Leveraging the SBOM for Continuous Cybersecurity

What is Software Bill of Materials, how this inventory software works & how SBOM can be used to improve the continuous cybersecurity needs

By Larissa Lopes
Updated on September 17, 2022
Leveraging the SBOM for Continuous Cybersecurity

A breach in your system may cost you over 4 million dollars. You let your guard down, and POW, you get hit by ransomware, some nasty bit of malware, or the ever-dangerous supply-chain attack. Today, the digital ecosystem is incredibly malicious, and actors are just waiting for an opportunity to dig their claws in. Why? Because, for them, it isn’t personal. It’s just business. And with paydays of millions per heist or coup, business is booming. That’s why continuous cybersecurity is essential and why – Given how currently the software creates a chimera of different code sources – SBOM and its benefits need to take seriously.

Let’s talk about SBOMs – Software Bill Of Materials

The software bill of materials – SBOM- is a document containing a list of all the products and components used in a software project. Primarily your codes. Today, commercial software accumulates creations built from spare parts. For example, a kidney created in-house, a brain purchased by top-notch third-party coders, a heart, and two lungs downloaded from a “reputable” open source vendor. Do you know what went into creating your software’s code database? And for that matter, do you even know the version of the code you’re employing now?

The project manager or product owner usually creates SBOMs during the planning phase. The SBOM informs stakeholders about the products and components needed to complete a project. And as the project evolves, so do they until you come out the gate with a new program followed by a carefully collected ingredient list.

Software projects are often complex, involving many different components, so it can be difficult to keep track of what’s required for each stage of development. An SBOM helps manage this complexity by providing stakeholders with an overview of all the different products and components needed to complete a project.

The first mention of an SBOM was in 1970, when IBM adopted it as part of their internal development process for large-scale projects.

What should an SBOM have?

Various organizations have published guidelines on what an SBOM should have. These guidelines are not formal regulatory documents. Instead, they are a set of recommendations for the companies developing SBOMs.

It should include the following:

  • What software is being used
  • What components are necessary for installation
  • How many licenses are needed for installation
  • What version of codes it currently has.

These guidelines are important because they help with planning and deployment. They also help with assessing anything that might affect a decision to deploy.

Why Are SBOMs Important Nowadays?

For multiples reasons:

  • Some governments require them to allow software releases within their borders.
  • They allow companies to keep track of possible vulnerabilities.
  • They allow companies to understand when a component needs an update.
  • And can use them to find a bug and reduce errors.
  • Since so much software now uses open-source coding, the Software Bill of Materials helps companies track the versions of their software components to ensure they have the latest version installed on their computer systems.
  • Compliance requirements.

SBOM And Cybersecurity – FAQ

At its core, a software bill of materials (SBOMs) is a process that ensures that all pieces of software and hardware are accounted for in a system. This is done by identifying all system components and their related software, firmware, and documentation.

Meanwhile, the cybersecurity of a system starts with a software bill of materials. The software bill of materials provides the necessary information on what to protect and how to protect it. It is the first thing a dedicated and professional team of security experts will analyze.

What Is Considered Continuous Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is an ongoing process that never ends. It is a constant battle between hackers and defenders. With the continuous development of technology, hackers are finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities and gain access to data that was once thought to be secure.

SBOM for continuous cybersecurity: Continuous cybersecurity means that security measures are always in place and there are no moments of vulnerability. The idea behind it is that organizations should be constantly vigilant against any potential threats and should address threats as soon as they appear.

Why Leverage SBOM For Continuous Cybersecurity?

A software bill of materials – SBOM – is a list of all the parts and pieces used to create a software product. Engineering teams usually create a BOM, which can use for various purposes. One of these purposes is cybersecurity.

Software SBOMs have become a popular way to track the security vulnerabilities in software and identify the software version used by a particular device or product.

These documents provide the technical details of a product. For example, in cybersecurity, and can use this to identify potential vulnerabilities in software products.

They can also provide an audit trail for cybersecurity professionals and help with compliance issues and requirements.

How To Get Started With An SBOM for Cybersecurity Purposes?

The process starts by identifying the software requirements for the system. This includes both the hardware and software requirements.

The next step is identifying all the software components needed to complete the project. Again, the list should include both commercial and open-source products.

Once this has been done, it is necessary to evaluate each component for compatibility with others on the list and other systems that may need to interact with it in the future.

It is incredibly complex, but in many cases, software and tools can help a company and automate the process.