Codenotary Extends Dynamic SBOM Reach to Serverless Computing

Codenotary has extended the reach of its platform for automatically generating software bills of materials (SBOMs) to serverless computing platforms running software constructed using functions.

Codenotary CTO Dennis Zimmer said because serverless apps are dynamically created, it’s not possible to generate SBOMs using traditional approaches. The TrueSBOM platform makes it possible to create an SBOM in real-time by adding one line to the source code of any application. The TrueSBOM for Serverless edition of the platform now extends that capability to the serverless computing frameworks made available in the cloud by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft and Google.

That approach makes the SBOM a part of the application itself rather than a text file that is stored separately, he noted. Each time an application is updated or a scanner discovers a new vulnerability, a new SBOM is automatically generated, added Zimmer.

Awareness of the need for SBOMs has skyrocketed since an executive order issued by the Biden administration made it clear that federal agencies would require them from software providers starting next year. Many enterprise IT organizations are likely to follow suit as part of a larger effort to better secure software supply chains in the wake of a series of high-profile cybersecurity breaches.

Most internal DevOps teams already have a good handle on what software components are used within the applications they deploy. The issue is that the organizations that use that software can’t easily verify what components are being used, noted Zimmer. That’s problematic because an organization may prohibit deployment of a specific software component because of a known vulnerability. TrueSBOM allows organizations that use an application to maintain control over their software environment regardless of what software artifacts are used to build closed or open source components, Zimmer added.

Codenotary Extends Dynamic SBOM Reach to Serverless Computing

It’s unclear how most organizations will operationalize SBOMs now that more of them are being created. Ideally, organizations should be able to approve only software with components that have been verified as secure.

As SBOM mandates become more stringent, the number of application providers that are anxious to comply with rules for securing software supply chains should increase. The issue now is finding a way for both the developer and consumer of that software to streamline a verification process that, in its current form, is too cumbersome to manage effectively. As a result, many organizations are now putting together dedicated teams made up of cybersecurity professionals and software developers to manage SBOM processes, said Zimmer.

Of course, there is a massive amount of code that has already been deployed that today doesn’t show up in an SBOM. While many emerging applications—created using artifacts such as functions and containers—are likely to be increasingly instrumented to dynamically generate an SBOM, the number of legacy applications that might need to be similarly instrumented is several orders of magnitude greater. As a consequence, the amount of effort required to generate SBOMs for every application in use might be greater than teams first anticipated.

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