"The speed of design is definitely saving us time compared to JasperReports." — Arshan Dabirsiaghi, Application Security Engineer
Aspect Security specializes in all aspects of application security, helping a wide range of organizations solve the causes of their application vulnerabilities. This involves producing extensive reports and documents that outline design and implementation review, development training, security code review, penetration testing, and security policy development. Customers range from small e-commerce sites to Fortune 500 corporations and include large financial organizations, system integrators, and e-commerce providers.
Aspect Security supplies each of its customers with a detailed report containing a summary of what the company did and how they did it. But the reporting tool they were using, JasperReports, wasn’t up to the task. Numerous small flaws in the output took a long time to work around, and even when using the JasperReports Eclipse plugin, employees could not properly format the report. “Jasper’s RTF output just didn’t work for us,” said Arshan Dabirsiaghi, Application Security Engineer at Aspect Security. “It generates lots of text boxes instead of a real table. Our reports are complex and have to look professional. We simply couldn’t achieve that with Jasper.”
Aspect Security is a consulting firm focusing exclusively on application security, ensuring that the software that drives business is protected against hackers. Engineers validate an average of 5,000,000 lines of critical code per month and unearth more than 10,000 vulnerabilities every year across a wide range of technologies and architectures.
CEO Jeff Williams had had enough, so he asked Dabirsiaghi to search for a solution. Dabirsiaghi visited the Windward website and downloaded the trial version. Within a few days, Aspect Security decided to switch to Windward for its reporting tool.
Windward’s primary benefit is that it is both quick and simple to design report templates. The layout, font and formatting of the customizable report templates are designed with Microsoft® Word, Excel®, or PowerPoint.
Using Windward allowed Aspect Security to create highly polished reports in relatively little time. Each detailed report, with text and images that describe risk, severity level, and remediation alternatives, includes crucial findings that enable Aspect Security’s customers to make informed security decisions. The previous solution, an Eclipse plug-in called JasperAssistant, required the developers to spend significant time coding by hand and, said Williams, “The complexity started to explode.”
Not so with Windward, because the developers have numerous automated tools at their fingertips.
Aspect Security found that developers using Windward could create a wide variety of reports at a moment’s notice simply by choosing what data to include and when to run the report. The company can schedule reports to run on its own timetables, whether it be hourly, daily, weekly or in another time frame. The report output can be in PDF, Word, HTML, Excel spreadsheet, PowerPoint, and other formats.
And, Dabirsiaghi said, the output is clear and easy to-maintain. With the Jasper engine, developers would have to put in major effort to make even minor updates. With Windward, this isn’t the case; Aspect Security users can easily make changes to the report format.
The company also can modify the generated report or create tailored report formats for individual customers. And the template design tool’s ease-of use complements a powerful reporting engine. Plus, Windward comes with free, detailed documentation and timely customer support. (Windward support averages a 98% monthly satisfaction rating from supported customers.) Because JasperReports offers little documentation, every time Aspect Security developers wanted to understand a confusing error message or use a little-known feature they’d have to perform a Web search, and that was no guarantee of success. But if there’s a question about how a Windward feature works, Aspect Security employees refer to extensive online documentation, including forums and online samples, or contact technical support via phone or email.
Aspect Security has saved significant developer time with Windward. Developers previously took an existing, manually created report and spent several weeks of hard work creating the report using JasperAssistant. With Windward, the entire process took less than a week.
“The development time is where we see a real advantage,” Williams said. “It’s an order of magnitude faster to develop a report with Windward.”
In addition, Dabirsiaghi estimates the use of Windward saves the company nearly 10 employee hours per report.
“The speed of design is definitely saving us time,” said Dabirsiaghi. “Compared to JasperReports, Windward has won the first round."