Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Application Security Testing

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Application Security Testing

Published 18 April 2019 – ID G00346593 – 58 min read

DevSecOps, modern web application design and high-profile breaches are expanding the scope of the AST market. Security and risk management leaders will need to meet tighter deadlines and test more complex applications by accelerating efforts to integrate and automate AST in the software life cycle.

Strategic Planning Assumption

By 2022, 10% of coding vulnerabilities identified by static application security testing (SAST) will be remediated automatically with code suggestions applied from automated solutions, up from less than 1% today.

Market Definition/Description

Gartner defines the application security testing (AST) market as the sellers of products and services designed to analyze and test applications for security vulnerabilities.Gartner identifies three main styles of AST:

  • SAST technology analyzes an application’s source, bytecode or binary code for security vulnerabilities, typically at the programming and/or testing software life cycle (SLC) phases.
  • Dynamic AST (DAST) technology analyzes applications in their dynamic, running state during testing or operational phases. It simulates attacks against an application (typically web-enabled applications and services), analyzes the application’s reactions and, thus, determines whether it is vulnerable.
  • Interactive AST (IAST) technology combines elements of SAST and DAST simultaneously. It is typically implemented as an agent within the test runtime environment (for example, instrumenting the Java Virtual Machine [JVM] or .NET CLR) that observes operation or attacks and identifies vulnerabilities.

AST can be delivered as a tool or as a subscription service. Many vendors offer both options to reflect enterprise requirements.The 2019 Magic Quadrant will focus on a vendor’s SAST, DAST and IAST offerings, maturity and features as tools or as a service. Gartner has observed that the major driver in the evolution of the AST market is the need to support enterprise DevOps initiatives. In a DevOps environment, customers require offerings that provide a higher degree of automation, correlation of findings and integration with DevOps pipeline tools. In general, clients desire solutions that focus on high-assurance, high-value findings with fast turnaround times. Buyers expect offerings to fit earlier in the development process with testing often driven by developers rather than security specialists, and tightly integrated as part of the build and release process. As a result, this market evaluation focuses more heavily on the buyer’s needs when it comes to supporting rapid and accurate testing that is capable of being integrated in an increasingly automated fashion throughout the software development life cycle (SDLC).AST vendors innovating, partnering and offering runtime application self-protection (RASP; a technology for allowing applications to protect themselves from vulnerability exploitation at runtime) were weighted more heavily. Those offering software composition analysis (SCA; a technology used to identify open-source and third-party components in use in an application and their known security vulnerabilities) were also weighted more heavily. These solutions help organizations to deliver security throughout the SDLC and to further automate identifying and mitigating risks.Business-critical application security platforms, which incorporate AST for ERP platforms, are not the focus of this Magic Quadrant. Although we weigh coverage of these platforms from broader AST solutions, specific solutions in the business-critical application security space typically focus on a single platform. They go beyond code analysis by incorporating modules such as configuration checks, vulnerability management and intrusion monitoring, which are all out of scope for this research.AST for mobile applications is also not a major focus of this Magic Quadrant. Although Gartner has observed that enterprises today employ AST techniques represented in this research for the mobile app analysis use case, it is not a major driver of client requirements. They often obtain these capabilities from specialized mobile-centric vendors as well as from vendors evaluated in this research. The three styles of AST, as well as techniques for behavioral analysis, are often employed to analyze source, byte or binary or code. In addition, they observe the behavior of mobile apps to identify coding, design, packaging, deployment and runtime conditions that introduce security vulnerabilities.

Magic Quadrant

Figure 1. Magic Quadrant for Application Security Testing

Source: Gartner (April 2019)

Magic Quadrant for Application Security Testing

Vendor Strengths and Cautions


Based in Malta, Acunetix is an AST vendor with a strong reputation for its DAST solution. Acunetix serves primarily the North American markets, with a presence in the European and Asia/Pacific (APAC) region markets. The vendor provides an on-premises DAST solution in three bundles: Standard, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus. The platform is available on Windows and Linux. Acunetix also offers a hosted service, Acunetix Online. An IAST agent, AcuSensor, is available to all DAST customers. Acunetix also provides on-site application security training and consultant services.During the past 12 months, Acunetix has released support for Linux installations, as well as introducing the new AcuSensor agent to support Java applications. Acunetix’s DeepScan crawling feature has been enhanced with the integration of the Chromium browser engine to improve the processing of client-side JavaScript.Acunetix should be considered by enterprises looking for a flexible DAST solution, either on-premises or as a service, with competitive pricing.

  • Acunetix offers a strong DAST solution, with concurrent scanning and multiple scan configuration options to support in-depth manual testing. Acunetix is a good option for user-driven, stand-alone DAST required by mature AST organizations. The Acunetix Online service has most of the same options.
  • Acunetix can detect out-of-band vulnerabilities, leveraging its AcuMonitor service. Payloads are automatically configured to contact the AcuMonitor service if they execute after the scan has been completed, thus alerting to the presence of an out-of-band vulnerability.
  • Acunetix gets high marks from customers on the solution’s ease of use and accuracy, as well as the vendor’s support, frequent updates and enhancements.
  • Acunetix makes its IAST agent, AcuSensor, available for free to all DAST customers. The IAST agent supports PHP, .NET and Java applications. AcuSensor enhances DAST scans by providing improved coverage, accuracy and vulnerability verification. The agent enables vulnerabilities identified by the scanner to be pinpointed to the line of code where they originated.
  • Acunetix is one of the few vendors with published pricing, allowing prospects to compare features and expected licensing to make more-transparent competitive evaluations.
  • Acunetix does not offer SAST or SCA, and it does not partner for either.
  • AcuSensor does not offer running the IAST agent without a DAST scan, what is known as passive IAST. IAST only supports PHP, .NET and Java.
  • Acunetix does not offer testing of mobile applications.
  • Acunetix offers limited continuous integration (CI) plug-ins only for Jenkins, although a REST API is available for custom integrations. The vendor does offer several integrations with web application firewall (WAF) and bug-tracking systems.
  • Client feedback indicates that Acunetix DAST performance can lag when testing large, complex sites and that crashed scans require users to restart the scan from the beginning, though results to that point are saved.


Based in the U.S. and France, CAST is a software intelligence vendor that focuses on reliability, efficiency and security. CAST provides enterprise SAST with the CAST Application Intelligence Platform (AIP). CAST also provides a desktop SAST solution, as well as CAST Highlight, which is an offering that provides SAST pattern analysis and SCA. The CAST Security Dashboard enables application security professionals to plan and resolve application security vulnerabilities.During the past 12 months, the vendor acquired Antelink and integrated its SCA capabilities into CAST Highlight. CAST also improved automation by adding the ability to deliver new rules into the CAST platform between releases, without requiring an upgrade from the end user. The vendor also improved data flow capabilities and the analysis engine to improve performance in identifying security violations in very large applications. CAST also made improvements to its dashboard and management functionality.CAST will appeal to large enterprises that require a solution that combines security testing with quality testing, particularly for those that already leverage CAST AIP in the development process.

  • CAST is one of the few vendors in this research to offer a single solution that can be used for quality testing as well as security testing, which is an appealing option for DevSecOps clients. Client feedback highly rated the ability to get a single view into issues across security, quality and architecture. CAST’s Architecture Checker provides an architectural blueprint of the software that helps test composite applications in multiple languages, visualize the architecture to improve code security and reduce false positives.
  • CAST provides a scoring mechanism that can be calibrated to organization-specific criteria to track whether an application’s health is increasing or deteriorating, from security, reliability and multiple other standpoints.
  • CAST provides the ability to set up a plan of action based on a particular objective, such as reducing technical debt or improving the security score.
  • Client feedback favorably rated the scalability and performance of the SAST engine in analyzing larger applications.
  • CAST’s historic expertise mainly revolves around application quality testing, and the vendor is not yet recognized as an established application security vendor.
  • CAST’s SAST solution is missing certain SDLC integration features, such as a spell-checker SAST feature and incremental scanning.
  • CAST’s list of security checks is narrower than some of the well-established SAST players, and clients often cited this as a key area for improvement.
  • CAST does not provide DAST or IAST and has no partnership to deliver either.


Based in Israel, Checkmarx has a strong reputation for its SAST solution, has a significant presence in North America and Europe, and also serves the APAC region. Checkmarx provides CxSAST, which is a SAST product with broad language coverage that provides a variety of options to customize it for specific applications (such as by writing custom tests). Checkmarx also provides Checkmarx Open Source Analysis (CxOSA) with its partner, WhiteSource, for SCA. The vendor incorporates its CxCodebashing solution in the offering, which is a developer education platform that delivers short, gamified modules for secure coding training. Checkmarx’s managed service, AppSec Accelerator, offers SAST and DAST services (leveraging third-party DAST tools), an IAST solution called CxIAST, as well as program support to help development organizations integrate AST into their SDLCs.During the past 12 months, the vendor has largely focused on extending the capabilities of the unified management and orchestration layer in the Checkmarx Software Exposure Platform. The vendor added unified policy management, cross-product correlation and intelligent remediation, as well as Kotlin language support. Checkmarx’s products will appeal to application development and security organizations that are seeking a comprehensive set of AST products and services with a strong set of enterprise-class SAST capabilities and program support services.

  • Checkmarx offers strong SAST technologies that support a broad variety of programming languages and frameworks, scalability and quick turnaround times via incremental and parallel tests. The platform now includes IAST and DAST managed services, in addition to SAST, SCA and in-line training. The vendor has demonstrated a strong vision and can compete for most use cases, in particular where SAST is the primary driver.
  • The vendor’s SAST gets high marks from customers for its depth of remediation guidance and context, such as highlighting optimal remediation points and effective visual reporting. Most of the out-of-the-box functions have a shallow learning curve and clients indicate that the console is easy to learn and use for different audiences, such as developers, security auditors and managers.
  • Checkmarx has broad integration capabilities in the SDLC. Integrations are provided for popular source code repositories, build systems, bug-tracking systems, integrated development environments (IDEs) and quality assurance (QA) testing tools.
  • CxOSA, Checkmarx open-source software (OSS) analyzer, merges well with its SAST offering, enabling developers to make progress on their own code and third-party, open-source dependencies at the same time.
  • The CxCodebashing solution enables Checkmarx to deliver training to developers via short, interactive modules about the vulnerabilities identified in their scans, providing “just in time” training when it’s most relevant.
  • Although Checkmarx offers expanded, cloud-based services and a managed service offering, the client base still heavily skews toward on-premises SAST, the vendor’s flagship offering and traditional focus.
  • Gartner client feedback indicates that the vendor’s pricing scheme is not always transparent, making it appear arbitrary at times and difficult to align with the value derived. This can also complicate comparing its proposals with those from other vendors.
  • Checkmarx’s on-premises SAST requires a Windows-based server and an SQL database. This may be a hindrance for some clients and architectures and may raise the total cost of ownership (TCO), although clients can opt for a managed services option from Checkmarx as an alternative.
  • The vendor offers DAST only as a managed service through partnership. Gartner client feedback indicates that running custom queries can be complex, often requiring vendor investment in training. However, this functionality can help build custom tests to identify particular issues.

Contrast Security

Based in the U.S. and present in North America, Contrast Security is an AST vendor that also sells in the European and APAC regions. Contrast Security’s IAST (Contrast Assess) incorporates SCA. Contrast also offers RASP with its Contrast Protect product, which can be licensed independently or jointly with Assess. Contrast also offers a central management console, the Contrast TeamServer, which can be delivered as a service or on-premises. The testing approach, known as self-testing or passive IAST, does not require an external scanning component to generate attack patterns to identify vulnerabilities; rather, it is driven by application test activity, such as QA, executed automatically or manually.During the past 12 months, Contrast Security has released new bug-tracking integrations, a new feature to get real-time visibility into testing coverage by showing what code paths were tested, and expanded platform as a service (PaaS) by adding support for Azure Web Service.Contrast is a good fit for organizations pursuing a DevOps methodology and looking for approaches to insert automated, continuous security testing that’s transparent to developers and testers.

  • Contrast’s testing approach is more transparent to developers and security specialists and does not require stand-alone testing or training. Gartner client feedback indicates this helps in embedding AST among development teams without security testing expertise, because the agent can identify vulnerabilities through normal application execution.
  • Contrast SCA functionality provides statistics on which libraries are invoked by the application and how often the code is called by the application, allowing teams to prioritize remediation on those components that pose a known risk to the application.
  • Contrast Assess is one of the most broadly adopted IAST solutions and continues to compete on nearly every IAST shortlist.
  • Clients highly rate the ease of use of the tool and the vendor’s support. The vendor introduced a Community Edition for Assess and Protect to allow users to utilize the fully functional platform for a limited number of applications.
  • Contrast enhances remediation efforts by using the context available from instrumentation to automatically customize risk descriptions and mitigation recommendations to the technology and code in use.
  • Contrast Security does not provide stand-alone SAST or DAST tools or services.
  • Language and runtime support expansion has been limited considering IAST is the vendor’s sole stand-alone AST offering. The solution covers Java, .NET, Node.js and Ruby, with Python added in the last year.
  • Contrast continues to lack support for testing client-side logic executed in the browser only (for example, JavaScript or Java applets); therefore, it cannot identify client-side vulnerabilities, such as JavaScript-based Document Object Model (DOM) XSS.
  • Client feedback suggests that, due to the passive testing model, effective test coverage requires clients to have mature test automation capabilities or to run Contrast Assess in conjunction with DAST or “DAST-lite” tools. However, to address this, Contrast introduced a “route coverage” feature to give clients visibility into their test coverage by highlighting what parts of the application were exercised or still need to be covered.
  • Contrast can test mobile application back ends, but not the client-side code of the mobile app and does not conduct behavioral analysis.


Based in the U.S., IBM is a global vendor of IT services and products. In December 2018, HCL announced the acquisition of several IBM products, including the AppScan IBM AST suite. The acquisition is to be completed in 2019. HCL has been solely responsible for development and support for the past two years, and is directly engaged with clients.The AppScan portfolio includes AppScan Source and AppScan Standard for desktop SAST and DAST, respectively. It also provides AppScan Enterprise, which is an AST enterprise platform. IBM also provides AST as SaaS with IBM Security Application Security on Cloud (ASoC). The offerings within the portfolio can be used separately or in combination; for example, they can share scan configurations and settings across offerings. IBM’s IAST technology, called glass box, is included as part of the DAST offerings. IBM also offers Open Source Analyzer (OSA) for SCA, which licenses the vulnerability and remediation database from a partner.During the past 12 months, IBM added action-based crawling (ABC) to facilitate DAST, enabling a browser to interact with the crawled application and execute its components. It also added an AppScan Issue Management Gateway to synchronize ASoC with issue management tools, such as Jira Software from Atlassian. IBM has expanded its API-based automation capabilities for dynamic scanning with AppScan Enterprise, enhanced its IDE and CI plug-ins, and added predefined and custom policies for easier compliance. IBM also added capabilities to leverage Swagger to automate DAST scanning of REST APIs and added SAST language support for Python and Angular.AppScan will appeal to enterprises seeking a single provider of AST technologies with a focus on risk-based management and enterprise-class capabilities.

  • IBM’s dashboard and reporting leverages IBM’s Security Framework and Risk Assessment to provide risk prioritization for application vulnerabilities, combining the application business impact with issues detected during the scans.
  • IBM’s DAST has a good reputation as a customizable tool, especially for manual assessments. Its incremental scanning allows for faster scans and its action-based technology allows it to handle complex log-in scenarios in an automated fashion.
  • AppScan Enterprise includes a centralized management console that enables users to import findings from third-party tools, providing some application vulnerability correlation (AVC) capabilities. It also provides functionality for collaboration between security and development professionals, as well as specific views for managers and auditors.
  • IBM’s improvements have been focusing on better adapting the products to the needs of DevSecOps, by increasing automation, SDLC integration and support for modern languages. Gartner clients express satisfaction with the Intelligent Code Analytics (ICA) and Intelligent Finding Analytics (IFA) features that leverage machine learning to provide automated format recognition and reduction of false positives.
  • IBM’s solutions allows users to test the mobile application at a good level of detail and granularity, including the client and server side, leveraging the SAST, DAST, SCA and IAST parts of the offering.
  • Taking into account that a large portion of AppScan clients leverage it as part of an existing relationship or spending with IBM, the pending acquisition creates some uncertainty for clients around the future direction of the portfolio. However, concern is mitigated in part because HCL has been actively involved with the product for the past two years.
  • Gartner inquiry feedback indicates that IBM solutions are showing up in fewer competitive shortlists, especially in terms of static scanning. Clients often report that the SAST on-premises solution produces a large number of false positives out of the box, although clients note that IFA helps to reduce this.
  • IBM AppScan has a relatively small presence in Europe, compared with its presence in North America.
  • IBM’s glass box IAST technology cannot be delivered as a stand-alone product and does not support passive testing.
  • IAST for mobile, as well as ICA to recognize API behavior, and SCA are not available on-premises, only with ASoC.

Micro Focus

Based in the U.K., Micro Focus is a global provider of AST products and services under the well-known Fortify brand. Micro Focus sales have a global reach, with a strong presence in North America, as well as the European and APAC markets. Fortify offers Static Code Analyzer (SAST), WebInspect (DAST and IAST), Software Security Center (its console) and Application Defender (monitoring and RASP). Fortify provides its AST as a product, as well as in the cloud, with Fortify on Demand (FoD). Mobile AST is delivered via FoD. Fortify’s SAST can leverage real-time, in-line vulnerability detection via a spell-checker (called Security Assistant) in the Eclipse and Visual Studio IDE. Security Assistant highlights vulnerable code as the developer programs.During the past year, Fortify has come out with Visual Studio support for Security Assistant, expanded its SCA partnerships to include Black Duck, Sonatype and Synk and made turnaround time improvements to FoD DAST. Micro Focus Fortify’s AST offerings should be considered by enterprises looking for a comprehensive set of AST capabilities, either as a product or service, or both combined, with enterprise-class reporting and integration capabilities.

  • Fortify has one of the most complete SDLC integrations — for example, by providing out-of-box integrations for popular IDEs and CI/continuous delivery (CD) tools.
  • Fortify continues to offer useful features to support DevOps, such as real-time analysis in the Eclipse and Visual Studio IDEs using Security Assistant. On-premises and FoD customers can leverage machine-learning-based Audit Assistant for false positive removal of SAST findings, and the SmartFix feature will suggest optimal fix locations.
  • Fortify has a comprehensive set of enterprise-class capabilities, as well as integration with major SCA vendors. Sonatype assessments are included for all FoD SAST customers at no additional charge.
  • Micro Focus has signaled a commitment to Fortify and has increased investment in research and development for improving and accelerating updates, improving Fortify’s underlying infrastructure, automation and integration capabilities, as well as creating new features. This has partially allayed last year’s post-buyout concern.
  • Feedback from clients with mature and experienced AST programs and users experienced with using and tuning Fortify’s offerings indicates that the on-premises solutions collectively deliver a mature, accurate and capable platform. It can scale to large enterprise needs and address a variety of uses cases.
  • Despite increased investment in Fortify by Micro Focus, Gartner client interactions indicate some concern around the long-term impact the spin/merger will have on the brand’s future.
  • As reported by customers during inquiry, the complexity in tuning the solution to reduce the number of false positives remains a primary driver for buyers with less experience in AST when re-evaluating the SAST tool.
  • Customers report that getting the on-premises solution fully integrated and stable often requires extensive configuration. This can lengthen the learning curve for clients new to AST and may require more dedicated staff to get tools operational and to maintain them.
  • Fortify IAST cannot be operated as a stand-alone product, only as an add-on to Micro Focus’ DAST offering. Support for Node.js is not yet available.


Based in Foster City, California, Qualys is a provider of cloud-based security services, with an emphasis on vulnerability assessment/vulnerability management (VA/VM). It has a strong presence in North America and the APAC region, as well as a presence in the European market. Qualys offers Web Application Scanning (WAS), which is a DAST service that is completely automated and integrates with the other Qualys security services in the Qualys Cloud Platform. Qualys provides WAS at an affordable per-year subscription in different small or midsize business (SMB) and enterprise packages, as well as pay-per-scan licensing.During the past year, Qualys released Version 6 of WAS, which introduced support for testing of Swagger-based REST APIs, added a Jenkins CI plug-in, and made available a Chrome extension to record browser activity for replay in WAS.Qualys is a visible DAST as a cloud service with sizable market share. Organizations looking for a lower-cost, automated DAST service that provides malware scanning or those looking for a DAST capability as an extension to their VA/VM program should consider Qualys.Qualys did not respond to requests for supplemental information, although it did provide final factual review. Therefore, Gartner analysis is based on other credible and accepted public sources.

  • Qualys delivers highly scalable, low-cost, largely automated DAST services that appeal to large enterprises as an extension of VA/VM efforts with thousands of applications, as well as smaller enterprises looking for affordable AST options.
  • Gartner client feedback indicates WAS services are easy to procure, straightforward to deploy, and cost-competitive, particularly for clients that already use the Qualys Cloud Platform in other areas.
  • Qualys provides extensive, third-party WAF integration and one-click virtual patching with the Qualys WAF.
  • Qualys offers WAS as part of the Qualys Cloud Platform, which incorporates several other services relevant to AST clients in a single platform, including malware scanning, container security (launched in September 2018) and WAF.
  • Qualys doesn’t offer IAST, SAST or a dedicated SCA solution, and it has no partnership to offer them. SDLC integration options are limited compared with many other vendors.
  • Gartner clients have frequently commented on the need to update the vendor’s documentation and user interface. Difficulty navigating and understanding the user interface has significantly affected the efficacy of WAS among some clients.
  • Qualys WAS does not provide human augmentation options, beyond the Bugcrowd partnership (a crowdsourced security testing platform vendor).
  • Qualys WAS often lags in advanced DAST functionality; for example, it only recently introduced support for importing Swagger specifications to test REST APIs.


Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Rapid7 is a provider of security, data, analytics software and IT services. In the AST space, Rapid7 provides DAST as a product and a service. Its offering consists of a desktop web app scanner called AppSpider Pro, an on-premises enterprise DAST tool called AppSpider Enterprise and DAST as a service, under the name InsightAppSec. In addition, Rapid7 provides Managed AppSec services, which offer the same DAST service in a completely outsourced fashion and also includes vulnerability validation services.During the past 12 months, Rapid7 introduced the ability to scan using uploaded Swagger and WSDL files, incremental scanning and validation scanning, which allows users to confirm that a vulnerability remediation was effective. Rapid7 also added an InsightAppSec public API to allow use of the tool without passing through the user interface. Also, Rapid7 introduced a system in the InsightAppSec offering that manages, shares and encrypts authentication session recordings. Rapid7 has built a scan activity feed that shows details of scans in progress, completed or failed, also in the InsightAppSec offering. In October 2018, Rapid7 acquired RASP vendor tCell.In addition to a granular and customizable DAST solution, Rapid7 and its Insight cloud includes DAST (InsightAppSec), vulnerability management (InsightVM), security information and event management (InsightDR), security orchestration automation and response (InsightConnect), and log storing and analytics (InsightOps). This can be a good fit for organizations looking for a SecOps enabler.

  • Rapid7 has built a strong reputation for its DAST tool, especially in support of in-depth custom manual assessments.
  • Rapid7’s Universal Translator technology analyzes requests to identify formats, parses them and normalizes that data to a common standard to create similar attacks across tested formats. For formats that cannot be crawled, such as JSON and REST web services, user-recorded traffic is imported to accomplish this. Rapid7’s validation scanning to confirm that a vulnerability remediation was effective is innovative and allows it to speed up the remediation process.
  • Rapid7 has maintained and enhanced its SDLC and enterprise integration capabilities, including its plug-ins with bug-tracking tools, WAF and intrusion prevention system (IPS) products.
  • Rapid7 gets mostly good marks from users for ease of use and reporting.
  • Rapid7 does not provide any AST technology other than DAST. It does not provide SAST (but partners for this), nor does it supply IAST. The vendor’s mobile testing is limited to analyzing the traffic between the mobile app and the back-end services.
  • Rapid7 does not support distributed scanning, nor does it support dynamic protocol fuzzing with its DAST offering.
  • Despite industrywide trends toward increased adoption of services, most Rapid7 clients leverage the on-premises implementation, and Rapid7 struggles to be included on shortlists when services are a primary focus.
  • Rapid7 does not provide a stand-alone SCA solution, nor does it provide one with its AST solution.


Based in Mountain View, California, Synopsys is a global company with offerings in the software and semiconductor areas. Synopsys has been executing a strategy to expand its AST portfolio during the past few years, adding Cigital (App Sec Services), Quotium’s Seeker IAST, Codenomicon (SCA), Protecode (SCA), Coverity (SAST) and Black Duck (SCA). This merger and acquisition (M&A) push has provided it with good coverage of the secure SDLC market, through products and services that it has been attempting to integrate into a complete, seamless offering.During the past 12 months, the vendor has introduced a new platform, Polaris, which is intended to be the central management console for all Synopsys AST products. The SAST solution was the first to be fully integrated into Polaris, and the vendor intends to integrate the rest of the platform throughout 2019. The vendor also introduced a new lightweight IDE plug-in (initially for the IntelliJ IDE with support for Eclipse and Visual Studio IDEs introduced in February 2019), Code Sight, meant to run full SAST analysis by continuously scanning in the background while a developer is coding. Synopsys should be considered by organizations looking for a complete AST offering that want variety in AST technologies, assessment depth, deployment options and licensing.

  • Synopsys Polaris Software Integrity Platform is a new offering that provides tracking of vulnerabilities and metrics across SDLC phases. It interfaces with all Synopsys tools, as well as the build system.
  • Seeker continues to be one of the most broadly adopted IAST solutions, with good SDLC integration. Synopsys has an agent-only IAST for Seeker that does not require an inducer. This supports the passive testing model offered by some IAST competitors.
  • The Code Sight plug-in is a good fit for DevOps shops, because it provides strong integration with IDEs to provide a SAST spell-checker early in the development phase. The Code Sight plug-in leverages the same analysis engine as Coverity.
  • Synopsys offers a comprehensive set of AST offerings suitable for a range of use cases and differentiates by providing a variety of fuzzing capabilities (input fuzzing, protocol, etc.) delivered via Defensics, which is an unusual and often overlooked functionality that can complement AST initiatives.
  • Synopsys is well-positioned in the Internet of Things (IoT) AST space, where it supports a broad range of protocols, such as XMPP, MQTT, CoAP and AMQP (via Defensics).
  • Synopsys Coverity supports fewer languages than major SAST competitors, lacking, for example, Go and Kotlin (although there are plans to add these). Gartner client feedback indicates that the vulnerability clarification and fix recommendation is limited, compared with some of the competitors.
  • Synopsys continues to work on better integration and consolidation to offer a unified platform desired by customers. Although there has been a lot of progress, work remains in this area — for example, adding Seeker and Black Duck to the Polaris Platform.
  • Gartner clients from SMBs have expressed that, despite interest in the vendor’s solutions, the price is often outside their budgets, especially for nascent programs, leading them to seek less-costly alternatives.
  • Synopsys does not offer a DAST on-premises product or an automated DAST offering, only DAST as a managed service. The vendor’s DAST services have not been as competitive or widely adopted as those offered by many of its competitors.


Headquartered in the U.S., Veracode is an AST provider with a strong presence in the North American market, as well as a presence in the European market. The Veracode offering includes a family of products that provide SAST, DAST and SCA services. Veracode also provides mobile AST and a vendor security testing attestation program known as Veracode VAST.During this evaluation, CA Technologies (which had previously acquired Veracode) was acquired by Broadcom, with the deal closing in November 2018. In the same month, it was announced that Veracode would be acquired from Broadcom by private equity firm Thoma Bravo. During the past 12 months, Veracode acquired an SCA company, SourceClear, which it has started to integrate into the Veracode platform. The vendor expanded SAST language coverage, upgraded its DAST engine for increased performance and accuracy, and consolidated previously segmented components into a single DAST offering.Veracode will meet the requirements of organizations looking for a complete portfolio of AST services, with broad language and framework coverage and ease of implementation and use.

  • Gartner clients rate the ease of use of the solution highly, as well as the vendor’s support and willingness to work with customer requirements.
  • The acquisition of SourceClear improves the Veracode SCA offering and underlying vulnerability database. A useful feature highlights which vulnerable functions in identified components are called by the application, allowing teams to focus remediation on the vulnerabilities most likely to pose a real risk to the application.
  • Veracode Greenlight, an IDE plug-in for the Eclipse, IntelliJ and Visual Studio IDEs, provides a lightweight, faster-turnaround SAST that enables developers to test code for security defects, without the usual need to compile the full application. The introduction of an API for Greenlight enables customers to integrate automated scanning into their CI/CD workflows.
  • Veracode’s mobile AST combines SAST, DAST and behavioral testing. Its behavioral testing statically identifies the possible states that the application can find itself in, which helps to identify events that emulation-based behavioral scanning may not.
  • Veracode does not offer AST tools, only AST as a service. However, it provides a virtual scan appliance that can be located on the client’s network to support the discovery and testing of internal applications, with scanning configured and controlled via the cloud service.
  • Veracode does not offer dynamic scanning of APIs, a capability increasingly available from competitors, relying instead on static methods. Veracode currently crawls APIs behind single-page applications with the Advanced Mode feature through Veracode Dynamic Analysis.
  • Although Veracode has made improvements in its turnaround times, some organizations focusing on CI/CD integration express the need for shorter turnaround times for scanning cycles.
  • The vendor has undergone considerable change due to multiple acquisitions in past months, leaving many clients apprehensive about its long-term strategy and ability to support new offerings. Clients have, however, expressed optimism that the latest acquisition by a private equity firm will result in a strengthening of the platform.
  • Veracode previously delivered IAST via a combination of DAST and a runtime protection agent, which has since been discontinued, raising concerns about the vendor’s commitment to new product lines in emerging AST approaches. However, a new IAST solution is currently in incubation and being tested by customers.

WhiteHat Security

Based in the U.S., WhiteHat Security is a global provider of AST as a service. WhiteHat Sentinel provides SAST, SCA and DAST, with specific versions for development, build and operation phases. Sentinel SAST can scan both binaries and source code. WhiteHat Security also provides mobile testing in partnership with NowSecure. The results of all WhiteHat DAST, SCA, mobile AST and SAST scans can be reviewed upon request by an expert in WhiteHat’s Threat Research Center before delivery to the customer. When on-premises scanning is a requirement, WhiteHat Security uses a virtual machine that keeps some of the analysis local and sends limited, nonsensitive data to the SaaS back end.During the past 12 months, WhiteHat Security enhanced its API security testing solution, introduced automated machine-learning-based vulnerability verification, and improved DAST testing of single-page applications. Also, WhiteHat introduced stand-alone SCA and has started to segment its SAST and SCA offerings with varying levels of depth and automation for different phases of the SDLC.WhiteHat Security should be considered for buyers seeking an AST SaaS platform and, especially, DAST services. This is largely handled by an expert, cloud-service-testing provider with a scalable solution.

  • WhiteHat Security has a strong reputation among Gartner clients as a DAST-as-a-service provider.
  • WhiteHat is differentiating as a SaaS offering by segmenting its AST offerings to better-fit DevOps requirements. It offers broader, but faster, automated analysis earlier in the SDLC, with more comprehensive, but slower, AST later in the cycle, with the option for results verification either through the machine learning (ML)-based approach or via manual verification. It has started with SAST and SCA and plans to expand to DAST in 2019. The vendor also provides DAST scanning and manual business logic assessments for APIs.
  • WhiteHat’s customers continue to value the vendor’s strong support services. These include vulnerability verification, manual business logic assessments/penetration testing and its ability to leverage its Threat Research Center engineers to discuss findings and get remediation support.
  • WhiteHat Sentinel Dynamic provides continuous, disruption-free and production-safe DAST of production websites with automatic detection and assessment, and alerts for newly discovered vulnerabilities.
  • WhiteHat SAST remediation capabilities go beyond identifying the optimal point of remediation, to automatically provide custom code patches that can be copied and pasted into the code to fix identified vulnerabilities for a portion of findings for Java and C#.
  • WhiteHat Security struggles to compete for inclusion in shortlists where SAST is the main AST technology being evaluated.
  • WhiteHat’s SAST offering has limited language support, compared with other offerings in the space. Its IDE-based SAST lacks spell-checking functionality.
  • WhiteHat’s premium offerings are fulfilled by its Threat Research Center, which foresees a manual validation of findings as part of the process, increasing accuracy, but also increasing turnaround times. This makes the solution unfit when clients express a need for high automation and low-turnaround times for scanning cycles, though the vendor is improving ML-based automated verification to verify an increasingly larger percentage of findings.
  • WhiteHat Security does not offer DAST and SAST as a tool, only as a cloud service. However, it can provide an on-premises virtual appliance to test locally, as well as a cloud version.
  • WhiteHat Security does not provide IAST in a dedicated fashion or integrated with DAST, even though it does use SAST findings to inform DAST scans for better accuracy.

Vendors Added and Dropped

We review and adjust our inclusion criteria for Magic Quadrants as markets change. As a result of these adjustments, the mix of vendors in any Magic Quadrant may change over time. A vendor’s appearance in a Magic Quadrant one year and not the next does not necessarily indicate that we have changed our opinion of that vendor. It may be a reflection of a change in the market and, therefore, changed evaluation criteria, or of a change of focus by that vendor.


CAST and Acunetix were added.


Positive Technologies, SiteLock and Trustwave were dropped based on our inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria

To qualify for inclusion, vendors need to meet the following criteria as of 1 October 2018:

  • Market Participation: Provide a dedicated AST solution (product, service or both, with SAST, DAST or IAST capabilities).
  • Market Traction: Be among the top global providers for their relevant segments (SAST, DAST and IAST). They must have generated at least $22 million of AST revenue (excluding professional services revenue) during the last four quarters (4Q17 and first three quarters of 2018), with at least:
    • $17 million in North America and/or Europe, the Middle East and Africa
    • 10 AST deals greater than $100,000 in the past 12 months
  • Technical Capabilities Relevant to Gartner Clients: Provide a repeatable, consistent subscription-based engagement model (if the vendor provides AST as a service) using mainly their own testing tools to enable their testing capabilities. Specifically, they must include:
    • An offering primarily focused on security tests to identify software security vulnerabilities, with templates to report against Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) Top Ten
    • An offering that identifies open-source components and known vulnerabilities in those components (i.e., SCA)
    • An offering with the ability to integrate via plug-in, API or command line integration into CI/CD tools (such as Jenkins) and bug-tracking tools (such as Jira)
    • For SAST products and/or services:
      • Support for Java, C#, PHP and JavaScript at a minimum
      • Provide a direct plug-in for Eclipse or Visual Studio IDE at a minimum
    • For DAST products and/or services:
      • Stand-alone AST solution with dedicated web-application-layer dynamic scanning capabilities.
      • Support for web scripting and automation tools such as Selenium
    • For IAST products and/or services:
      • Support for Java and .NET applications
  • Business Capabilities Relevant to Gartner Clients: Have phone, email and/or web customer support. They must offer contract, console/portal, technical documentation and customer support in English (either as the product/service’s default language or as an optional localization).
    • Be determined by Gartner to be significant players in the market because of their market presence or technology innovation

We will not include vendors in this research that:

  • Focus only on mobile platforms or a single platform/language
  • Provide services, but not on a repeatable, predefined subscription basis — for example, providers of custom consulting application testing services, contract pen testing or professional services
  • Provide network vulnerability scanning, but do not offer a stand-alone AST capability, or offer only limited web-application-layer dynamic scanning
  • Offer only protocol testing and fuzzing solutions, debuggers, memory analyzers and/or attack generators
  • Primarily focus on runtime protection
  • Focus on application code quality and integrity-testing solutions or basic security-testing solutions, which have limited AST capabilities

Open-Source Software Considerations

Magic Quadrants are used to evaluate the commercial offering, sales execution, vision, marketing and support of products in the market. This excludes the evaluation of open-source software (OSS) or vendor products that rely heavily on and bundle open-source tools.

Other Players

Several vendors that are not evaluated in this Magic Quadrant are present in the AST space or in markets that overlap with AST. These vendors do not currently meet our inclusion criteria; however, they either provide AST features or address specific AST requirements and use cases. These providers range from consultancies and professional services to related solution categories, including:

  • Software composition analysis
  • Business-critical application security
  • Application security testing and orchestration (ASTO) solutions
  • Application vulnerability correlation
  • Application security requirements and threat management (ASRTM)
  • Crowdsourced security testing platforms (CSSTPs)
  • API-security-focused solutions

Gartner tracks and can discuss in inquiry specific additional AST vendors, including: edgescan, Fasoo, GitLab, GrammaTech, ImmuniWeb, Kiuwan, Netsparker, NSFOCUS, N-Stalker, Onapsis (Virtual Forge), PortSwigger, Positive Technologies, SiteLock, SonarQube, Trustwave and Wallarm, as well as embedded functionality from major public cloud providers. In addition, we track and can discuss vendors in the listed adjacent markets (see “Hype Cycle for Application Security, 2018”).

Evaluation Criteria

Ability to Execute

Product or Service: This refers to core goods and services that compete in and/or serve the defined market. It includes current product and service capabilities, quality, feature sets and skills, among others. This can be offered natively or through OEM agreements/partnerships as defined in the market definition and detailed in the subcriteria.This criterion specifically evaluates current core AST product/service capabilities, quality and accuracy and feature sets. Also, the efficacy and quality of ancillary capabilities and integration into the software development life cycle are valued.Overall Viability: Viability includes an assessment of the organization’s overall financial health as well as the financial and practical success of the business unit. It views the likelihood of the organization to continue to offer and invest in the product as well as the product position in the current portfolio.Specifically, we look at the vendor’s focus on AST, its growth and estimated AST market share, as well as its customer base.Sales Execution/Pricing: This criterion refers tothe organization’s capabilities in all presales activities and the structure that supports them. This includes deal management, pricing and negotiation, presales support and the overall effectiveness of the sales channel.We are specifically looking for capabilities such as how the vendor supports proofs of concept or pricing options for both simple and complex use cases. The evaluation will also include feedback received from clients on experiences with vendor sales support, pricing and negotiations.Market Responsiveness/Record: This is theability of the vendor to respond, change direction, be flexible and achieve competitive success as opportunities develop, competitors act, customer needs evolve, and market dynamics change. This criterion also considers the vendor’s history of responsiveness to changing market demands.We evaluate how the vendor’s broader application security capabilities match with enterprises’ functional requirements, and the vendor’s track record in delivering innovative features when the market demands them. We also account for vendors’ appeal with security technologies complementary to AST.Marketing Execution: This criterion describesthe clarity, quality, creativity and efficacy of programs designed to deliver the organization’s message in order to influence the market, promote the brand, increase awareness of products and establish a positive identification in the minds of customers. This “mind share” can be driven by a combination of publicity, promotional, thought leadership, social media, referrals and sales activities.We evaluate elements such as the vendor’s reputation and credibility among security specialists.Customer Experience: This refers toproducts and services and/or programs that enable customers to achieve anticipated results with the products evaluated. Specifically, this includes quality supplier/buyer interactions, technical support, or account support. This may also include ancillary tools, customer support programs, availability of user groups, service-level agreements, and others.We evaluate elements such as the ease of use of the tool as perceived by end users and customers.

Table 1: Ability to Execute Evaluation Criteria

Enlarge Table

Evaluation CriteriaWeighting
Product or ServiceHigh
Overall ViabilityHigh
Sales Execution/PricingMedium
Market Responsiveness/RecordHigh
Marketing ExecutionHigh
Customer ExperienceHigh
OperationsNot Rated

Source: Gartner (March 2019)

Completeness of Vision

Market Understanding: We weight a vendor’sability to understand customer needs and translate them into products and services. This refers to vendors that show a clear vision of their market — listen, understand customer demands, and can shape or enhance market changes with their added vision.It includes the vendor’s ability to understand buyers’ needs and translate them into effective and usable AST (SAST, DAST and IAST) products and services.In addition to examining a vendor’s key competencies in this market, we assess its awareness of the importance of:

  • Integration with the SDLC (including emerging and more flexible approaches)
  • Assessment of third-party and open-source components
  • Tool’s ease of use and integration with the enterprise infrastructure and processes
  • How this awareness translates into its AST products and services

Marketing Strategy: This refers to aclear, differentiated messaging consistently communicated internally, externalized through social media, advertising, customer programs, and positioning statements.The visibility and credibility of the vendor’s security research labs is also a consideration. We will also consider how well that messaging informs the suitability of the vendor’s solution for evolving client needs.Sales Strategy: This criterion describesa sound strategy for selling that uses the appropriate networks including: direct and indirect sales, marketing, service, and communication. It also include whether the vendor has partners that extend the scope and depth of market reach, expertise, technologies, services and their customer base.Specifically, we look at how a vendor reaches the market with its solution and sells it — for example, leveraging partners and resellers, security reports or web channels.Offering (Product) Strategy: This refers toan approach to product development and delivery that emphasizes market differentiation, functionality, methodology, and features as they map to current and future requirements.Specifically, we are looking at the product and service AST offering, and how its extent and modularity can meet different customer requirements and testing program maturity levels.We evaluate the vendor’s development and delivery of a solution that is differentiated from the competition in a way that uniquely addresses critical customer requirements.We also look at how offerings can integrate relevant non-AST functionality that can enhance the security of applications overall.Innovation: Direct, related, complementary, and synergistic layouts of resources, expertise or capital for investment, consolidation, defensive or pre-emptive purposes are considered.Specifically, we look at how vendors are innovating to support evolving client requirements to support testing for DevOps initiatives as well as API security testing, serverless and microservices architecture. We also evaluate developing methods to make security testing more accurate. We value innovations in IAST, but also in areas such as SCA, RASP and behavioral testing.We also value innovation in DAST to support modern web and infrastructural requirements such as rich internet application (RIA) and cloud platforms.Geographic Strategy: This criterion evaluates the vendor’s strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of geographies outside the “home” or native geography, either directly or through partners, channels and subsidiaries, as appropriate for that geography and market. We evaluate the worldwide availability and support for the offering, including local language support for tools, consoles and customer service.

Table 2: Completeness of Vision Evaluation Criteria

Enlarge Table

Evaluation CriteriaWeighting
Market UnderstandingHigh
Marketing StrategyHigh
Sales StrategyMedium
Offering (Product) StrategyHigh
Business ModelNot Rated
Vertical/Industry StrategyNot Rated
Geographic StrategyMedium

Source: Gartner (March 2019)

Quadrant Descriptions


Leaders in the AST market demonstrate breadth and depth of AST products and services. Leaders typically provide mature, reputable SAST and DAST, and demonstrate vison through development of IAST or other emerging AST techniques in their solutions. Leaders also should provide organizations with AST-as-a-service delivery models for testing, or with a choice of a tool and AST as a service, as well as an enterprise-class reporting framework supporting multiple users, groups and roles, ideally via a single management console. Leaders should be able to support the testing of mobile applications and should exhibit strong execution in the core AST technologies they offer. While they may excel in specific AST categories, Leaders should offer a complete platform with strong market presence, growth and client retention.


Challengers in this Magic Quadrant are vendors that have executed consistently, often with strength in a particular technology (for example, SAST or DAST) or by focusing on a single delivery model (for example, on AST as a service only). In addition, they have demonstrated substantial competitive capabilities against the Leaders in their particular focus area and have demonstrated momentum in their customer base in terms of overall size and growth.


Visionaries in this Magic Quadrant are vendors that are particularly innovative in AST with a strong vision that addresses the evolving needs of the market. It includes vendors that provide innovative capabilities to accommodate DevOps, to integrate in the SDLC, or to identify vulnerabilities with alternative technologies to established SAST and DAST, such as IAST. Visionaries may not execute as consistently as Leaders or Challengers and may not have comprehensive offerings in terms of SAST, DAST and IAST.

Niche Players

Niche Players offer viable, dependable solutions that meet the needs of specific buyers. Niche Players are less likely to appear on shortlists, but fare well when considered for buyers looking for “best of breed” or “best fit” to address a particular business and technical use case that matches the vendor’s focus. Niche Players may address subsets of the overall market, and often can do so more efficiently than the Leaders. Enterprises tend to pick Niche Players when the focus is on a few important functions, or on specific vendor expertise or when they have an established relationship with the vendor. Niche Players typically focus on a specific type of AST technology or delivery model, or a specific geographic region.


The need for application security stems from a desire to reduce the risk of applications deployed to support various business functions. Vendors have sought to meet those needs by offering core AST technologies and additional support offerings. Most solutions in the market provide some form of SCA capability, security training services, program development services, and remediation support in addition to AST tools and services. DevOps, agile, and a general demand for greater automation and speed has led to the emergence of technology categories that support or enhance AST efforts. ASRTM solutions now help partially automate threat modeling and security requirements gathering.Most AST organizations can export results for consumption by AVC solutions meant to correlate and deduplicate findings, while providing a consolidated workflow for AST vulnerability management from multiple sources. These solutions can add immediate value to security defect remediation efforts by centralizing data and providing analysis that allows organizations to remove duplicate findings and analyze the remainder according to their relative risk, which is central to more efficiently directing remediation activities.Remediating those vulnerabilities is still a challenge for many organizations since it remains a manual effort, sapping time and development resources. Gartner has observed the emergence of a few stand-alone solutions promising to ingest SAST findings and automatically output code fixes for some of the identified vulnerabilities. Such solutions are only beginning to appear and typically address a subset of the total findings, but a continued maturation of this space could greatly improve remediation efforts. AST deployment and technology options have multiplied. Vendors have enhanced the accuracy of their solutions and the value of their remediation guidance through machine learning approaches that help clients better focus on the most pertinent issues.More is needed. Organizations are increasing the number, complexity and variety of application types that require testing. They are moving from more traditional monolithic web applications to more modern applications such as those that make heavy use of client-side JavaScript (and invoke many server-side APIs) or ones that utilize microservices architecture. This results in smaller distinct units of functionality and often results in an explosion of web APIs to interact with those microservices. Security testing of APIs is currently a challenge for organizations, which need better capabilities to automatically discover APIs and conduct testing than what current DAST and SAST technologies offer. In many cases, clients rely on manual mechanisms to provide API specifications and inputs for testing to support increasingly automated development efforts. The same is often true for testing applications that make extensive use of code that executes on the client, which can be hard to crawl and gain test coverage of.In general, better accuracy, faster results, easier integrations and enhanced remediation guidance are top of mind for vendors in this market. It has become simpler for end users to find vulnerabilities using AST tools. However, Gartner inquiry feedback still indicates a need to improve remediation guidance, increase testing speed and accuracy, and simplify the operation of AST solutions to support clients adopting, integrating and scaling AST programs.Furthermore, the ability of enterprises to remediate vulnerabilities is challenged when faster and more flexible agile development methodologies and DevOps practices replace legacy approaches. This can lead to large backlogs of unremediated findings that delay releases and makes testing all of an organization’s applications difficult. This often results in applications being rushed into production with known vulnerabilities. In short, it leads to growing security debt for enterprises. AST vendors and those in related markets have focused on developing solutions to address these problems and, in particular, to enable DevSecOps initiatives among clients. These challenges are not solved solely by the right technology; they often require changes in organizational culture, better collaboration and sound practices. Still, incompatible security technologies can impede progress, in which case, development and security teams risk being driven further apart rather than becoming better collaborators. To cope with these challenges, organizations should:

  • Require solutions that expose and integrate automated functionality through plug-ins (including IDE, build, repository, QA and preproduction) into the SDLC. This will enable developers to fix issues earlier in the process, and it will improve coordination between development and security.
  • Favor vendors that specialize in comprehensive testing of APIs, applications deployed in containers, and other aspects of modern development to support those use cases. Clients increasingly are seeking out point solutions with a specific focus on these technologies, particularly with respect to testing their APIs. SCA has been useful in analyzing container images for components with known vulnerabilities.
  • Require solutions that provide SCA, which is a critical or mandatory feature of an overall approach to security testing of applications, because open-source and third-party components are proliferating in applications that enterprises build. Vendors in the industry are introducing their own SCA solutions, as well as partnering with specialized SCA vendors. Gartner clients should pay special attention to those SCA solutions that offer OSS governance capabilities to enable the organization to proactively enforce its policy with respect to OSS when components are being onboarded or pulled in from external repositories and package managers. This should be further augmented with production time SCA, such as that available from container security products to alert to new vulnerabilities as they become known.
  • Favor AST solutions with lower turnaround times or that give you control over how deep a scan goes. There is often a trade-off to be made between speed and depth, so buyers should ensure that any resulting diminishment in the accuracy of results that often accompanies lower turnaround times remains acceptable. Waiting for hours for a scan to complete does not scale where code changes are committed multiple times a day. To address this, AST vendors have adapted existing solutions and introduced new ones. For example, many vendors now have options for “incremental scanning,” where only the portion of new or changed code is scanned. Passive IAST solutions are available that can identify vulnerabilities in applications during QA and functional testing, without requiring dedicated security tests. These solutions are transparent to security specialists and developers and require little to no training. Only a couple of vendors have lightweight SAST in the IDE that provides real-time feedback as a developer codes, much like a spell-checker.
  • Press vendors for specifics on their roadmap with respect to machine learning approaches and how they will be employed to enhance their solutions. Buyers should look past ML hype and marketing to better understand specifics on how the proposed ML implementations will meaningfully improve areas such as enhancing accuracy, automating remediation efforts or achieving better testing coverage. Gartner clients should weigh vendor plans with respect to machine-learning-based improvements, particularly when considering longer-term engagements, and consider the applicability of the proposed approaches. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are overused marketing terms, making it difficult to distinguish between hyperbole and genuine value, and should be evaluated closely (see “Artificial Intelligence and Application Security Vendors: Marketing Hype or Genuine Hope?”). Machine-learning-based approaches to improving the accuracy of AST solutions are already being used to considerable effect to sanitize reports of false positives.

Market Overview

Through 2022, the AST market is projected to have a 10% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). This continues to be a fast-growing segment in the information security space, which itself is expected to grow at a five-year CAGR of 9%. The AST market size is estimated to reach $1.15 billion by the end of 2019.A trend of acquisitions and shake-ups to major players in the AST market continued in 2018, though the development of new solutions to counteract long-standing challenges with AST was somewhat muted. In November of 2018, Broadcom finalized the planned acquisition of CA Technologies, at the same time selling off the Veracode business unit for $950 million to Thoma Bravo.1 The same private equity firm had agreed to acquire Imperva, a leader in the web application firewall market (see “Magic Quadrant for Web Application Firewall”) only a month earlier.2 After entering into an IP partnership with HCL Technologies, IBM announced it would sell its AppScan software to HCL in December of 2018.3 Buyers should enter long-term contracts cautiously, given the volatility exhibited in the market.In addition, the market exhibits signs of increasing consolidation and commoditization, at least with respect to SAST and DAST for traditional web applications. Most major workflows and requirements have been worked out, and fewer development teams today are starting secure SDLC practices from scratch, instead relying on widely practiced architectures that they have solidified over the past few years. In 2018, the number of Gartner end-user client conversations on the fundamentals of secure application development decreased by around 45% from the year prior, marking more standardization around secure SDLC practices.4 The continued maturation of programs has led to some homogenization around core practices and the AST features required to support them. Innovations that seemed novel only a few years prior, such as the use of ML to reduce false positives, are now increasingly must-have features. Gartner believes this will continue for some years, which is good news for customers. As vendor capabilities and the programs they support converge, it becomes easier for clients to get the features they want at competitive prices. However, newer trends in application development such as DevSecOps, containers, serverless and edge computing have not fit well with the traditional toolsets, and Gartner predicts a second wave of innovation to address these challenges. End-user client inquiries around emerging topics such as DevSecOps (34% year over year), container security (55% year over year) and API security (77% year over year) increased.4Vendor portfolios remained largely unchanged in the face of ongoing and anticipated shifts, with few of the new offerings or innovative developments witnessed in years prior and with most innovation coming from smaller vendors. This forces many clients to pursue point solutions to address emerging use cases, such as vulnerability identification in APIs, and other facets of modern application development such as serverless applications. The continued acquisitions, coupled with the stagnation in new development, point to a mature market coalescing around a well-defined use case — the identification of self-inflicted vulnerabilities in custom-code web applications. This likely comes as a disappointment to many AST clients who still struggle to embed AST into their software development life cycle while meeting the challenges of modern development paradigms. Gartner clients expect AST players to advance their offerings to meet these related challenges by, for example, improving their capabilities to analyze APIs and inspect containers. However, this will need to be matched by increasing maturity in organizational application security disciplines and DevOps practices. Many clients have sought out point solutions from innovative startups to address challenges such as those in testing APIs. This is a potential missed opportunity for AST vendors if they fail to capture this use case. Yet there appears to be no shortage of business from existing solutions, and client inquiry indicates that much of the average organization’s web or enterprise IT application portfolio still needs to be tested.SCA solutions have become critical components of application security programs as more of the codebase incorporates open-source components. SCA products analyze application composition to detect components known to have security and/or functionality vulnerabilities or that require proper licensing. It helps ensure that the enterprise software supply chain includes only components that have undergone security testing and, therefore, supports secure application development and assembly. Gartner clients have long sought these capabilities from AST vendors. As such, vendors in this Magic Quadrant deliver SCA through homegrown solutions or partnerships with leading SCA vendors to supply analysis and governance capabilities to their clients.A distinct category exists in application security for solutions that are aimed at supporting security testing and vulnerability assessment for mission-critical, proprietary, commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) applications. Business-critical application security is the set of processes and technologies that focuses on the security, risk and compliance of business-critical applications, most notably ERP; but it can also be extended to human resources and other business-critical applications.CSSTPs represent a significant deviation from traditional application and security penetration testing services, but have the potential to disrupt the traditional model and offer significant but often supplementary benefits. CSSTPs leverage a large pool of crowdsourced security testing practitioners to identify vulnerabilities through penetration testing and other techniques. CSSTPs also offer bug bounty program administration services, which often include options for vetting bounty seekers and payment processing, as well as options for full public or smaller private/invite-only bounty programs. CSSTP services enable organizations to leverage a diverse range of skills that might otherwise be difficult to replicate with traditional consulting services or AST. Thus, CSSTPs can augment an organization’s application security expertise. Gartner has already observed partnerships between AST and CSSTP vendors.Four main market observations are worthy of note:

  • Many clients are seeking “one-stop shop” vendors that offer multiple technologies as part of a unified platform. To support this effort, buyers are prioritizing vendors that provide multiple technologies and deployment options. Many of these vendors have increasingly standardized around previously innovative areas such as “SAST-lite,” and embedded developer training. A best practice in AST is to use multiple technologies at different points in the SDLC. Using multiple vendors often requires learning different systems, as well as using separate dashboards to manage enterprisewide testing and application risk. As an alternative to one-stop shops, Gartner has observed the emergence of ASTO solutions to orchestrate and integrate multiple testing solutions, as well as AVC solutions to consolidate findings and remediation workflows. Increasingly, ASTO and AVC are consolidating into a single market, with considerable overlapping of feature sets between offerings. Some capabilities are strikingly similar to threat and vulnerability management (TVM) solutions, which may inevitably subsume the AVC/ASTO market (see “Seizing Opportunities in Risk-Based Vulnerability Management”).
  • AST solutions have continued to address the needs of agile and DevOps methodologies by focusing on SDLC integration, better automation and faster turnaround. As an example, buyers are seeking accurate and fast SAST, integrated into the developer’s IDE to deploy early in the SDLC. Passive IAST that can fit into QA and functional testing cycles seeks to address the needs of DevOps and promises better accuracy and speed, but Gartner end-user client inquiry around this topic is still relatively low.
  • AST vendors are attempting to address newer and more complex applications. In DAST, that may mean crawling “single-page applications,” or applications requiring complex authentication flows. In SAST, it may mean keeping up with the proliferation of languages, frameworks and libraries. As noted earlier though, new development continues to pose challenges that will require more innovation.
  • Vendors are offering machine-learning-based enhancements to their offerings. They are used to filter out false positives postscan, helping organizations save time filtering through erroneous results. Increasingly, Gartner is seeing them being used to automate testing that previously would have required manual intervention.


Gartner used the following input to develop this Magic Quadrant:

  • Results, observations and selections of AST solutions, as reported via multiple analyst inquiries with Gartner clients
  • A formal survey of AST vendors
  • Formal surveys of end-user references

1“Thoma Bravo to Buy Software Security Firm Veracode for $950 Million.” Reuters.2“Buyout Firm Thoma Bravo Adds Imperva to Cyber Portfolio.” Reuters.3“HCL Technologies to Acquire Select IBM Software Products for $1.8B.” Canada News Wire.4 Conclusions are based on end-user client inquiry data collected for calendar year 2018.

Evaluation Criteria Definitions

Ability to Execute

Product/Service: Core goods and services offered by the vendor for the defined market. This includes current product/service capabilities, quality, feature sets, skills and so on, whether offered natively or through OEM agreements/partnerships as defined in the market definition and detailed in the subcriteria.Overall Viability: Viability includes an assessment of the overall organization’s financial health, the financial and practical success of the business unit, and the likelihood that the individual business unit will continue investing in the product, will continue offering the product and will advance the state of the art within the organization’s portfolio of products.Sales Execution/Pricing: The vendor’s capabilities in all presales activities and the structure that supports them. This includes deal management, pricing and negotiation, presales support, and the overall effectiveness of the sales channel.Market Responsiveness/Record: Ability to respond, change direction, be flexible and achieve competitive success as opportunities develop, competitors act, customer needs evolve and market dynamics change. This criterion also considers the vendor’s history of responsiveness.Marketing Execution: The clarity, quality, creativity and efficacy of programs designed to deliver the organization’s message to influence the market, promote the brand and business, increase awareness of the products, and establish a positive identification with the product/brand and organization in the minds of buyers. This “mind share” can be driven by a combination of publicity, promotional initiatives, thought leadership, word of mouth and sales activities.Customer Experience: Relationships, products and services/programs that enable clients to be successful with the products evaluated. Specifically, this includes the ways customers receive technical support or account support. This can also include ancillary tools, customer support programs (and the quality thereof), availability of user groups, service-level agreements and so on.Operations: The ability of the organization to meet its goals and commitments. Factors include the quality of the organizational structure, including skills, experiences, programs, systems and other vehicles that enable the organization to operate effectively and efficiently on an ongoing basis.

Completeness of Vision

Market Understanding: Ability of the vendor to understand buyers’ wants and needs and to translate those into products and services. Vendors that show the highest degree of vision listen to and understand buyers’ wants and needs, and can shape or enhance those with their added vision.Marketing Strategy: A clear, differentiated set of messages consistently communicated throughout the organization and externalized through the website, advertising, customer programs and positioning statements.Sales Strategy: The strategy for selling products that uses the appropriate network of direct and indirect sales, marketing, service, and communication affiliates that extend the scope and depth of market reach, skills, expertise, technologies, services and the customer base.Offering (Product) Strategy: The vendor’s approach to product development and delivery that emphasizes differentiation, functionality, methodology and feature sets as they map to current and future requirements.Business Model: The soundness and logic of the vendor’s underlying business proposition.Vertical/Industry Strategy: The vendor’s strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of individual market segments, including vertical markets.Innovation: Direct, related, complementary and synergistic layouts of resources, expertise or capital for investment, consolidation, defensive or pre-emptive purposes.Geographic Strategy: The vendor’s strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of geographies outside the “home” or native geography, either directly or through partners, channels and subsidiaries as appropriate for that geography and market.