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Security & Identity

Five steps to help make your software supply chain more secure

December 8, 2022
Phil Venables

VP, TI Security & CISO, Google Cloud

Jacob Crisp

Global Head of Strategic Response, Google Cloud

Today, we published a new Google research report on software supply chain security because we’ve seen a sharp rise in software supply chain attacks across almost every sector —and expect these trends to continue for the foreseeable future. We urge all organizations to act now to improve their software supply chain security.

Among the report’s conclusions, there are two key findings we want to highlight. First, the lessons we’ve learned from various security events call for a more holistic approach to strengthen defenses against software supply chain attacks. Second, we have worked with the security  community to develop and deploy a common Supply-chain Levels for Software Artifacts (SLSA) framework that can mitigate threats across the entire software supply chain ecosystem. These frameworks can help organizations securely build and verify the integrity of software. You can find more information on the report’s conclusions here

We know that modern day software supply chains continue to grow deeper, wider, and more complex. That complexity can make it challenging for customers to even know where to begin analyzing their supply chains for security issues. Our research shows that organizations must deal with these same complex issues regardless of which environments they operate in.

At Google Cloud, we’re deeply committed to working with our customers to help ensure that they have the support they need to evaluate their security posture, resiliency, and hygiene. Below, we suggest five steps to protect software across processes and systems, and tap into relevant Google Cloud products and services. These recommendations can enable customers to benefit from Google’s extensive security experience and reduce their need to develop, maintain, and operate complex processes to secure their open source dependencies.

Implementing best practices with Google Cloud

Customers who are interested in improving their software supply chain security can take immediate steps to implement best practices.  

1. Enhance your existing Google Cloud security features with the Google Cloud security foundation guide. The guide can help you weigh important considerations including organizational structure, authentication and authorization, resource hierarchy, networking, logging, and detective controls. You can further engage Mandiant experts to assess your readiness. 

You can also view centralized information about vulnerabilities and possible risks using Google Cloud services like Security Command Center, and get information about your service usage with Recommender, including recommendations that can help you to reduce risk. For example, you can identify IAM principals with excess permissions or unattended Google Cloud projects. You can also find additional resources from the Google Cybersecurity Action Team (GCAT), our premier security advisory team, here.

2. Explore fast software delivery and reliable and secure software with Google Cloud’s DevOps capabilities. You also should review foundational practices for designing, developing, and testing code that apply to most programming languages. 

We strongly recommend you evaluate how you distribute software and the terms of software licenses in all of your dependencies. For more information on Google’s approach to helping organizations address vulnerabilities in open source software, see Appendix B in the research report

3. Document the policies for your organization and incorporate validation of policies into your development, build, and deployment processes as you implement best practices. For example, your organization’s policies might include criteria for deployment that you implement with Binary Authorization. GCAT has published additional information on security policies and other cloud security transformation tips for CISOs here

You can also explore Minimum Viable Secure Product, a security checklist of controls to establish a baseline security posture for a product. You can use the checklist to establish your minimum security control requirements and to evaluate software by third-party vendors.

Tapping into new Google product and service offerings

At Google Cloud, we continue to focus on delivering new and innovative security capabilities to help customers address the latest security threats. From the attack on SolarWinds to the community response to open source vulnerabilities such as Log4j, we’re seeing a spike in demand from customers on what we can do to help them manage software supply chain risk. We’ve made several recent announcements on that front that can help customers get started with Google Cloud today. 

4. Use Google Cloud’s Software Delivery Shield. It provides a fully managed software supply chain security solution that offers a modular set of capabilities to help equip developers, DevOps, and security teams with the tools they need to build secure cloud applications. Software Delivery Shield spans across a family of Google Cloud services from developer tooling to runtimes including GKE, Cloud Code, Cloud Build, Cloud Deploy, Artifact Registry, and Binary Authorization. To learn more about Software Delivery Shield, check out the solution page, or watch this Google Cloud Next session to get a quick overview of Software Delivery Shield.

5. Enable our Assured Open Source Software (OSS) service, which can help enterprise and public sector open source software users to easily incorporate the same OSS packages that we use at Google into their own developer workflows. Packages curated by the Assured OSS service: 

are regularly scanned, analyzed, and fuzz-tested for vulnerabilities; 

have corresponding enriched metadata incorporating Container/Artifact Analysis data; 

are built with Cloud Build including evidence of verifiable Supply chain Levels for Software Artifacts (SLSA)-compliance;

are verifiably signed by Google; 

and are distributed from an Artifact Registry that is secured and protected by Google. 

If you are interested in learning more about software supply chain security in general, please contact us or reach out to your sales representative to schedule a software supply chain security workshop.

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