Over the last several years, cybersecurity experts have seen how effectively software supply chain attacks can compromise sensitive data managed by government agencies and international corporations. In response, more clients prefer software options that come with software bill of materials documents (SBOMs). The federal government now requires SBOMs for every piece of software it uses.
SBOMs provide transparency by listing all of the open source and proprietary components in software. It’s a big step toward more robust software security. You can’t reap all of the benefits, however, until you know the best tools for SBOMs. The following list will help you choose which tools you should adopt to make SBOMs easier to create and understand.
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CycloneDX is one of the format standards accepted by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). CycloneDC actually exceeds the NTIA’s minimum requirements for SBOMs. CycloneDX is one of the best tools for SBOMs because it offers features for every level of user. If you just started learning about SBOMs, it will help you create adequate documents. If you’re a cybersecurity expert with years of experience, it will let you present specific information about software.
CycloneDX is also one of the best tools for SBOMs because it uses a high-level object model that lets you add:
Metadata, including information about Suppliers, Authors, Tools, and Manufacturers
Components, including libraries, containers, applications, firmware, and frameworks
Services, such as providers, endpoints, and trust boundaries
Dependencies, such as components and services
Compositions that show the completeness of services, components, and dependencies
Vulnerabilities, including risk ratings, advisories, sources, and exploitations
Extensions, such as properties, formal taxonomy, and more
With this tool, you know that you create an SBOM that provides all of the information users need to choose safe software.
FOSSA is one of the best tools for SBOMs because the company specializes in managing risks from open source software components. It’s a comprehensive, stand-alone product that can generate your SBOM document, import the information into a repository, search for zero-day vulnerabilities, and audit your supply chain for vulnerabilities and licensing risks.
FOSSA lets you distribute your SBOM from a hosted location, giving you more flexibility and control. Perhaps even more importantly, you can export FOSSA SBOM documents in SPDX format to meet the federal government’s requirements.
The Software Package Data Exchange (SPDX)
NTIA also recognizes SPDX as an example format for SBOMs that meet federal requirements. What makes this one of the best tools for SBOMs, though, is that it can identify the licenses of open source components in software.
Many developers like SPDX IDs because they:
Make it easy to add source code licenses
Only use one comment line per file
Are readable by machines and humans
Eliminate errors when parsing license headers
Finally, you might decide that SPDX is one of the best tools for SBOMs because so many open source projects use it. Projects using SPDX include:
The Linux kernel
The U-Boot Open Source Project
If you perked up when you saw that NPM Package Manager uses SPDX, you should start a free trial with Packagecloud. Pairing NPM Package Manager and Packagecloud can make CI/CD more effective, give you support for NPM dist-tags, and help you add packages to NPM and Yarn repositories.
Packagecloud was the first platform in the industry to implement the SBOM framework. Packagecloud stands out as one of the best tools for SBOMs because it automates the auditing process. When you add a package to your repository, Packagecloud scans your code to find known vulnerabilities. That way, you can prevent problematic components from reaching the machines in your IT ecosystem.
Packagecloud adds even more security by giving you a hosted repository for all of your code. You don’t need to rely on public repositories that present security risks. Instead, you maintain a private, centralized repository where you can find and update your products.
How Packagecloud Can Help With the Best Tools for SBOMs
Packagecloud is a cloud-based service that makes it simple and secure for you to distribute software packages throughout your IT ecosystem without investing in expensive infrastructure. The platform takes an agnostic approach to software updates, which means it can work with all of the machines on your network, even when they use different programming languages and operating systems.
Once you experience the benefits of Packagecloud, you will rely on its ability to update machines faster while lowering your expenses. See how the package distribution works for you by signing up for a free trial with Packagecloud.