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Trust in the Cloud-Native Era: Leveraging #SBOM for Assured Application Security

Updated: Sep 2, 2023

by: Greg Benjamin and Yobie Benjamin


Cloud-native development has revolutionized the software industry, promising scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. This approach has led to widespread adoption among organizations seeking to stay competitive and agile in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.


One of the key benefits of cloud-native development is its reliance on open source code. #OpenSource code offers numerous advantages, such as faster development cycles, enhanced collaboration, and access to mature codebases. However, alongside these advantages, the growing dependency on open source code introduces security and trust challenges that must be addressed to ensure #ApplicationSecurity.


The Role of #SBOM in Cloud-Native Security


A significant stride in enhancing trust and security in open source code within the cloud-native ecosystem comes in the form of Software Bill of Materials (#SBOM). An SBOM is a comprehensive inventory of all software components used in an application or system, including both proprietary and open source components. By providing a detailed breakdown of the components and their dependencies, an SBOM empowers organizations to gain better visibility into the software supply chain, detect vulnerabilities, and take proactive measures to mitigate potential risks.


Challenges in Trusting #OpenSourceCode


The soaring adoption of open source code in cloud-native development has led to over two-thirds of application code being inherited from open source dependencies. While #OpenSource offers innovation, accelerated development, and cost savings, it also introduces some unique challenges, particularly in the realm of security.


**Security Vulnerabilities:** One of the most infamous examples of open source security vulnerability is the #ApacheStruts framework in 2017. A critical flaw allowed hackers to exploit and breach millions of websites and applications. The lack of continuous monitoring and patch management contributed to this widespread security incident.


**Dependency Risks:** The #Log4j logging library vulnerability in 2019 exposed another critical challenge. This vulnerability allowed unauthorized access to systems and data, impacting numerous organizations that relied on the library without realizing the potential risks associated with it.


**Limited Code Control:** Organizations using open source code often lack direct control over the development and maintenance process. This lack of control was evident in the delayed response to patching the #Heartbleed vulnerability in OpenSSL, which exposed countless systems to potential attacks.


Building Trust with #SBOM


Implementing SBOM as part of the development process can significantly enhance trust and security in open source code. Here are some additional examples that demonstrate how SBOM can be effectively integrated into the cloud-native security strategy:


**Enhanced Visibility:** An organization using SBOM discovered that a widely-used open source library contained a known vulnerability. By replacing the library with an updated version, they proactively mitigated the risk and prevented potential data breaches.


**Continuous Monitoring:** A company employed automated vulnerability scanning through SBOM and received real-time alerts when a critical security flaw was identified in one of their open source components. They promptly patched the vulnerability, safeguarding their application from potential exploits.


**Proactive Risk Mitigation:** A development team leveraged SBOM to prioritize and address high-risk dependencies in their #CloudNative application. By replacing outdated and vulnerable components, they reduced the attack surface and bolstered their application's security.


**Compliance and Governance:** An organization, audited for regulatory compliance, used SBOM to demonstrate their adherence to licensing obligations. The comprehensive view of their software components ensured that they were in compliance with open source licenses, avoiding potential legal issues.





**Collaboration and Accountability:** A #CloudNative development team utilized SBOM to foster collaboration among developers, security experts, and third-party vendors. With shared responsibility and transparent insights into the software supply chain, they worked together to strengthen the security posture of their application.


As organizations continue their cloud-native journey, embracing open source code becomes inevitable. However, ensuring trust and security in the codebase is paramount. By incorporating SBOM into the development process, organizations can bolster their #CloudNativeSecurity strategy significantly.


SBOM empowers developers and security teams with increased visibility, continuous monitoring, and proactive risk mitigation capabilities. With a comprehensive understanding of their software supply chain, organizations can confidently harness the potential of #CloudNative development, reaping the benefits of innovation while safeguarding their applications against ever-evolving security threats. The examples presented illustrate the vital role SBOM plays in mitigating risks and protecting organizations from potential security breaches. By adopting SBOM as a standard practice, organizations can create a more secure #CloudNative environment and build trust in their applications' integrity.


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