Why Open Source? Six Major Advantages From a Security Perspective

May 27, 2021

The concept of open source software has shifted considerably from what some enterprises once thought about it. Any negative thoughts then were all misconceptions or not understanding what open source really is. Considering open source software is often free or low-cost, you’re not out any major money if the software you receive isn’t good enough.

Buying software you pay for can sometimes mean inferiority as well, meaning loss of even bigger money in the process. From this perspective, you can see why open source took off as a legitimate method of acquiring software.

From a security angle, it brings another level of importance to software development companies like yours. Take a look at six major security advantages of open source for your developers and those using your platform.

1. The Transparency Aspect

What many companies prefer about open source is the openness on where open source software comes from. When you buy new software, you can’t get information on the code base, support from an online community, or information on any potential bugs.

Open source makes everything transparent so it won’t leave security concerns. With secret proprietary code potentially spreading viruses to computer systems, companies don’t want to take any risks with other sources. This can include lock-in risks as well, something open source eliminates.

If someone doesn’t like the open source software they’re using, they can simply discard it.

Those of you offering open source software may want to add your own discussion forum so those downloading your software can trust your expertise.

2. Tested Code

The advantage to having an online community discussing your open source software makes it easier for companies to trust the safety of the platform. Because your code is continually tested, it’s going to bring more reliability to those using it.

This is a good security measure for you because you’ll know the software you developed won’t crash a user’s system. For them, it prevents possible downtime trying to solve a major bug in the software.

Since your code is developed in online forums and guided by your expert development team, those who download your software always have an online source to consult. Making this easy to access for everyone is essential so you don’t give the impression you’re hiding something.

3. Any Security Issues are Patched Immediately

Open source software isn’t always perfect when first posted, but no software is. Almost any kind of platform your team develops has some bugs when first placed in open source forums.

Thanks to open source communities, you’ll know where the bugs are quickly. This means any company downloading your software can get the assurance you’ll find a quick fix.

Security patches should always occur quickly to maintain customer trust. Security was once one of the reasons enterprises balked on using open source software. Now they no longer worry about it because they know online communities ensure security patches occur fast.

A good quote to remember comes from Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Open-Source Linux operating system. Known as Linus’s Law, he said:

“Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.”

4. More Flexibility for Users

Not having enough flexibility in the use of software can lead to security issues for many companies. Open source software allows for not only better flexibility, but also agility.

Most importantly, when you offer open source platforms, you prevent the users from dealing with lock-ins from proprietary software companies. This usually leads to enterprises being at the mercy of price increases and not being able to use the software the way they want.

As a result, it could lead to security issues for the user since they won’t be able to configure it to suit their business structure. It could leave them vulnerable to hackers or some other unforeseen security event. Considering we’re living in a minefield of numerous security mishaps, providing flexibility in your own software is essential for your own reputation.

Word can spread fast if you ultimately provide lock-ins and price gouging. It’s also a good idea to avoid repackaging your open source software with proprietary hooks. Many going into open source forums become irked being roped into such tactics.

5. Bringing More Sustainability

Another advantage to posting and using open source software is that the ones with fully developed online communities often continue to grow indefinitely.

In other words, it means continual updates to the software your team developed. Ongoing updates are essential for the security of the companies who use your software. When they can get an assurance you’ll continually improve your platform, it helps them keep on top of the latest trends or features to stay competitive.

Otherwise, they’d have to invest in new technologies or software, something they may not be able to afford immediately. When they wait too long to upgrade, they ultimately fall behind.

Open source ultimately works on a symbiotic basis to help your reputation and to keep businesses from stagnating with the software they use.

6. Bringing More Speed for Available Software

Saving time and money is also the best security for any enterprise. Offering open source platforms speeds up the entire process in providing software enterprises need now to stay competitive.

It’s why they’ve turned to open source forums in more recent years to find something now rather than wait until top software makers release upgrades.

Even so, you still need to take time to create software with well-written code. A lot of poorly written open source platforms are still out there, though the development teams behind those quickly disappear.

Your online community is the best resource you have in making sure you provide a quality product and bringing the speed enterprises want.

Providing as much customization as possible to your users should also become top of mind. Reputation is everything in open source arenas, something potentially keeping you in business for many years to come.

Visit us at Kiuwan to learn about our end-to-end security application security platform to help you make more informed decisions about the security of your applications.

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