to learn the meaning of a code audit. Whether you are just starting to research new project ideas, are neck-deep in the product development process, or already have an existing product on the market, a code audit can help ensure everything runs more smoothly, quickly, and cost-efficiently.

In the simplest terms, a software code audit is a thorough code review that examines source code vulnerabilities, security weaknesses, best practices for your product, and overall integrity.

The meaning of a code audit also includes an analysis of a software’s architecture to see how well it will work for a business. It is the best way to catch bugs, out-of-date tools, security risks, and other issues that can lead to costly problems for the development team down the road.

There are five types of code audits: manual, backend, frontend, security, and infrastructure.

types of code audit, manual, front-end, back-end, security, infrastructure

They each involve testing different elements of software engineering, but the same general meaning of a code audit applies to all five.

Why do I need a code audit?

Code audits are usually performed on an existing codebase that is currently in working order. The function and meaning of a code audit are to find out what shape the code is in (i.e., how much longer it will continue working based on the state of the current codebase).

This is usually done when a company wants to grow and needs an update to its code or because they realize the existing project’s architecture, core technologies, or tools are not up to speed.

A code audit can help avoid deeper problems down the line. It looks at the product as a whole and flags areas where it needs an upgrade in quality, maturity, and maintainability.

The meaning of a code audit usually includes the following goals:

  • Gaining a better understanding of the structure and functionality of the project
  • Finding existing bugs
  • Avoiding potential future bugs
  • Validating performance and scalability
  • Assessing the maintainability level of the current code and the risks and costs associated with maintaining it
  • Examining and verifying adherence to software development standards, guidelines, and best practices

Depending on your specific industry and project, the meaning of a code audit can vary greatly. Businesses can have a wide variety of micro and macro goals. Regularly reviewing code helps a company save money and avoid product failure and loss of customers.

When should I get a code audit?

You might need a code audit if:

  • Your product is old and running on outdated or obsolete code.
  • Your product is performing very slowly.
  • Your product is showing issues with responsiveness.
  • You have had a security breach or other security issues.
  • Something is affecting the efficiency of your product, but you’re not sure what it is.
  • It has been over six months since you’ve done a code audit.
  • Your team members are just learning the meaning of a code audit.

How to ensure compliance in a code audit

Performing a code audit is the best way to identify security flaws. Over 50% of security vulnerabilities are due to implementation failures.

To avoid this costly issue, companies use code audits to obtain specific feedback on how software development lifecycles can be improved to save time and money as well as provide more security for users.

There are three main models for code auditing: static, dynamic, and manual.

Manual auditing

To perform manual audits, the auditing team needs to possess a solid understanding of the product’s architecture. Utilizing this model for reviewing code requires skills of professional level, decent experience, persistence and patience.

A manual audit process is a way of detecting vulnerabilities and programming problems by reviewing comments and summaries of the functionality of each method. As a result, manual code review can be a slow and tedious methodology.

Static auditing

In a static model, source code is validated automatically — usually at compilation. Analysis tools like FindBugs can be used to inspect Java byte code for bug patterns without needing to run the program code.

Static analysis uses techniques like pattern searching to find simple and complex failures in code quality.

The issue with using a tool like this is that it only searches for a limited number of vulnerabilities. This means that you will miss any vulnerabilities not pre-programmed into the static tool.  

Dynamic auditing

A dynamic audit uses a behavioral analysis model. It runs an application and analyzes it from the perspective of a hacker looking for vulnerabilities while using it.

This model makes it possible to find a wide range of vulnerabilities that might go unnoticed if you were just to follow coding standards and look for bugs in the code.

All three models can yield important and beneficial insights. Ideally, a business will try to get the most comprehensive and objective view of their product — and the best way to ensure this happens is by beginning with a source code audit to take a current inventory of the code elements.

Once you have a clear understanding of your code elements, you can strategize the next steps to ensure the project has a successful future.

Code review checklist

Here’s a quick overview of must-have items you should always look out for in a code audit:

  1. Verify Feature Requirements
  2. Check Code Readability
  3. Define Coding Style
  4. Use Clear Naming
  5. Check for Code Duplication
  6. Test All Coding Paths
  7. Update Documentation

To run the above mentioned actions and other use the best tools out there.

What happens after a code audit?

The true value and meaning of a code audit become apparent after it is finished, when it leads to the beginning of something else.

If you’re doing a code audit, chances are you are considering the future of your product, planning an upgrade, enhancing security for your users, or adding an exciting new feature.

A code review (another name for code audit) helps you assess what kind of investment of money and energy these changes will require so you can start mapping out the future of your project — and your business.

Interested in taking your project to the next level now that you know the meaning of a code audit? Adservio has the right experience for solving issues related to software applications and optimizing digital experiences.

We have the expertise and best practices to conduct an in-depth code audit on new and existing projects, ensuring that your product offers maximum value and security to your customers.

Published on
April 20, 2022

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