Welcome!

Government Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Dana Gardner, Liz McMillan, Gopala Krishna Behara

Related Topics: FinTech Journal, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo, Government Cloud, @DevOpsSummit

FinTech Journal: Article

Government Asks: What's in Your Software? | @DevOpsSummit #CD #FedRAMP

U.S. Government pays closer attention to software components

Multiple agencies across the U.S. government are paying closer attention to the software they are buying.  More specifically, they want to know what open source and third party components were used to build the software applications.  The report notes:

Similar moves by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Underwriters Laboratories (UL), and the U.S. General Services Administration's (GSA) 18F Group have also been noted over the past year. The common thread among these initiatives is a need for a Software Bill of Materials.

According to wikipedia, a "Software Bill of Materials (software BOM) is a list of components in a piece of software. Software vendors often create products by assembling open source and commercial software components. The software BOM describes the components in a product. It is analogous to a list of ingredients on food packaging."

What's in your software?

Nowadays, that question is not difficult to answer.  Where software applications of the past were coded from scratch -- each one being like a unique snowflake, today's applications are assembled with reusable open source and third party components.  With 80 - 90% of an application now built from open source and third-party components, it is easy for organizations to quickly produce a Software Bill of Materials.

The same rules apply to software

You don't want to purchase spoiled food, buy a car with defective airbags, or have a relative  receive a defective pacemaker.  Modern society would not accept products built this way.  The same rules apply to software.

Recent analysis of 25,000 applications that revealed 6.8% (about 1 in 16) of components used by development teams included a known security defect. The defects are known security vulnerabilities in open source and third party components used to build the applications.  With known defect rates in software manufacturing so high compared to other manufacturing industries, it's no wonder government agencies are paying more attention.

The same guidelines apply outside of the government

Industry organizations like the American Bankers Association (ABA) and the Energy Sector Control Systems Working Group (ESCSWG), along with private sector organizations like Exxon and The Mayo Clinic, are also mandating use of a Software Bill of Materials.  Producing a Software Bill of Materials will soon be a common practice across development organizations, just as it is across other manufacturing industries.

A bill of materials provides a useful ingredient list.  For some organizations, that ingredient list serves to inform businesses and government organizations that they are not buying products with known defective parts.  Other organizations will rely on the bill of materials as a point of record for what parts were used within a released software application -- again, another common practice in manufacturing.

Just yesterday, I received a recall notice from Toyota informing me that my car had a known defective Takata airbag.  Toyota knows exactly what part was used in the car they sold me 10 years ago and tracked me down.  The company informed me that they are working on a remedy to fix or replace that defective part in my car.

Imagine if application developers, using a Software Bill of Materials, could do the same thing as Toyota.  Imagine the next OpenSSL heartbleed-like vulnerability is announced tomorrow.  How many software practices could immediately identify if they used the specific version of that flawed component in their application.  How many of those organizations could track that component down in seconds?  How many of them would offer to remediate that critical defect in a timely manner?

It's not just rules, it's software supply chain optimization

One of my favorite quotes from The Phoenix Project (a must-read novel about DevOps) goes like this "You win when you protect the organization without putting meaningless work into the IT system.  And you win even more when you can take meaningless work out of the system."

An average application includes 106 open source and third party components.  If you select the best components, you can build the best software.  Use known defective components and you are introducing waste, rework, and technical debt into the system -- a.k.a., meaningless work.

Producing a Software Bill of Materials can help organizations quickly identify what parts have been used in an application -- good or bad.  In a recent discussion with VMTurbo's Chief Architect, Sylvia Isler, she shared:

"Zero tolerance for risk is also why some customers require us to provide proof that our applications do not contain hidden security or licensing vulnerabilities.  By partnering with Sonatype, we're able to provide our customers with a detailed Software Bill of Materials validating that VMTurbo applications consist of only the highest quality open source components."

Not only does their zero-tolerance policy improve customer satisfaction, it also helps them by removing meaningless work from their system.  Customers are happy and so are their development teams.

Screen_Shot_2016-07-29_at_4.53.51_PM.png

A free Software Bill of Materials in 15 seconds

If you would like to understand what open source and third party components have been used in your application, Sonatype offers a free service to produce a Software Bill of Materials.  Analyzing a typical application might take 20 seconds.  The service produces a list of all open source components, identifies their name, version, license type, known security vulnerabilities, adoption rates, age, and other attributes.

If governments and customers are paying closer attention to what's in the software they are buying, it might just be time to figure out what's in the software you are building.

More Stories By Derek Weeks

In 2015, Derek Weeks led the largest and most comprehensive analysis of software supply chain practices to date across 160,000 development organizations. He is a huge advocate of applying proven supply chain management principles into DevOps practices to improve efficiencies, reduce costs, and sustain long-lasting competitive advantages.

As a 20+ year veteran of the software industry, he has advised leading businesses on IT performance improvement practices covering continuous delivery, business process management, systems and network operations, service management, capacity planning and storage management. As the VP and DevOps Advocate for Sonatype, he is passionate about changing the way people think about software supply chains and improving public safety through improved software integrity. Follow him here @weekstweets, find me here www.linkedin.com/in/derekeweeks, and read me here http://blog.sonatype.com/author/weeks/.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...