The Software Supply Chain Security Tools You Need
Without effective and reliable software, virtually every aspect of an organization’s operations can grind to a halt. And a vulnerability that impacts even one component of a software application can expose many organizations to risk.
Software vulnerabilities are emerging all the time, so one of the biggest challenges in defending against software flaws is the fact that there are so many of them. This is why ensuring a secure software supply chain is so important, and why security executives need to be aware of what they need to do to provide sufficient security.
Government agencies such as the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), National Security Agency (NSA) and Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) are taking steps to enhance the security of the software supply chain, including providing guidance resources that can help enterprises with their own security efforts.
CISOs and other security and technology leaders should take advantage of these resources. They should also consider deploying tools to help them enhance software supply chain security.
One of the most effective of these is a Software Bill Of Materials (SBOM), a formal, machine-readable record that contains the details and supply chain relationships and licenses of the components used to create a software product.
One of the reasons an SBOM can be helpful is that many software providers develop products by assembling open source and commercial software components. An SBOM enumerates these components, potentially reducing the security risk.
SBOMs can be useful for teams that develop software, organizations that purchase the software and those who use the software. For example, they allow developers who depend on open source and third-party components to make sure components are up to date and can respond to new vulnerabilities.
Software buyers can use SBOMs to perform vulnerability analyses, to evaluate the level of risk a product presents.
To be truly effective, SBOMs need to be dynamic so they can be updated whenever changes are made to application components. This includes code updates, vulnerability patches, addition of new features and other modifications. With some SBOMs this is performed manually, and since changes must be tracked in real-time the SBOM needs to be as dynamic as possible.
Organizations should update SBOMs on a regular basis and with each release; make SBOMs more comprehensive by including as much information as possible about different software components; automate SBOMs as part of the development workflow; and extend SBOMs to all software.
Along with SBOMs, organizations can deploy software composition analytics (SCA). These tools identify open source software in a code base, and automate the process of tracking and analyzing open source software components and their dependencies. This gives security teams a way to make sure these are up to date and secure.
SCA is particularly valuable given the increasing use of open source software. Many open source components have known vulnerabilities, and SCA lets organizations gain greater visibility into these components and identify vulnerabilities.
Organizations can also use SCA to ensure license compliance and code quality for their software. This can be a difficult task when performed manually, and SCA automates the process, helping to make open source code is secure.
To learn more about how to enhance software supply chain security, and the technology you should consider for the task, check out our buyers guide for software supply chain security tools.