Cybersecurity has become the responsibility of everyone within an organization. Strong DevSecOps requires more than finding and patching vulnerabilities that open your network to threats. Earning an ISO (International Organization for Standardization) certificate in information security management certainly helps. Unfortunately, knowing how to secure your system doesn’t always mean you can protect yourself from vulnerabilities within the software employees use.
That’s where SBOMs and compliance with other security protocols come into play. SBOM gives you insight into software supply chains so you can avoid problematic software and quickly resolve security problems with compromised apps.
Did you know? Packagecloud is the first package distribution platform designed for SBOM compliance. Experience the benefits of maintaining a hosted code repository and easily pushing updates to all of your machines by starting your free Packagecloud trial.
What is SBOM?
SBOM, pronounced as “S” “Bomb,” stands for Software Bill of Materials. In this case, the bill of materials lists all of the components in a piece of software. Since many software developers use a combination of open-source and proprietary components, the list can help users view the software supply chain and determine whether the software contains any security threats.
You can think of SBOM as a list of ingredients. When you buy packaged food, the ingredients give you basic information about what the product contains. That’s essentially what a software bill of materials does for software. When you shop for groceries, you might read the ingredients to make sure you don’t buy anything you’re allergic to. A components list does the same, but it helps you avoid software that might damage your IT ecosystem.
SBOMs and compliance could help prevent software supply chain attacks
Like SOC2 and other security compliance standards, SBOMs and compliance helps companies and clients from becoming victims of software vulnerabilities. The need for SBOMs became more obvious than ever following the discovery of malicious code in SolarWinds software used by several federal agencies, including the U.S. Treasury Department, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, and Department of Justice.
The supply chain attack likely began sometime in 2019 and infected government agencies in 2020. It also affected several organizations in the private sector, including Malwarebytes, Microsoft, Nvidia, Cisco Systems, and Equifax. Had these organizations had a full list of software components, someone could have pinpointed the malicious code’s source much sooner. In May 2021, President Biden added to the nation’s cybersecurity by requiring all software sold to the federal government to include a software bill of materials.
Storing SBOMs in repositories
As software evolves, developers need to update SBOMs to maintain an accurate list of components. Storing components in centralized repositories makes it easier for developers and users to identify every component in software. Developers and security professionals might approach SBOM repositories in different ways. As a developer, it often makes sense to create a unique repository for each piece of software. That way, you can quickly see the open-source and proprietary components in the application.
Security specialists, however, might want to create repositories that list every component used throughout the IT ecosystem. This makes it relatively simple to search for compromised components. If they find vulnerable code within the SBOM repository, they can identify the location and attempt to solve the problem.
Benefits of SBOMs
SBOMs can play essential roles in cybersecurity. Security isn’t the only reason to keep an updated list of components in your software, though. Other benefits include:
Identifying code shared by multiple applications.
Monitoring components in the software supply chain to find opportunities for improvement.
Complying with open-source software licenses.
Improving risk-based decision-making.
Whether your organization develops its own software or relies on third-party vendors, access to SBOMs can help your teams succeed. Once you start taking advantage of SBOMs, you can avoid software that might open you to attack, add security patches to vulnerable code, and gain more control over your IT ecosystem. Since the U.S. federal government now requires its software to include SBOMs, adopting this security and documentation tool also makes it possible for you to start working with one of the globe’s largest clients.
Start your free trial with Packagecloud to discover how much a hosted repository and easy package distribution can benefit your organization.
How can Packagecloud help?
Packagecloud is a cloud-based service that lets you distribute software packages to all of the machines and environments in your IT ecosystem. Packagecloud takes an agnostic approach that makes it possible to update software regardless of a machine’s operating system or application’s programming language.
Additionally, Packagecloud scans for vulnerabilities, trojan-horse attacks, and supply chain poisonings, which is critical to SBOMs and compliance with other security protocols. When adding packages to your code repository, the platform compares it with known cybersecurity threats. This step helps ensure that none of your packages contain vulnerabilities that could put your organization at risk. Since Packagecloud uses hosted code repositories, you can avoid the potential security issues of relying on public repositories. You get to maintain full control of the environment without paying for expensive infrastructure typically required to host repositories and push updates.
Keep your software supply chain and packages secure by relying on Packagecloud. Sign up for a free trial so you can experience the platform’s straightforward and robust security features.