Tidelift Secures Open Source Software Supply Chains

Content By Devops .com

Tidelift today announced the general availability of a platform dubbed Tidelift catalogs, through which enterprise IT organizations can more effectively manage their open source supply chains.

Donald Fischer, Tidelift’s CEO, says the Tidelift catalogs platform enables IT teams to curate, track and manage open source components that have been vetted and adhere to compliance requirements by Tidelift. The company is working directly with the maintainers of those open source projects to compensate them for making that additional effort, said Fischer.

Developers can reliably pull components spanning common language frameworks like JavaScript, Python, Java, Ruby, PHP, .NET and Rust, with more programming environments to follow, added Fischer. Those components are made available via a Tidelift Subscription service.

Fischer said Tidelift is going beyond merely scanning open source components for vulnerabilities. The company is ensuring that when developers access versions of open source components, those versions comply with specific sets of policies, said Fischer. As a part of that subscription service, Tidelift monitors components for vulnerabilities as they are discovered, and works with maintainers to implement updates as needed.

While many organizations are starting to employ DevSecOps best processes, Fischer said the discovery of an issue involving open source components often comes far too late in the process. The Tidelift catalog approach ensures there are no last-minute surprise that are only discovered just before an application is about to be deployed in a production environment.

Securing software supply chains has become a higher priority since it was revealed that cybercriminals successfully inserted malware into an application update made to network monitoring software provided by SolarWinds. That malware subsequently rippled across IT environments involving multiple corporate entities, as well as several Federal agencies.

Of course, securing a software supply chain doesn’t happen overnight. Most IT organizations don’t have the processes and platforms required to vet open source components and frameworks. Tidelift is betting most of those organizations would prefer to subscribe to a service, rather than set up that infrastructure themselves. However, for organizations that require in-house monitoring of all the elements of their application development platform, Tidelift will make an on-premises edition of its platform available.

As organizations become more dependent on software, the potential impact malware can have on their operations can be extensive. Organizations of all sizes should expect to be fielding inquiries from customers, suppliers and partners concerning the level of rigor being applied to their software development processes. In effect, they are going to demand to know the provenance of the software they are being asked to implicitly trust. In many cases, those inquiries will provide the incentive to accelerate adoption of DevScOps best practices.

The days when organizations blindly used software with little regard to its origins are coming to a close. That doesn’t mean reliance on open source software is necessarily going to decline; however, it does mean application development teams will be held more accountable for the open source components they rely on.

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