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The SCA tools landscape and what it means to software supply chain security

The Forrester Software Composition Analysis Landscape, Q1 2023 report provides a competitive analysis of SCA tools. Here's how they deliver (and miss) on software supply chain security

Marshall Payne
Blog Author

Marshall Payne, Product Marketing Manager at ReversingLabs.


To identify and remediate vulnerabilities and threats in their software supply chain, enterprises are beginning to adopt software composition analysis (SCA) tools, which enable security teams to visualize their attack surface, identify risks, and enforce policies for open source components.

Forrester released a report stating the benefits, use cases, and competitive analysis of these tools, helping organizations implement the right SCA tools. This post is based on the findings in Forrester’s report.

[ Get Forrester's Software Composition Analysis Landscape, Q1 2023 Report ]

The business benefits of SCA tools

According to Forrester’s research, SCA tools enable enterprises to gain visibility into open source and third party components, reduce license, vulnerability, and operational risk, and apply consistent open source policies.

  • Gain visibility into open source and third-party components - SCA tools analyze applications and their dependencies to create an inventory of the open source, third-party, and proprietary components being packaged, assembled, and utilized. 
  • Reduce license, vulnerability, and operational risk - SCA tools are used by legal teams who are actively assessing license risk and reevaluating company policy as licenses evolve and new licenses are included. 

Additionally, SCA tools deliver developers critical information about out-of-policy licenses, vulnerable components, and malicious packages while providing guidance about how to remediate them. Developers also use SCA tools to identify healthy and secure components by looking at the activity, provenance, and pedigree of open source projects.

  • Apply consistent open source policies - Security teams must assess the overall risk presented by open source components across all applications, set consistent policies to keep risk to acceptable levels, and work with development teams to guide vulnerability remediation. 

Use cases for SCA tools

SCA tools validate the integrity of open source tools and packages, manage policies and the remediation of issues, provide detailed analysis, as well as protect workloads. This ensures components operate securely, establish consistent security practices, quickly respond to and eliminate problems, and generate detailed insights.

Listed below is a table detailing the functions, their purpose, and differentiators that various SCA tools have when addressing these use cases.

Use Case


Top Differentiators

Open source component health and package integrity

Identify health, maintained, and secure open source packages and containers from trusted sources and ensure package integrity

- Provenance, pedigree, reputation

- Project and container activity

- Malicious package detection

Policy management

Ensure third party and open source components meet the organization’s risk tolerance for vulnerabilities and license usage

- Out of the box policies

- Break the build

- Policy as code and policy audits


Help developers quickly remediate vulnerabilities and license incompatibilities in direct and transitive dependencies

- Intelligent and automated remediation

- License remediation

- Reachability and prioritization

Reporting and analytics

Multiple personas can report on metrics, trends, and status for their role; produce reports for internal, legal, and regulatory requirements 

- Vulnerability disclosure report

- DevOps metrics

- GRC, third party risk, and audit management integration

Container, serverless, and IAC scanning

Analysis and remediation breadth of coverage, including containers, serverless functions, IAC templates, developer tools, and more

- Container registry and orchestration integration

- IAC security in IDE pipelines

- Analysis of pipeline and development tools


Comparing SCA vendors

When assessing vendors, it’s important to determine their functionality, effectiveness, and business benefits.

To help organizations with this, Forrester compared vendors based on the 5 use cases listed above. Forrester’s research of ReversingLabs’ tooling is listed in the table below.


Open source component health and package integrity

Policy management


Reporting and analytics

Container, serverless, and IAC scanning








ReversingLabs is listed in Forrester’s SCA landscape report, and compared with 13 other vendors. It has coverage in four of five critical areas, which is the most of any vendor listed.  

ReversingLabs vs. other SCA vendors

According to Forrester’s analysis, ReversingLabs is the only vendor to have coverage in four of the five areas which are: Open source component health and package integrity, remediation, reporting and analytics, and container serverless, and IAC scanning.

ReversingLabs Software Supply Chain Security solution has the most robust functionality, helping security teams validate the integrity of components, immediately respond to issues, understand how their environment is functioning, and protect workloads which allows them to efficiently identify, remove, and prevent threats from entering and damaging the software supply chain.

ReversingLabs Software Supply Chain Security: More than an SCA tool

SCA tools locate vulnerabilities when scanning open source components and workloads, however, they fail to identify active threats embedded into their development environment. They only protect open source components, have limited policy customization, and may generate alerts with little to no context, providing partial coverage and inefficient security operations.

SCA tools’ limitations lead to unidentified threats, inconsistent security practices and policy enforcement, and excessive noise, causing greater risk for software supply chain attacks.

ReversingLabs’ Software Supply Chain Security (SSCS) platform has several features which align with SCA, while also providing additional coverage across the entire software supply chain. For example, the platform identifies malware and code tampering in open source and third party software components, validating the integrity of product updates and third party code before it is deployed. This allows the security team to look beyond the limited scope of SCA, address the larger software supply chain attack surface, and effectively manage threats and components. 

ReversingLabs’ Software Supply Chain Security also supports custom policy enforcement and contextual alerting, enabling users to enforce consistent security standards which fit their needs, receive alerts ranked by severity with recommended steps for remediation, and react quickly to threats.

[ See Special Report: The Evolution of Application Security Get Forrester's Software Composition Analysis Landscape, Q1 2023 Report ]

Keep learning

Explore RL's Spectra suite: Spectra Assure for software supply chain security, Spectra Detect for scalable file analysis, Spectra Analyze for malware analysis and threat hunting, and Spectra Intelligence for reputation data and intelligence.

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