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HCLSoftware: Fueling the Digital+ Economy

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In our contemporary interconnected landscape, where technology permeates nearly every facet of our existence, grasping the intricacies of digital infrastructure stands as an essential priority.

Two terms that often come up in discussions surrounding technology and product development are: Pipeline Bill of Materials (PBOM) and Software Bill of Materials (SBOM). While they may sound similar, they serve distinct purposes and cater to different aspects of product development and management.

Let's delve into the nuances of PBOM and SBOM to gain a clearer understanding of their differences and their respective roles in the tech ecosystem.

Pipeline Bill of Materials (PBOM)

PBOM is a comprehensive, real-time list of a software’s lineage from the first line of code all the way to release. It tracks everything a piece of software has gone through during the entire software development life cycle. PBOM ensures the integrity of every build, verifies that all applications in production are secure, and minimizes the attack surface.

Key features include:

  • Complete pipeline visibility: PBOM automatically tracks all pipeline branches, builds, pull requests, tickets, known issues, and vulnerability management. This allows development teams to drill down into the entire build flow, including repository, CI/CD, artifacts, and cloud deployment.
  • Software integrity: PBOM ensures that software is built from the correct sources and dependencies and hasn’t been modified during the build process. It provides scans for commit anomalies, commits without reviews, and commits from committers who aren’t part of a given project.
  • Full traceability: PBOM continuously monitors every pipeline change – from proper documentation of changes to tracing each version release. This ensures the safety of the software supply chain without slowing down development.

Software Bill of Materials (SBOM)

SBOM, on the other hand, is a detailed inventory of the software components used in a particular product or application. It provides transparency into the software supply chain, identifying open-source libraries, third-party dependencies, and their associated vulnerabilities.

Key features include:

  • Component Identification: SBOM identifies all software components used in a product, including libraries, frameworks, and modules. This visibility is crucial for understanding the composition of software and its potential security implications.
  • Vulnerability Management: SBOM helps organizations assess and manage software vulnerabilities by providing insight into the dependencies and versions used. This enables proactive security measures such as patch management and vulnerability remediation.
  • Compliance Assurance: SBOM facilitates compliance with licensing requirements and regulations by documenting the usage of third-party components. This helps organizations avoid legal issues related to intellectual property and licensing violations.
  • Risk Mitigation: By identifying dependencies and their associated risks, SBOM enables organizations to assess the potential impact of security vulnerabilities or software defects. This allows for informed risk mitigation strategies and prioritization of resources.

Key Differences Between PBOM and SBOM

While both PBOM and SBOM serve as inventories, they differ in scope and focus:

Scope: PBOM focuses on documenting in real time everything ever done to a given piece of software, whereas SBOM focuses on identifying all software components and dependencies.

  • Purpose: PBOM provides effective application security risk and posture management, while SBOM enhances software transparency, security, and compliance.
  • Audience: PBOM and SBOM are primarily used by Chief Information Security Officers (CISO), security analysts, development team managers, software developers, and IT professionals.
  • Impact: PBOM improves security integrity throughout the software supply chain , while SBOM influences the use of open-source components in development, and deployment.

While Pipeline Bill of Materials (PBOM) and Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) may share a common terminology, they cater to distinct aspects of software development and management. Understanding their differences is crucial for organizations seeking to optimize their development processes and enhance the security and integrity of their software products.

By leveraging PBOM and SBOM effectively, organizations can streamline production workflows, mitigate risks, and ensure compliance with industry standards and regulations. For example, a solution such as HCL AppScan Supply Chain Security can help organizations benefit from Active Application Security Posture Management (Active ASPM) — a pioneering approach empowering organizations to maintain a proactive security posture across their entire software landscape.

Active ASPM integrates best-in-class application security testing with robust posture management and software supply chain security. This complete package provides organizations with full visibility of all risk factors and in-depth assessment tools that triage and remediate vulnerabilities in record time.

Visit HCL AppScan for more information on software supply chain security and other innovative solutions for safe software development.

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