The main point and root of the Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) is to swiftly address the security, license, and operational concerns associated with open-source use. That’s why organizations can better understand the risks posed by software running on their networks by compiling a database of apps and network assets with current SBOMs.
In A Nutshell: The Inspiration Behind SBOM
Originating in manufacturing, where a Bill of Materials (BOM) is an inventory listing all the components of a product, the concept of a Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) is similar. For instance, manufacturers keep a comprehensive Bill of Materials when making cars.
All of the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) products made directly by the manufacturer and aftermarket components or those from third-party suppliers can be found in a bill of materials. The automaker can pinpoint which vehicles are afflicted by a faulty item and issue recall notices to their respective owners.
Meaningful Use of SBOM: How is BOM similar to SBOM?
To guarantee their code is of high quality, compliant, and safe, forward-thinking software development companies keep an accurate, up-to-date SBOM that includes an inventory of third-party and open-source components. This way, tracking the usage of third-party and company-made sources is easy.
Think of SBOM as the counterpart of BOM in the tech industry. Here are more reasons why SBOM can impact businesses.
SBOM As a Compliance with the Law, Depending on Business
There have been several major security breaches in 2021, the most recent being Apache Log4j, tagged as ”most serious” by the CISA Director. In response to these types of supply chain attacks, President Biden issued an executive order (EO) establishing standards for the software security of all federal departments, agencies, and contractors doing business with the government.
One of the suggestions was to mandate SBOMs so that the federal government could have faith in the reliability of the software it relies on.
Small-to-Large Scale Companies can mirror Biden’s Executive Order
While the EO is aimed at businesses doing business with the government, the standards it establishes (including SBOMs) will likely become the norm for all companies to create and maintain their software. This is to mitigate the security risk posed by the vulnerability.
Business Vulnerability Management is Sped Up
Companies can speed up the process of fixing already-deployed equipment. Examples include companies planning months or years out to improve systems with several weak spots due to potential delays in responsible disclosure. NTIA claims that accurate SBOMs can break this chain of delays, allowing all stakeholders to promptly begin risk analysis and track remedy performance across the supply chain.
The Application of Convenience Brought by SBOM
Consider all the computers, phones, tablets, printers, media players, and other gadgets in a single household. Most people don’t consider whether their entire house runs the same operating system, such as Windows, macOS, or Linux.
What would happen if Linux or a crucial part of it got compromised? Can we assume a typical user is aware of this flaw and possesses the knowledge and resources to fix it? Alternatively, if every device in the home had an SBOM, the owner could quickly determine which ones were vulnerable and apply patches or take other measures to address the issue.
A home network could be hacked without an SBOM, allowing a threat actor to remain on the network indefinitely.
Significance of SBOM to Organizational and Business Goals
End users of the software may soon be required by regulations to consider SBOMs for mission-critical applications. Businesses should start getting their stakeholders on board by examining, evaluating, and using SBOMs to construct solid security practices and posture immediately.
How is SBOM Inclined in Business Decision-Making?
SBOMs can help eliminate communication barriers within organizations and give top-level managers a more transparent, more comprehensive view of the products and services present within their networks, including the level of compliance with regulations, the nature of the threat posed by subpar software components, and other relevant data.
The use of SBOMs can also strengthen decisions about which companies to engage with or form partnerships with.
SBOMs Can Improve the Quality of Suppliers
SBOMs provide visibility and access to information that helps businesses avoid using unsupported or low-quality software components. The physical security industry is no exception to the rule that improvements in the methods used to identify and fix vulnerabilities in software would be welcomed by businesses operating in the sector.
As a result, businesses can be pickier about who they work with and what they buy from.
A Safer Future Ahead Because of SBOM
When businesses use SBOMs, they gain a better understanding of their exposure to cyber risk from assaults like these and the vulnerabilities in their networks caused by insecure and out-of-date software components.
Business and technology leaders should use the SBOM framework to develop a robust security posture, better understand their applications and systems, and require software suppliers and partners to provide transparency through SBOMs.