How ISVs Can Comply with SBOM Recommendations

While SBOMs provide many positives, the implementation process comes with a unique set of challenges.

SBOM-software-bill-of-materials

The Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) is a comprehensive inventory of all the components used to develop an application. It lists the details and the relationships among the components, including open-source and third-party elements, which provides a clear ingredient list for your software and the components’ origins and dependencies, enabling proactive risk assessment and vulnerability management and simplifying regulatory compliance.

Over the past few years, SBOMs have gained recognition from governments worldwide as an effective response to the escalating reliance on software in critical systems and the corresponding surge in security incidents involving software. For instance, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) have either explicitly mandated or recommended the adoption of SBOMs. Additionally, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) guides utilizing SBOMs alongside vulnerability disclosures to enhance software security, underscoring its widespread acceptance and efficacy. In addition to regulations, SBOMs have many benefits.

      • Helping vendors develop trust with their customers: SBOMs help them build trust by providing transparency into the software’s components used in their products. When customers have access to detailed information about the software’s components, they can have confidence in its security and reliability.
      • Financial savings from preemptive threat mitigation: SBOMs enable organizations to identify and mitigate security vulnerabilities before they are exploited, leading to potential cost savings for avoiding security breaches and related damages. By proactively addressing vulnerabilities, organizations can reduce the financial impact of security incidents.
      • The ability to differentiate from the competition: Organizations implementing SBOMs demonstrate a commitment to transparency, security, and compliance and serve as a competitive differentiator, particularly in industries where cybersecurity and regulatory compliance are critical. By showcasing their adherence to best practices in software supply chain security, organizations can distinguish themselves from competitors and attract customers who prioritize security and reliability. 

Factors to Consider for a Successful SBOM Implementation

Due to the benefits provided and regulations, more organizations are integrating SBOMs as part of their workflows. When planning on introducing SBOMs to a business, you should consider:

      • Tool Selection: Carefully select SBOM generation and management tools that seamlessly integrate into existing development and security environments while supporting industry standards. For example, Microsoft’s approach of automating SBOM generation at build time demonstrates effective tool selection, ensuring integration across various engineering systems.
      • Automation and Integration: Recognize the importance of automation in generating and maintaining SBOMs, especially given the dynamic nature of software dependencies. Incorporate SBOM generation into your CI/CD pipelines to guarantee up-to-date SBOMs for every software build.
      • Manual Reviews for Accuracy: Supplement automated tools with manual reviews to increase the accuracy of SBOMs, particularly in capturing implicit dependencies, which may involve incorporating human-readable information overlays to document usage assumptions comprehensively.
      • Making SBOMs Actionable and Accessible: Focus on making SBOM information easily actionable and accessible by integrating it with existing systems and processes, such as inventory systems and asset tracking, to efficiently identify and mitigate vulnerabilities.
      • Policies and Processes: Develop clear guidelines and processes governing SBOM generation, maintenance, and utilization throughout the software development lifecycle to ensure consistency and effectiveness.
      • Education: Invest in training and awareness programs to equip development and security teams with the knowledge and skills to implement SBOMs effectively. Emphasize understanding SBOMs’ role in enhancing organizational security.
      • Monitoring and Reporting: Establish structures for continuously monitoring and assessing SBOM data relevance and integrity, ensuring timely responses to new vulnerabilities and compliance with regulatory requirements.

By addressing these critical aspects, successful companies leverage SBOMs to enhance their security posture and streamline their software development processes.

Challenges Associated with Implementing SBOMs

While SBOMs provide many positives, the implementation process comes with a unique set of challenges. It’s important to consider the following:

      • Precision of SBOM data: Continuous, near real-time updates reflecting evolving software components are essential for SBOM to deliver value.
      • Scalability: Leaders of SBOM initiatives must ensure adaptability and expansiveness to keep pace with the evolving complexity and scope of their software portfolios.
      • Integration with existing systems: Seamless integration of SBOM generation and management tools with companies’ existing systems ensures uninterrupted operation of daily processes and external system functionalities.
      • Confidentiality and integrity of SBOM data: Robust security measures are necessary to protect this sensitive information.

Meeting these challenges demands a structured, full-spectrum approach to SBOM implementation. Scaling sufficiently while ensuring the reliability of the data and Integration with existing systems and tooling—all while safeguarding its confidentiality and integrity—will require a striking, delicate balance.

The Future

Ultimately, SBOMs represent a tool and a strategic imperative for modern software development. As new software supply chain security concerns, such as AI and API security, become more pervasive, SBOM tools will evolve accordingly to fulfill their promise of ensuring visibility and transparency across the software supply chain.

Boaz Barzel

With over 15 years of experience in cybersecurity, Boaz Batman Barzel is a firm believer in the significance of guidance, training, and execution for success. Currently serving as the Director of Technical Enablement at OX Security and having made significant contributions at Check Point and Cato, he is dedicated to empowering technical teams and aiding individuals in achieving their goals. Boaz’s diverse background in sociology, anthropology, and East Asian studies enriches his approach to his work, while his passion for Japanese culture underscores his broader interests beyond cybersecurity.


With over 15 years of experience in cybersecurity, Boaz Batman Barzel is a firm believer in the significance of guidance, training, and execution for success. Currently serving as the Director of Technical Enablement at OX Security and having made significant contributions at Check Point and Cato, he is dedicated to empowering technical teams and aiding individuals in achieving their goals. Boaz’s diverse background in sociology, anthropology, and East Asian studies enriches his approach to his work, while his passion for Japanese culture underscores his broader interests beyond cybersecurity.