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What is the MITRE SoT Framework and How Does It Work?

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The Supply Chain Security System of Trust (SoT) Framework is a collaborative, open-source platform that enables the secure and efficient sharing of information among supply chain partners. It was developed through the combined efforts of MITRE and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The goal of the SoT Framework is to improve trust among supply chain partners and enable secure and rapid sharing of data. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at what the SoT Framework is, what the MITRE Corporation is, how the SoT Framework works, why it’s important, and what could help protect the SoT Framework against malicious attackers.

What is the SoT Framework?

The Supply Chain Security System of Trust (SoT) Framework is a supply chain security platform that was developed through the combined efforts of MITRE and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The SoT Framework is “a supply chain security community effort defining, aligning, and addressing the concerns and risks that stand in the way of organizations’ trusting suppliers, supplies, and service offerings.”

The goal of the SoT Framework is to improve trust among supply chain partners and enable secure and rapid sharing of data. The SoT Framework is built on open-source standards and uses a modular approach, which allows supply chain partners to securely share information.

What is the MITRE Corporation?

MITRE is a not-for-profit organization that works in the public interest. They operate federally-funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) and are involved in several fields, including supply chain security, risk management, and cybersecurity.

Among MITRE’s most well-known initiatives or tools are the following:

  • The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) List, catalogs known cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
  • The MITRE ATT&CK framework, helps security professionals assess and defend against cyber threats.
  • The Cyber Kill Chain model is a seven-stage framework that can be used to understand how cyberattacks progress.

How does the SoT Framework work?

SoT offers a framework for focusing attention on those supply-chain-related risks through the following:

  • 3 categories: suppliers, supplies, and services.
  • 12 top-level decisional risk areas: quality, financial stability, regulatory compliance, legal liability, cybersecurity, reputational damage, business continuity/disaster recovery planning and execution, transportation and logistics management, employee training and development, supply-chain mapping and analytics, and insurance coverage.
  • 76 risk sub-areas by addressing over 400 detailed questions, ranging from “What is the supplier’s approach to managing quality?” to “What processes does the supplier have in place to ensure that its products are not counterfeit or adulterated?”
  • Data-driven decisions for a more consistent way of doing assessments of service providers.
  • A culture of organizational risk management including supply chain concerns.

The SoT framework follows this process:

  • Asking the supplier a few scoping questions.
  • Giving the supplier a risk score.
  • Using the supplier’s risk score to evaluate its relative “trustworthiness” for supplying components or services.

The overall process amounts to establishing a “System of Trust, showing key risk areas for suppliers, supplies/components, and services.”

Why is the SoT Framework important?

The SoT Framework is important because it helps supply chain partners improve trust and enable secure and rapid sharing of data. The SoT Framework is built on open-source standards and uses a modular approach, which allows supply chain partners to securely share information. However, the rapid adoption of remote work over the last two years has “amplified supply chain risks and greatly expanded the overall attack surface of many government agencies.”

This new, wider, and more complex network landscape brings a larger variety of digital threats, from theft and hijacking of devices to malware injection and digital infrastructure attacks, against which the supply chain must be protected and made highly secure, with minimal risk of compromission, downtime, and damage.

What could help protect the SoT Framework against malicious attackers?

Many key cybersecurity best practices could help secure the SoT Framework, namely the following:

A comprehensive cybersecurity program

Only a holistic, elaborated, and comprehensive cybersecurity program could help secure the SoT Framework against any type of malicious attack. That program would cover everything from adversary simulations to SOC2 Compliance for data security to the ongoing network security, application security, cloud security, and remote work security penetration testing.

A least-privilege system access approach

To protect the SoT Framework against malicious attackers, supply chain partners and stakeholders should only be given the minimum levels of access or permissions needed to perform their job. This least-privilege approach helps reduce the chances of attackers gaining access to sensitive data or systems through a privilege escalation attack, which allows them to take over any network, application, or mission-critical system.

Securing your supply chain from incidents

The Supply Chain Security System of Trust (SoT) Framework is founded on a great building block: Trust. And everything around it – namely the risk scoring results – basically serves the overall purpose of assessing a supplier’s relative “trustworthiness.” But, at the other end of the spectrum is a critical element that could compromise this framework: Threats. And only an in-depth, well-thought-out, and comprehensive cybersecurity strategy could adequately protect the SoT framework against today’s powerful, automated, and sophisticated cyber threats.

Need help securing your supply chain from disruptive attacks? Contact industry leaders in supply chain security testing.

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