> Gary, I would love a little refinement of the benefits to badnessometers.
> Let's say I get a tool to tell me something I already suspect is wrong,
> what percentage of the population are better than they expected?

I won't speak for Gary, but working a few doors down I have seen a few of the 
same things he has.

Occasionally developers internally run free tools and surrepetitiously fix 
problems that the tools find (this happens in some cultures where management is 
particularly antagonistic towards security as a first class concern). In those 
unusual instances, I could see the results of a badnessometer coming out better 
than expected. Management would perceive that such things had never been run, 
and would be pleasantly surprised to learn that the sky might not be falling. 
Other than that, few people run a tool for the first time and see results 
better than they expected. Tools codify all manner of stuff that your 
developers almost certainly do not know how to check for (and if they do, they 
probably don't have time).

> Is it better to do such a badness test by doing a POC with one of the
> tool vendors in this space or do I get additional lift by going with
> a consulting firm in this regard?

I'm a consultant, take that as implied bias. But, I think you do get lift, and 
here's my analogy. Consider yourself a handy guy around the house who is going 
to do something moderately complicated, like redo a whole bathroom. You can buy 
all the tools and read all the books on how to do it for a lot less money than 
hiring a contractor to do the whole thing.  There's some pretty specialized 
tools in plumbing, though, and they're tools you probably haven't used more 
than once or twice. Do you gain some extra insight into the use of those tools 
by hiring someone experienced to assist on the complicated parts? I think so. 
That someone experienced will come in, help you wield the unfamiliar tool, show 
you some things that he has experienced, and get you through the difficult 
parts. Then you, being the handy guy you are, are left to finish the bathroom, 
doing things you know how to do well.

I think this analogy holds with a lot of the tools in security. You learn a lot 
by getting the experience someone brings, assuming you get a good someone. We, 
for example, have run a bunch of tools on a lot of different code bases. We 
know which rules tend to be alarmist and which ones are really important if 
they fire. Tool vendors won't give you that objectivity on their own tool, and 
some of the sales engineers don't have the insight into their own tool to know 
which warnings are just noise and which warnings are a big deal. A consultant 
can help you have a bake-off between tools, whereas a tool vendor typically 
lacks that objectivity.


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