Software Supply Chain Security Tools: Types, Features & Considerations

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Software supply chain security solutions and tools provide a range of features to identify and mitigate potential risks and vulnerabilities and play a critical role in safeguarding the integrity and security of the software supply chain

By using these tools, organizations can enhance their defense against supply chain attacks and ensure the trustworthiness of their software.

When considering such tools, it's hard to know where to start; companies must consider comprehensive vulnerability scanning, dependency management, secure code analysis, and robust authentication mechanisms. Therefore, organizations must carefully evaluate their specific needs and requirements to select the most suitable software supply chain security tools for their environment and how their security and engineering teams work — it feels overwhelming, but don’t worry; we can help!

Keep reading to discover:

What is software supply chain security?

Software supply chain security refers to the security and integrity of software throughout its development and distribution lifecycle. It involves identifying and mitigating risks associated with third-party dependencies, vulnerabilities, and potential attacks within the supply chain. Check out our whitepaper for a deep dive on software supply chain security.

Three types of software supply chain security tooling

Three types of DevOps solutions help maintain the integrity and security of the software supply chain:

1. SCA: Software composition analysis

With the growing adoption of open source over the past few years, software composition analysis has become vital for application security programs. SCA tools assist in managing open source components by tracking, identifying, and analyzing:

  • dependencies 

  • vulnerabilities 

  • licenses 

  • deprecated dependencies

SCA tools provide a comprehensive view of the software supply chain by generating a software bill of materials (SBOM). An SBOM is a formal record of the components used to develop software and its supply chain relationships. The SBOM has gained popularity lately and was even recently included in a Biden Administration Executive Order, which requires vendors who sell software to the federal government to provide one. 

However, how do you know that you can trust an SBOM? When it comes to software supply chain security, you have to get meta and consider the security of your supply chain. 

Consider this: you receive an SBOM from a vendor that you use for some services, and when you initially scan it, there are no severe vulnerabilities. A week later, a new exploitable, critical vulnerability is discovered that impacts one of the packages in the SBOM. 

The lesson: software supply chain security isn't a one-and-done effort but a continuous, ongoing effort. Software changes daily, as does the list of vulnerabilities that might impact it, so a comprehensive approach is needed to secure the supply chain.

2. SAST: Static application security testing

Static application security testing is a vulnerability scanning technique that focuses on:

  • source code 

  • bytecode 

  • assembly code 

The scanner runs early in the CI pipeline or can even run as an IDE plugin while coding. 

SAST tools monitor code to reduce the risk of security issues like sending data over an unencrypted connection or saving a password in clear text. IDE integrations allow developers to fix issues immediately after they come up, while extra tests in the CI/CD pipelines allow security teams to implement guardrails so issues outside of policy don't end up in the applications.

3. Container security

Container security tools and processes provide robust information security for container-based systems or workloads — including:

  • Container base images

  • Packages added to container images

  • Running containers

And all the steps required to create that image and get it running somewhere. Like open source libraries and packages, container images start from community-built container base images and have similar vulnerabilities. Understanding the source and provenance of your container base images is critical.

Key features to consider when looking for a tool

In exploring options of software supply chain security tools, consider the ease of use, seamless integrations with your existing tech stack, and compatibility with the tools your developers use daily.

These tools must also align with compliance requirements, offer continuous monitoring and remediation capabilities, and keep up with the latest security intelligence updates. 

There are also key features specific to each tool type to consider. 

1. SCA

When evaluating an SCA solution, look for the following features:

  • SBOM generation: Generates a list of tools and dependencies.

  • Dependency management: Tracks and analyzes related components, support libraries, and direct/indirect dependencies.

  • Package security information: Provides security information about packages, including vulnerabilities, exploit potential, and known security issues.

  • Package health information: Helps you select the right package to start with, to avoid dependency confusion or stale libraries.

  • Continuous testing & monitoring: Continuous scanning and monitoring for vulnerabilities and security issues to ensure ongoing security and early detection of potential risks.

  • License checks: Identifies and enforces license compliance within the software supply chain.

  • Proactive notification: Alerts and notifies when new versions of components become available, enabling timely updates and patches.

By considering these key features, organizations can choose an SCA solution that provides comprehensive visibility, proactive security measures, and effective open source security and software supply chain management.


When selecting a SAST solution, it is important to consider compatibility with your preferred IDE, as it can significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the static application security testing process. It is also crucial to consider the following key features:

  • Auto-fix: Some companies (like Snyk) leverage generative AI to provide automatic fix suggestions for identified security issues, streamlining the remediation process. Snyk’s AI also verifies suggestions before presenting them, ensuring their validity. 

  • Language coverage: Supports the programming languages used in your software development projects, allowing for comprehensive code analysis and vulnerability detection

  • Continuous testing & monitoring: Performs ongoing scans and monitoring for potential vulnerabilities and security issues, enabling proactive identification and remediation

  • Git integration: Seamless integration with Git repositories into the software development workflow allows for efficient code scanning and analysis within the version control system

With these features, you can feel confident about your vulnerability scanning efforts.

3. Container security

Container security solutions offer several essential features to consider:

  • Base image detection and recommendations: Provides guidance for selecting secure and trusted base images to build containers upon, ensuring a strong foundation for container security.

  • Auto-fix: Incorporates automatic fix capabilities and leverages AI-driven suggestions to efficiently address identified vulnerabilities and security issues.

  • Continuous testing & monitoring: Enables continuous scanning and monitoring for newly discovered vulnerabilities within container images, allowing for proactive identification and remediation.

  • Proactive notification:  Alerts users when new container versions are available; this ensures that the latest security patches and updates can be applied promptly to maintain a secure container environment.

By considering these key features, organizations can enhance their container security posture and stay current with container version updates.

How Snyk keeps the software supply chain secure

We believe that security should become a habit, not something that gets in the developers' way, and that's why Snyk provides comprehensive software supply chain security with our suite of developer-friendly solutions:

  • Snyk Open Source: Scans and monitors open source components, providing vulnerability detection and remediation guidance.

  • Snyk Container: Secures containerized applications by scanning container images for vulnerabilities.

  • Snyk Code: Analyzes source code for security vulnerabilities and coding best practices.

  • Snyk Advisor: Helps find the best packages for open source projects.

  • Snyk SBOM Checker: Verifies SBOM integrity against Snyk's vulnerability database.

  • Snyk Bomber Integration:  Incorporates vulnerability scanning and analysis into the integrated development environment (IDE), empowering developers to enhance software supply chain security proactively.

With these solutions, Snyk helps organizations proactively address vulnerabilities, secure containers, maintain code quality, and strengthen the overall software supply chain security.

Interested in learning more about our SCA, SAST, and container security features? Book a live demo with a security expert today!

Next in the series

Developer-first supply chain security

Developer-first supply chain security aims to minimize the risk of potential breaches, streamline the development workflow, foster collaboration, and instill a culture of vigilance that resonates across the entire supply chain

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Snyk is a developer security platform. Integrating directly into development tools, workflows, and automation pipelines, Snyk makes it easy for teams to find, prioritize, and fix security vulnerabilities in code, dependencies, containers, and infrastructure as code. Supported by industry-leading application and security intelligence, Snyk puts security expertise in any developer’s toolkit.

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