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September 11, 2023
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Managing the Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) Lifecycle: Adhering to Modern Standards and Regulations

Updated

Introduction

In a software-centric world, the Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) has become more than just a best practice—it's a necessity. With the rising prominence of open-source software and increasing threats from software supply chain attacks, an SBOM provides a critical layer of transparency and security. The significance of SBOMs has been further underlined by Executive Order 14028, pushing it to the forefront of cybersecurity discussions. In this blog post, we'll delve into the concept of an SBOM, its various formats, the implications of Executive Order 14028, and how the Software Supply Chain Assurance (SSCA) module can help manage the SBOM lifecycle.

What is an SBOM?

An SBOM is a detailed, machine-readable inventory of all libraries, modules, and dependencies involved in building a software product. It records essential information such as component names, component versions, supplier, and licenses for every component used in the software. An SBOM offers valuable transparency into the software's anatomy, ensuring both traceability and security.

Importance of SBOMs

  1. Transparency: Provides full visibility into the components in use and their metadata.
  2. Compliance: Ensures adherence to Executing Order 14028 and to licensing requirements
  3. Security: Enables swift response to new vulnerabilities by precisely identifying impacted components.

SBOM Formats: CycloneDX and SPDX

Different industry standards have emerged for creating SBOMs, with CycloneDX and Software Package Data Exchange (SPDX) being the most prominent.

  • CycloneDX is a lightweight software bill of materials (SBOM) standard designed by OWASP for use in application security contexts and supply chain component analysis.
  • Software Package Data Exchange (SPDX)  is an open standard by The Linux Foundation for communicating software bill of materials information, including provenance, license, security, and other related information.

Executive Order 14028

Issued by President Biden in May 2021, Executive Order 14028 aims to bolster the nation's cybersecurity infrastructure. A key focus of this order is enhancing software supply chain security, and SBOMs have been highlighted as a critical tool in this context. The order has accelerated the adoption and standardization of SBOMs, pushing organizations to implement robust SBOM management practices.

How SSCA Can Help

SBOM Orchestration and Management

The Software Supply Chain Assurance (SSCA) module offers customers the flexibility to use their preferred tools for generating Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) in both CycloneDX and SPDX formats with every build. Moreover, it empowers users to sign and attest SBOMs using their private keys, ensuring secure storage and sharing with software consumers.

Comprehensive Visibility

The SSCA module offers deep visibility into the usage of every open-source component across all artifacts and their deployments.

Policy Enforcement

SSCA provides advanced policy management capabilities based on attributes like Component name and version, Supplier, License, and PURL:

  • Allow Lists: Allow components based on a pre-approved criteria to reduce risk and exposure
  • Deny List: Block components that pose any security or legal risk

CI/CD Integration

SSCA seamlessly fits into existing CI/CD pipelines, offering a flexible and integrated approach to SBOM management.

Conclusion

The strategic importance of managing the SBOM lifecycle cannot be overstated, especially in light of heightened cybersecurity threats and new regulations like Executive Order 14028. With its rich feature set, SSCA serves as a comprehensive solution for managing SBOMs in both CycloneDX and SPDX formats. From policy enforcement to lifecycle management and tracking, SSCA has got you covered. Take control of your software supply chain today with SSCA!

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Software Supply Chain Assurance