Understanding Software Supply Chain and How to Secure It

A software supply chain is anything that goes into or has an influence on your code as it moves through your CI/CD pipeline from development to deployment.

Some organizations and developers use third-party resources rather than writing software from scratch. Engineers may speed up development and save manufacturing costs by adopting pre-built libraries and open source components, allowing them to bring products to market faster.

As a result, businesses need to account for software occurring outside of their walls and networks in their security procedures. So, what are the people, procedures, and technologies that go into the software you deploy?

What is a software Supply Chain?

A software supply chain is anything that goes into or has an influence on your code as it moves through your CI/CD pipeline from development to deployment. It includes everything that goes into your program, such as code, binaries, and other components, as well as where they originate from, such as a repository or a package. 

Who authored it? When was it contributed? How was it vetted for security risks, known vulnerabilities, supported versions, license information? Everything that touches your software at any stage needs to be questioned. 

Your supply chain extends beyond the single program. It includes your build and packaging processes and the software that operates the infrastructure on which your application runs. A software supply chain also contains whatever information you need to know about the program you’re running to assess any risks associated with it.

Understanding Software Supply Chain and How to Secure It
Image source: Robotics & Automation News

Software Supply Chain Management

A ton of lines of code, security-related compliances, multiple teams: we need to have ways of taking care of our organization’s software. Here are a few strategies for doing so.


Companies are now breaking down boundaries and merging workflows across teams and people. DevOps, or the merging of development and operations, means that improved communication between departments has resulted in competitive performance. 

Nevertheless, in this fast-changing climate, it is more critical than ever to prevent data leakage or the loss of sensitive data. Companies must examine and execute robust IAM rules and data governance processes to secure their data. Some businesses have even used DevSecOps to highlight how security is an element of good cooperation.

Software Bill of Materials 

software bill of materials (SBOM) is a layered registry for software, consisting of a list of elements that comprise software components. 

The majority of softwares nowadays includes a complicated variety of third-party software components, both commercial and open source. It’s vital to retain a continuous list of all items and origin locations while working with a sophisticated group of pieces. Or else, identifying the components you’re using will be much more difficult, inevitably resulting in outdated or hazardous code.

An SBOM is a set of information that is special to the software. Component names, licensing details, version numbers, and vendors are all important pieces of information. Providing a formal list of such information reduces the risk for both the manufacturer and the consumer, allowing others to understand what’s in their program and act appropriately.

Understanding Software Supply Chain and How to Secure It

Securing the Software Supply Chain

According to recent stats, hackers are focusing their efforts on open source components to obtain access to supply chains. Avoiding these assaults means avoiding significant financial, operational, and reputational loss, which might have far-reaching consequences for whole sectors.

Finding a weakness is only half the battle though. Developers must update any program that uses the code after learning of a security flaw. This necessitates a high level of visibility throughout the software supply chain.

The importance of communication in averting assaults cannot be overstated. If dangerous components are discovered by developers and community members, they cannot be used in production. Problematic components need to be identified and a system needs to be built to track and prevent them from re-entering the software development lifecycle.

Leaving obsolete and outdated code in place exposes your supply chain to threats. It’s critical to switch to an alternative or remove features once you know software or project is closing down.


Effective software is continually evolving and adapting to changing client expectations. Being a member of this sector entails always pushing the limits of speed and accuracy. Even though Agile development has been here for the last 20 years, the ideas of continuous software testing and performance monitoring are as relevant and necessary as ever. 

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