If you’re not familiar with software development, you might be wondering what is meant by the term ‘bill of materials’ or BOM for short. Just as a bill of materials for a physical product outlines each part necessary for its construction, a software bill of materials details each software component and third-party dependency that goes into building a digital product.
Why is this important? As society becomes more reliant on technology, software vulnerabilities pose significant cybersecurity risks, making software supply chain security essential. By understanding the software components and dependencies within a given application, developers can easily identify and address known vulnerabilities, reduce risk, and ensure their code is secure.
Additionally, a BOM can aid in regulatory compliance efforts, as many software components come with licenses that require adherence to specific terms and conditions. Without a BOM, organizations risk breaching license agreements and opening themselves up to legal and financial consequences.
While the concept of a software bill of materials is not new, it has gained significant attention in recent years. The US National Telecommunications and Information Administration NTIA recently released a report calling for the government to require BOMs for all software sold to the federal government, further highlighting the importance of this practice.
A software bill of materials is a critical component for secure and compliant software development. By identifying every piece of code included in an application, developers can proactively address vulnerabilities and avoid costly legal breaches.