How to Manage Your Vendors’ SBOMs with MergeBase

How to Manage Your Vendor SBOM with MergeBase

As governments institute software supply chain security laws, more vendors selling software in critical industries will be required to provide buyers with a software bill of materials (SBOM). This vital document lists all of the resources the software was built on, so it’s easy to identify code that has been compromised.

For you, this is a good thing—you’ll have better visibility into what kind of vulnerabilities you might be exposed to by using the software you buy. However, this will introduce a new problem to your own cybersecurity operations: how do you manage an ever-growing, ever-changing library of vendor SBOMs?

Keeping your vendor SBOMs up to date manually is both time-consuming and risky. Fortunately, MergeBase gives you the ability to continuously (and automatically) monitor and manage all your vendors’ SBOMs in a single, simple solution.

In this article:
1. Benefits of managing your SBOM with MergeBase
2. How to manage your SBOM with MergeBase

Benefits of managing your SBOM with MergeBase

Several SBOM management tools are available on the market—but MergeBase gives you comprehensive SBOM management within your SCA solution, which provides a host of advantages. With MergeBase, you can:

Continuously analyze your vendor SBOMs.

You have many vendors, and they all conduct risk assessments on their own internal schedules. This could be continuous (especially if they use a tool like MergeBase, too) or periodic, which means there’s little to no consistency in how the basket of vendor SBOMs you’re working with will be updated. Keeping your vendor SBOMs up to date manually can be a grueling process.

However, MergeBase automatically checks your vendors’ offerings to provide current SBOMs in real time. There’s no need to correspond with vendors to see if their products have been affected by a known vulnerability, and no need to see if they’ve taken steps to patch it. Instead, MergeBase shows you exactly where the known vulnerabilities are in your vendors’ software—and how big of a threat each individual vulnerability is.

This is a win for your cybersecurity and your peace of mind. MergeBase monitors your vendors’ SBOMs continuously in the background, so the moment you hear about a known vulnerability (say, the next Log4j), you can check all your vendors’ current SBOMs in MergeBase, and reach out to any vendor who hasn’t patched said vulnerability yet. You can even integrate MergeBase with your current systems and automate alerts to notify you every time a known vulnerability emerges in the software you use.

View augmented data and technical debt

When MergeBase analyzes an SBOM, we add information in the comment field telling you which licenses are included in a given component, whether or not they fit your compliance policies, and whether or not a given third-party library uses obsolete code.

Once again, this is good for both software security and peace of mind. You can see exactly what vulnerabilities you’re exposed to and how old your vendor’s libraries are.

Validate a vendor’s SBOM format and content

Every vendor’s SBOM should be validated. However, the standards for what is considered “valid” in the SBOM world leave something to be desired. Currently, an SBOM is considered valid if it is machine-readable; that is, the SBOM document is correctly constructed within the appropriate format.

But that’s a bit like saying an essay is “valid” because it’s written in proper MLA formatting. Sure, the formatting’s right—but what about the content?

That’s why we take things a step further in MergeBase. When you analyze a vendor’s SBOM, you get a comprehensive idea of the actual components of the software you’re examining. While it’s unlikely that a vendor would intentionally give you a fraudulent SBOM (we hope), this is a good way of knowing for sure that the SBOM you’ve been given actually maps to the software you’re checking.

Stay ahead of the SBOM curve

Software supply chain security management is still an emerging discipline. By handling your SBOM management within an SCA solution, you can keep in step with SBOM norms without needing to learn an entirely new set of tools.

How to manage your SBOM with MergeBase

Below is a series of walkthroughs of the MergeBase product showing how easy it is to manage your SBOMs with MergeBase.

How to view and analyze a vendor’s SBOM with MergeBase

How to compare vendor SBOMs with MergeBase

How to validate a vendor’s SBOM with MergeBase

Manage your SBOMs and third-party vulnerabilities in one place with MergeBase

Managing your vendor SBOMs doesn’t have to be a hassle. MergeBase makes SBOM management simple, quick, and intuitive. (And on top of that, it’s a full-featured software composition analysis solution!)

If you want a thorough understanding of how you can improve your software supply chain security with MergeBase, feel free to book a demo with us. We’d love to learn more about you and your vendors—and show you how we can help keep you compliant and secure.

Oscar van der Meer

About the Author

Oscar van der Meer

Inspiring leadership and innovative technology expertise in Digital, Payments, Finance and Artificial Intelligence.