Software supply chain security is very important, especially for open-source components; open-source software components often comprise a large percentage of the supply chain. 

Securing the software supply chain ensures that all components, including open source, are protected from security threats. Because of the large number of open sources in a supply chain, a security breach on an open-source component can affect every other element in the supply chain.

Here, you will learn the meaning of supply chains, open source software components, characteristics of open source, and why it is important to secure software supply chains.

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What is a software Supply Chain?

A software supply chain should be familiar to a company or organization that uses software attached to its product or services. A software supply chain can refer to all the components that make up software or are needed, from software production to the distribution of such software.

Very few organizations build software from scratch; organizations often rely on already-built software components to create theirs. So a software supply chain includes all those components that were originally built by an organization and those that were built by others.

Many things make up a software supply chain; dependencies, libraries, software licenses, cloud services, hardware components, etc.

Because of how complex the software supply chain is, it needs to be protected and secured to prevent cybercriminals from accessing the software. When one of the components in the software supply chain is vulnerable, it provides a pathway for the further corruption of other components — It does not matter if the component is open-sourced.

Software service providers such as Scribe Security can help organizations prevent their software components from being corrupted or overrun by cybercriminals.

Open Source Components in the Software Supply Chain

As said above, some software components in the supply chain are open source, while others are closed source.

When a software component is open source, it means that the source code is available to the general public; in other words, it can be accessed by almost everyone.

Unlike closed-source software, open-source software components are free, but the major drawback is its security vulnerabilities. The major reason open-source software components are vulnerable to security threats is the numerous users using the components simultaneously.

It is more user-friendly than closed-source software and allows the public to make source code changes without needing permission.

Properties of Open Source Software Components

Below are some properties that can be used to identify open-source software components.

    Free to Use

The major sign that a software component is an open source is when it is free for the public to use instead of paying a customs fee. Software supply chain service providers such as Scribe Security can easily work on open-source software components without needing to pay to gain access to the source code.

While they might be free, some of them come with work licenses that mandate those using them to accept some terms and conditions before they can use them.

Source codes are the programming instructions needed to keep any software running; for a closed source software, one can't access it, but the public can access this for open-source software components.

    Effective and Efficient

One of the major reasons why many businesses and organizations prefer to use open-source software components is that they are more efficient and effective. They have that continuity feature often found lacking for closed-source software components.

In fact, according to data provided by EMEA, 67% of IT professionals say that open-source software components are more efficient and effective than closed-source.

·        Innovative

Despite their vulnerabilities, open-source software components have brought more innovation than their closed-source counterparts. Open source accessibility allows organizations like Scribe Security to collaborate with others and share information for technical development.

This can't be said about closed-source components whose source code isn't accessible, and things are often made rigid.

Open-source software components allow developers to save time by building on software components developed by others. This not only makes their work fast, but it also allows developers to depend on others to make their work easier.

    Security Vulnerabilities

Despite the good things that can be said about open-source software components, it has their share of security vulnerabilities. Because of the number of people using open-source software, a cybercriminal can easily tamper with the source code, leading to security threats for those building on the software.

This is a major reason why those with an open-source software component in their supply chain should closely monitor it. Supply chain security providers such as Scribe Security can help organizations using open-source software components reduce security threats.

Importance of Software Supply Chain Security For Open Source

Below are the reasons to have in mind why an organization needs to improve and maintain supply chain security for open-source software.

    Preserve Digital Infrastructures

The truth is that the majority of the digital infrastructures in existence are due to open-source software components. Open source is more innovative than proprietary software, which makes big organizations and governments build on it.

If supply chain security is not improved and open-source software gets corrupted, many digital infrastructures can decline. The services of software supply chain companies such as Scribe Security are needed to protect open-source software.

    Continuity of Efficiency and Effectiveness

Open-source software components are more efficient and reliable than closed-source software; protecting the supply chain will ensure this efficiency is continued.

However, not employing the services of software supply chain maintenance providers such as Scribe Security can lead to attacks on open-source software.

    Prevent Security Breach

Open-source software components often comprise a large percentage of the software supply chain; any breach of any open-source elements will massively affect the whole supply chain.

So the software supply chain security needs to be improved constantly to ensure that all the open-source software components are protected from security threats.

Wrapping Up

Open-source software components make up the supply chains, and they must be protected as they make up many components in a supply chain.

There are many reasons the software supply chain security must be improved for open source; to ensure efficiency and effectiveness and preserve a lot of digital infrastructures. Employing the services of supply chain service providers such as Scribe Security can help an organization improve security.

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