Remember the 'Easy Button’ commercials that Staples introduced in their advertising campaigns back in 2005? That was 15 years ago –how time flies! The concept was simple. Staples featured a fictitious button in their ads that made every task in the office world instantaneous by simply pressing a button. Customers associated this magic with the Staples brand which makes office needs so easy to fulfill. The ‘Easy Button’ became so popular that Staples even produced it as a novelty office product due to customer demand. The branding mechanism was elegant in its simplicity. Staples makes it so easy for individuals to get what they need at work – as easy as pressing a button.
We see this concept play out every day throughout our lives at home and work – we want an ‘easy button’ for everything.
Technology continues to make our lives easier by automating previously manual tasks. These examples are so pervasive, we have begun to take them as commonplace. For example, digital assistants with voice recognition – remember when we had to use a handheld device to play our music, turn on the heat, or call someone? Or having a GPS in every car – remember having to call for directions and write them down whenever we needed to drive somewhere?
At work, it is no different. We want to be constantly guided and told where to focus our attention because of our lack of precious time. Take the ‘Focused Inbox’ feature of Outlook, for example. I have become so reliant on this feature automatically telling me which emails to read first, I don’t even notice it anymore. Of course, many of these technologies are made possible thanks to rapid advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning. But, the end result is I now have more ‘easy buttons’ than I need to complete everyday tasks at work and at home.
The ‘Easy Button’ for Cloud Readiness Assessment
On the CAST Highlight team, we pride ourselves in bringing to market a product that is fast, intuitive, and provides actionable insights about your application portfolio. In other words, we strive to provide the ‘easy button’ for Software Intelligence.
In the case of cloud readiness, CAST Highlight has been analyzing application source code to measure the readiness of an application to be migrated to PaaS for years. We provide a recommendation on which applications to migrate first; an easy to understand Cloud Ready score for each application; a list of specific ‘blockers’ to remove; and advice on how to remediate each blocker.
Azure and AWS now boast extensive catalogs of cloud services for your applications to adopt. How can you know which of these services is appropriate for your applications? In our latest release of CAST Highlight, we now recommend specific cloud services that are good candidates for your applications on Azure or AWS. Recommendations are automatically generated based on the source code analysis of an application to include storage services, data services, containers, and virtual machines, among others. Using CAST Highlight, you now have an ‘easy button’ for deciding which cloud services to consider adopting on Azure and AWS.
Fig 1: CAST Highlight now recommends specific Azure and AWS cloud services that are good candidates for applications, based on analysis of the application source code.
The ‘Easy Button’ for Understanding Open Source Risk
Software Composition Analysis (SCA), a feature of CAST Highlight, measures risks associated with the use of open source components within applications. Insights include potential security vulnerabilities, IP licensing risks, and obsolete components that are no longer supported, along with recommendations on how to upgrade components to remove these risks. However, the average enterprise application uses over 70 open source or third party components. In a portfolio of hundreds of applications, it can be overwhelming to rationalize all of the risks dormant in 1000s of components.
To make it easier to assess open source risk, the latest release of CAST Highlight now calculates an aggregate score called “Open Source Safety” that combines the severity of these three types of open source risks into one easy to understand score. Then, we take it a step further and integrate the business impact assessment of each application to help you focus your efforts on the most important applications first. Think of this as the Outlook Focused Inbox, or the ‘easy button’, for SCA.
Fig 2: CAST Highlight dashboards such as this cross the Open Source Safety with the Business Impact of each application to make decision making easier.
[Suggested additional reading: 'Open Source Software Risks: How to Prioritise']
These are just two of the new features in the latest release of CAST Highlight that make it easier to rapidly perform application portfolio analysis for accelerating cloud migration, managing open source risk, or performing smarter technology due diligence.
Read on to learn more about the new features in the latest release of CAST Highlight.
What’s new in CAST Highlight?
New Home Page Layout with OSS Safety Measure
The CAST Highlight home page layout now represents the three primary platform capabilities: Health, Cloud Readiness, and SCA. Featured in this new design is the new Open Source Safety measure which is an index based on component obsolescence, possible CVEs and license risk.
CVEs at Portfolio Level
SCA dashboards at the portfolio level now aggregate CVEs across all of your applications and the OSS components they are using. This helps prioritize the riskier components in use across the portfolio and make quicker decisions on where to focus remediation efforts.
Cloud Platform-Specific Service Recommendations
Based on your application characteristics, CAST Highlight consolidates insights to recommend platform-specific cloud services that could be a good fit for your application once migrated to the cloud. Currently, AWS and Azure recommendations are supported.
SCA Component License History
Open Source components in your applications may change licenses from one version to the next. Depending on the license, this could have legal and operational impacts on your organization. CAST Highlight now flags license changes and displays the license timeline of components by version to help you make more informed decisions.
Swift Support for Software Health
CAST Highlight now supports Apple’s mobile programming language SWIFT with Software Health measures. 30 code insights on Software Resiliency, Agility and Elegance are available in this new version delivering more actionable insights for assessing SWIFT applications.
Color Coding for Custom Indicators
Users can now better understand the different parameters that positively or negatively impact custom indicator scores. At the application level, clicking on a custom indicator displays the survey questions and answers with an easy-to-read color coding enabling quicker analysis of these metrics.
Enhanced PowerPoint Report Export
The PPT file report you can export from CAST Highlight has been enhanced to now include insights from our new Software Composition Analysis capability such as component obsolescence, license risk and vulnerabilities. And, it is now exported in widescreen 16:9 format.
Useful Resources to Get Started
The Highlight team has developed very useful resources to help you onboard the platform, operate automation and API tools and leverage our software analytics within your organization. Visit the Product Tutorial page.