December 3, 2022


A Code for Advancement

Safe Application Progress Attestation: A(nother) Governing administration Requirement | Fenwick & West LLP

On September 14, 2022, the Business of Administration and Funds (“OMB”) issued a memorandum on Maximizing the Protection of the Application Source Chain through Protected Software Advancement Techniques (“OMB Memo”) to aid assure software package protection. Although the OMB Memo provides course to businesses, any business that makes software package (defined as firmware, working devices, applications and application companies, these types of as cloud-based mostly Computer software as a Services, or items that incorporate software program) and expects to license to governing administration finish users should:

  • Produce the program in accordance with the Nationwide Institute of Criteria and Technological know-how (“NIST”) threat-based safe application development specifications,
  • Provide a self-attestation, and
  • Create, if requested, documentation these kinds of as a computer software invoice of components or participation in a vulnerability disclosure software.

These demands use to agency (and contractor) use of application designed, as very well as the use of current software that is modified by main model modifications, after September 14, 2022.


Previous yr, President Biden essential federal businesses to increase company cybersecurity capabilities and protect the nation’s essential software package supply chain. See Executive Purchase 14028 (“Cyber EO”). The Cyber EO tasked NIST with producing assistance on offer chain protection which NIST completed in February 2022. NIST designed and released the NIST Advice consisting of: (1) the Protected Software program Development Framework (“SSDF”) Model 1.1 detailing protected software program development best methods, and (2) Supply Chain Safety Assistance for federal organizations on how to procure software package, which include open-supply computer software and agency-made application.

Final week’s OMB Memo requires federal companies to comply with the NIST Steerage when using third-occasion “software” on the agency’s info systems or normally affecting the agency’s information and facts.

What Have to Companies Do:

If a business develops and licenses “software” outlined as firmware, operating devices, apps, and software expert services (these kinds of as cloud-primarily based Computer software as a Services) or products and solutions that include program to federal government entities then the company should establish if their application improvement procedure meets the NIST Assistance for safe application improvement.

Supply a Self-Attestation

Immediately after examining the software package improvement procedure versus the NIST Assistance, the business will have to self-attest that it follows all those safe development procedures – this self-attestation is the “conformance statement” less than the NIST Advice. If a organization can’t present the attestation in the government’s requested structure, it can doc how it will mitigate these risks in a Approach of Motion & Milestones (“POA&M”). In lieu of self-attestation, firms could also offer assessments ready by accredited FedRAMP Third Social gathering Assessor Organizations (“3PAO”). Organizations may well demand a formal 3PAO evaluation depending on the criticality of the product or service.

The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council will build a uniform typical attestation type but until eventually the closing rule will come out, any self-attestation must involve:

  • The Application Producer’s name
  • The most inclusive description of the products and solutions the statement consists of (preferably companywide or solution-line statements and all unclassified merchandise).
  • An attestation that the Application Producer follows secure improvement tactics and responsibilities as said in the attestation.

Document your Software Development

The OMB Memo explains that companies may possibly submit to federal organizations artifacts that exhibit conformance to protected software package advancement techniques. Further more, the federal agency may call for a Software Invoice of Resources (“SBOM”) in solicitation necessities, centered on the criticality of the computer software. According to OMB, artifacts other than the SBOM (e.g., from the use of automatic applications and procedures which validate the integrity of the supply code and check for recognized or prospective vulnerabilities) may also be essential. Companies should really be ready to give these documents with solicitation responses and make sure that the profits crew is equipped to respond to thoughts relating to safe computer software progress procedure.

Important Takeaways

Businesses furnishing program or code to the govt should:

  • Anticipate the authorities prerequisite: For the reason that of the cascading impact, businesses need to examine the NIST Steerage now to make certain that it follows the safe software improvement ideas. Start off employing any variations necessary right now.
  • Prepare a draft self-attestation: Although the Much Council finalizes rulemaking, produce a self-attestation with the variety of details that the OMB Memo involves.
  • Pull your Computer software Bill of Components: Mainly because federal contractors, which includes professional-off-the-shelf (“COTS”) corporations, will very likely see these demands designed into solicitations and deal terms, develop your SBOM now so you have it ready to reply to the solicitations.
  • Take into account proactively publishing your self-attestation and SBOM: If doable, identify regardless of whether you can deliver your self-attestation and SBOM securely on your web page. (Even so, DO NOT publicly post your gap assessment, danger mitigation approach, or POA&M.)
  • Appraise how this need intersects much more broadly with other computer software supply chain considerations: Your firm might also have to contend with export controls applicable to your merchandise and technological know-how, the international possession, management or influence (“FOCI”) elements in sustaining a safety clearance or selling to buyers in the defense/intelligence sector, and other federal procurement limits on sourcing software components or permitting its inspection in particular nations such as China or Russia. We can recommend you on how to strategically navigate all of those people components alongside one another and put into practice internal controls that can satisfy all prerequisites at as soon as.