SBOM: Understanding the Facts and Dispelling the Myths

Feb 9, 2023 2:56:10 PM
alt= "three engineers working in cyber space, constructing SBOM"
A Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) is an important tool that outlines every element and associated dependency involved in a software application. It's a collection which contains all different parts that come together to create the software. In our increasingly digital world, it's crucial to have a thorough understanding of the software we use daily. There are some myths about SBOMs because of misunderstandings about what they are and how they work. For example, some people believe that SBOMs are only for large enterprises or that they are too expensive and time-consuming to create. However, these misconceptions are far from the truth. SBOMs are beneficial for organizations of all sizes, and there are tools available to automate the creation process. In this blog post, we will explore the myths, benefits and challenges of SBOM.

Busting SBOM Myths:

SBOMs are merely a list of components This is a common misconception. SBOMs encompass much more than just a list of components. They include version numbers, licensing information, security risk assessments, relationships and interactions between software entities and other critical elements that organizations need to assess the security of their software.
SBOMs are only useful for large enterprises While large enterprises can greatly benefit from using SBOMs, any organization that relies on software can use this tool to monitor the security of their software. This is especially crucial for organizations that use open-source components, which are more vulnerable to exploitation by cyber-criminals.
SBOMs are too expensive and time-consuming to create While creating an SBOM may take time, the benefits far outweigh the effort involved. Besides, there are tools available that can automate the process, making it more manageable and cost-effective.
SBOMs are only relevant for legal compliance - An SBOM does not only serve legal compliance, all organizations can benefit from having an SBOM. By having a complete understanding of the components that make up their software, organizations can make informed decisions about the security of their systems and reduce the risk of security breaches.

So what are the facts?

SBOM is the blueprint of software's DNA An SBOM is a collection of all the components, libraries, correlations and dependencies that form the DNA of a software application. Having an SBOM is essential for ensuring software security and helps organizations identify potential security vulnerabilities in their systems.
SBOM is a collaborative effort The creation of an SBOM involves collaboration between developers and security teams. Developers provide information on the components used in the software, while security teams assess the risk of each component and identify any vulnerabilities that need to be addressed. Depending on the organization, SBOMs may also require collaboration with other parties - e.g. a salesperson approaching potential customers - and management, hence SBOMs increase overall knowledge on software topics.
SBOM promotes transparency One of the key benefits of having an SBOM is that it promotes transparency and traceability in the software supply chain. Organizations can track the origin of each component and understand its risk profile, enabling them to make informed decisions about the software they use.
SBOM can be automated - Creating an SBOM can be a time-consuming process, but there are tools available that can automate the process. For example, CI/CD pipeline plugins, open-source tools, and Software Composition Analysis (SCA) tools can be used to scan the code, identify components, and assess the risk of each component. Automation helps to ensure that the SBOM is created quickly and accurately, reducing the risk of human error.
Despite popular misconceptions, SBOMs are an essential asset for any business striving to beef up its software security.
By offering a comprehensive overview of all components and dependencies used in a program, SBOMs help companies detect potential security weaknesses and make educated decisions about the applications they use. Therefore, organizations of every size can reap the rewards of utilizing SBOMs.
SBOMs also play a crucial role in securing the supply chain. By having a comprehensive and detailed collection of all the components and dependencies used in a software application, organizations can identify potential security vulnerabilities and assess risks. This information can then be used to make informed decisions about software updates and maintenance, ensuring the security of the supply chain. Moreover, the creation of an SBOM is a collaborative effort between developers and security teams, providing transparency and traceability in the software supply chain.