Best Practices for Securing the Software Supply Chain

securing software supply chain best practices

There are several best practices for securing the software supply chain. Failing to do so is like leaving open the vault in your home containing your most valuable possessions and sensitive documents.

There are an average of 203 open source dependencies per repository in today’s software supply chains. A staggering 99% of codebases contain open source code and between 85 to 97% of enterprise codebases are generated from open source, according to GitHub.

The software supply chain has grown so large and encompasses everything in the CI/CD pipeline from a product’s development through delivery – from code, repository, binaries, and details on who wrote it, to known vulnerabilities and licensing information. This means that potentially thousands of users have access to a project’s production code.

Steps For Best Practices To Secure Your Organization’s Software Supply Chain 

Securing the software supply chain and protecting it from cyberattacks and other risks requires having processes in place to ensure the integrity of software components, controlling who has access and verifying sources. The process starts with security at the development stage.

If there are vulnerabilities in any of the dependencies used, chances are good your code has vulnerabilities as well. And you may not be aware of a dependency change. This opens your application up to vulnerabilities that can be exploited either within or outside of your codebase, which could make your organization susceptible down the road.

You also want to limit who has access to critical software components by deploying measures like two-factor authentication.

Performing regular software quality assurance tests will help ensure the software does not contain vulnerabilities and meets all requirements. It will also flag any flaws or security issues that could present a risk.

More organizations are starting to use a software bill of materials (SBOM), which lists all the components that make up an application and the relationship between them to monitor and keep up with all the changes in the software pipeline. Even better is using an SBOM that is dynamic and stays current with any changes.

Organizations should also vet their software vendors and having SBOMs is helpful here as well because it can provide visibility into potential vulnerabilities.

Automated software composition analysis (SCA) tools are useful for identifying and providing guidance on remediation for known vulnerabilities in open source code.

Adopting the practice of least privilege access to resources within the supply chain, such as tools and source code repositories, is another good step to take.

What Happens When Supply Chain Security is Ignored?

There can be serious consequences if an unpatched vulnerability goes unheeded or there is an attack on a dependency in your supply chain.

For example, your organization could face compliance violations that may result in fines and/or audits when a supply chain attack occurs. You also increase the risk of cyberattacks and the theft of sensitive data. This can lead to system downtime, a loss of trust from your customers and damage to your reputation.

Unless software development practices are changed, you will continue to have a lack of visibility into dependencies. Modern applications require securing the software supply chain.

Rezilion’s latest whitepaper goes into greater depth on the importance of securing the software supply chain and the steps your organization should be taking.

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