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The SBOM Of SBOMS: Why You Need An SBOM Inventory Tool

Posted by Neil Sheppard on June 29, 2023

The SBOM Of SBOMS library Why You Need An SBOM Inventory Tool

SBOMs are becoming essential for software supply chain security (SSCS) and open-source software vulnerability remediation. To fully leverage them, however, you need an 'SBOM for your SBOMS', an inventory tool to collate your SBOM documentation, and we can help.

Software bills of materials (SBOMs) are set to be the software supply chain security (SSCS) talking point of the next few years. Even the White House is insisting upon their use by all its vendors as part of license compliance.

Yet, having an SBOM isn't enough. To take advantage of these information repositories, you need to collate and catalog them so they can be easily accessed and searched.

Otherwise, let's look more closely at what SBOMs are, why they're important, and how you can leverage them properly.

What Is An SBOM?

Software bills of materials (SBOMs) can be thought of as recipes for all the software your organization has created. They list all the 'ingredients' used to put them together.

An SBOM is a document that logs all of the code used in an item of software and whether it was written by your team, or which code library it was imported from. This gives complete oversight of the development process and also gives you a quick reference to find instances of open-source software risk.

Just as a recipe for a cake will tell you whether there's anything you're allergic to in it, an SBOM will tell you whether it contains known software supply chain security (SSCS) vulnerabilities. Once a vulnerability has been discovered in an open-source code library, an SBOM can show you quickly where this open-source software risk is in your software and how to go about software vulnerability remediation.

You can see how SBOMs are incredibly useful, but they're quickly going far beyond a 'nice to have'. Soon they will become essential.

Why SBOMs Matter

Software bills of materials (SBOMs) are now a requirement for all software vendors to the US government. Executive Order 14028: Improving The Nation's Cybersecurity was issued in May 2021 and laid down the timeline for this change.

The executive order called for all vendors of critical software to the US government to publish software supply chain security (SSCS) documentation, including SBOMs, to a public website by June 11, 2023, with non-critical software submissions required by September 14. With this move, the Biden administration aims to make software 'secure by design'.

With open-source software risk and other cyber crime set to cost the market USD 10.5 trillion by 2025, it's no wonder both the EU and UK have issued similar cyber security acts, and this will likely become an expectation for the consumer market soon. It's crucial for software vendors to ready SBOMs, but to make full use of them, you need a way to manage your SBOM library.

Empowering Your SBOMs To Work For You

Software bills of materials (SBOMs) are incredibly useful for discovering open-source software risk in individual items of software. However, just as it's difficult to find a single piece of information in a library without an index, having an SBOM is just a step towards accelerating software vulnerability remediation.

To leverage SBOMs to improve your cyber security and win the trust of your customers, you need to be able to find information within them. To do that, you need an SBOM library to collate and store all your SBOMs and the ability to search it for the code you're looking for.

Essentially, you need an SBOM for your SBOMs: a way to document and navigate the collection of SBOMs you're going to accumulate over time. Not to mention, you will need to begin tracking version history as things change.

When a software vulnerability is detected, this will allow both you and your customers to search your software to confirm software vulnerability remediation throughout your IT landscape. Having an indexed SBOM library will soon become essential for software vendors to remain competitive.

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