10 ways to secure the IT supply chain

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has streamlined its recommendations for securing the federal IT supply chain, focusing on a set of key elements to help ensure the security and reliability of information and communications systems agencies are acquiring, reports William Jackson in Government Computer News.

"Government increasingly relies on off-the-shelf hardware and software for cost-effective systems, but agencies often lack an understanding of the supply chain and its risks, exposing them to threats such as counterfeit materials, malicious software embedded in products, and other untrustworthy components," Jackson wrote. As an intended antidote, NIST has released draft Interagency Report 7622, “Notional Supply Chain Risk Management for Federal Information Systems,” with 10 practices intended to provide repeatable and commercially reasonable safeguards.

Among the recommended risk management practices:

  • Uniquely identify supply chain elements, processes and actors. Without knowing who and what are in the supply chain, it is impossible to determine what happened, mitigate the incident, and prevent it from happening again.
  • Limit access and exposure within the supply chain. It is critical to limit access to only what is necessary to perform a job and to monitor that access.
  • Create and maintain the provenance of elements, processes, tools and data. Acquirers, integrators, and suppliers should maintain records of the origin of and changes to elements under their control to understand where they have been and who has access to them.

To get the full list of recommendations and read Jackson's article, click here.

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