4 Essential Best Practices for Software Supply Chain Security

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The software supply chain encompasses anything needed to develop and deliver a product, such as all the components, images, open source libraries, processes, and tools — so securing the supply chain must become a priority.

Unfortunately, software supply chain attacks are one of the most pervasive threats that organizations face and they increased more than 300% in 2021, according to a study from Argon Security, part of Aqua Security.

A software bill of materials (SBOM) improves the visibility, transparency, security and integrity of proprietary and open source code in software supply chains, according to Gartner. An SBOM generates and verifies information about code provenance and the relationships between components, which helps software engineering teams to detect malicious attacks throughout the software delivery life cycle.

Here are four best practices experts recommend to help ward off software supply chain attacks:

  1. Maintain an inventory of open source components used by your applications with an SBOM. Open source components are very attractive to attackers, who deploy malware directly into open source projects to infiltrate the software supply chain. In fact, one report finds that 75% of all codebases audited were composed of open-source components with known security vulnerabilities. Once they gain access to the network, attackers exploit the vulnerabilities through lateral movement. You can’t protect what you aren’t aware of so IT must use an SBOM to keep a solid record of all open source components – and really all dependencies – used in software development and deployment.
  2. Ensure the SBOM is updated regularly through a Dynamic SBOM so you have a real-time view of your environment. Today’s SBOMs are static, while software is constantly changing. If they cannot be easily updated in real-time, this greatly diminishes their value. A Dynamic SBOM provides visibility into the entire software environment from dev to production and ensures updates occur whenever there is a change in the software.
  3. Patch what matters by understanding which vulnerabilities pose risk, and which do not. To mitigate risks, it is critical to remediate open source vulnerabilities as soon as they are discovered. This requires an understanding of an organization’s attack surface at all times. Typically, this requires extensive research on IT’s part to know which components of the attack surface are vulnerable and exploitable. When critical vulnerabilities are discovered, some need major development work, making it impractical to fix all of them. Vulnerabilities should be prioritized so they can be quickly patched.
  4. Automate remediation of vulnerabilities. Without automation, it is easy to miss risks caused by updates. SBOMs are only truly effective as a security tool if their management is automated. Gartner advises organizations to automate the systematic generation of SBOMs so that SBOMs are updated with every new version of the artifact. There are too many threats and vulnerabilities today’s security and operations teams must deal with, and too little time and resources to address them. The attack surface only continues to grow, and many organizations are faced with an IT talent shortage. As a result, the use of automation for remediating vulnerabilities and deploying patches, has become a necessity.

Rezilion’s Dynamic SBOM Offers Both Visibility and Context for Software Supply Chain Security

With Rezilion’s Dynamic SBOM, customers know their real attack surface as it changes dynamically. The platform seamlessly plugs into all software environments, from development to production, and provides full-stack coverage of third-party and home- grown software across hosts, containers, and application layers.

Unlike static SBOMs, Rezilion’s Dynamic SBOM does more than just uncover what software components are there: It reveals if and where they’re being executed in runtime (if loaded to memory, they are exploitable, if not loaded, they don’t pose a risk), providing organizations with an unparalleled solution to understand where bugs exist — but also whether they could be exploited by attackers.

Rezilion makes it easier for teams to manage and eliminate software vulnerabilities.

  • Inventory all of your software components in real time with a Dynamic Software Bill of Materials (SBOM).
  • Pinpoint specific vulnerabilities and know if they’re exploitable in your environment.
  • Filter out the noise from scan results to focus on what matters, fast.

Get started on a new path to vulnerability management and book a demo to see our Dynamic SBOM in action today.

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