When you bake cookies, you need to know the ingredients required and the precise quantity of each item. Similarly, a software development process requires an inventory or list of ingredients, known as a software bill of materials.
A software bill of materials is a comprehensive list of all the components used in creating an application. In other words, a software bill of materials includes all the items that are pieced together to make a final product. It gives an idea of the software’s composition, its dependencies, and its provenance.
A software bill of materials is essential as it helps app developers and software engineers employ a centralised list of components, which the development team can use as a reference point. This reference point contains valid and approved components, reducing the risk of vulnerabilities.
Having a software bill of materials provides an accurate record of how the software came to be. It can be used to verify the origin, provide traceability, and check if any component in the application is outdated.
In a world where attacks on software systems and applications are on the rise, developers have to ensure the components used to build the application are secure. The best way to mitigate these risks is to have a comprehensive software bill of materials that ensures quality components are used.
A software bill of materials is the recipe for the software creation process. It offers a clear path for tracing the application components’ origins, enabling companies to know precisely what is in their application. It is critical that a software bill of materials is treated with the same importance as any other inventory or list.