Cybersecurity Risks in the Supply Chain are Increasing: Are you Ready?
As organizations are becoming increasingly interconnected with their partners and vendors, cybersecurity risks are fast becoming a serious threat. With an estimated 80% of all cyber breaches occurring in the supply chain, businesses need to identify potential risks and the likelihood that they will occur. The global nature of most supply chains today makes them particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks. A strong security process and mitigation strategy is the best way to avoid high-impact risks.
Cyber Risks to the Supply Chain
A supply chain attack occurs when an organization is infiltrated through a third party, such as a provider or barter. Supply chain threats can be in the form of data leaks, customer data thefts, or malware attacks, which all disrupt business. Supply chains tend to involve multiple organizations in multiple locations, which makes for a complex network.
As the use of technology becomes more prevalent along the supply chain, the Internet of Things (IoT), supply chain management through interconnected business software, and 3-D printing make logistics management easier, yet open businesses to additional cyber risks. One weak link can send ripples throughout the supply chain.
And as more and more vendors and partners are allowed access to multiple, global supply chains, it is difficult to assess who should be accountable for a breach. Therefore, it is necessary for each company to assess its practices when it comes to security and continually strives for improvement.
How to Mitigate a Cybersecurity Risk
Decreasing the risk of a cybersecurity breach should be an important goal for all companies.
- – Identify Supply Chain Management. Map the supply chain to find out where there is cybersecurity risk exposure. Understanding exactly who is involved in the supply chain is key to decreasing the chance for cybersecurity risk exposure. Many times, there are parts of the supply chain where parties involved are unknown. Getting that information can help increase security in that portion of the supply chain. In addition, contracts among subcontractors and vendors need to be monitored so security practices are in place throughout the life of that contract.
- – Use Technology. The use of cloud technology, open-source software, virtual servers, and IoT opens the door for more risks throughout the supply chain. Technology can also be used, however, to increase security measures. Two-factor authentications are a way to mitigate risk. Blockchain technology can increase transparency to share information securely. Every personnel-owned device should have a virtual private network (VPN) for entering the system. Cybersecurity protection should not be limited to internal technology setups but rather span the entire supply chain. Processes involving cybersecurity should be set up for each new partner that enters the supply chain.
- – Open Communication with Supply Chain Partners. Communication delays, lack of checks and balances, or hesitation in announcing a security threat often lead to larger-scale security breaches. Open lines of communication and transparent leadership can correct these issues early on before they become bigger problems. The consequences of data being compromised should be evaluated among all levels of the chain.
Understanding the supply chain and preventing compromised information from entering the network will increase reliability.
Cybersecurity Risk Treatment
Risk treatment can come in many forms, but it is important that it involves coordination among key suppliers and partners because often they will also need to take action in order to mitigate risk. One way to treat risk is to provide better specifications to suppliers. Specifications about the security requirements for any product and its manufacturing conditions may be required to eliminate alternatives from the supply chain.
It is also possible to use suppliers that meet risk management criteria. Choosing a smaller pool of suppliers can help lessen the chance for risk as well as make for easier communication and collaboration. Focusing the supplier base by working with trusted suppliers who meet the criteria cuts down on much of the risk that may be involved with unknown or an unlimited number of suppliers. This may mean slightly higher prices, however, sometimes the tradeoff is worth it.
The loss of client and internal data is one of the biggest problems with a cybersecurity breach. Deciding which vendors should have access to your network and laying out security requirements in contracts can help. With new threats and attack technologies being developed all the time, security protocols must be reviewed and updated often. Organizations of all sizes and their suppliers and partners can become victims of a cybersecurity supply chain attack without protection processes in place.
Your Trusted Partner
At Red Arrow Logistics, we provide expertise and white glove customer service with fast-growing, complex, and high-value supply chains. As the next-generation model of logistics companies, we offer tailored transportation and logistics solutions — from single shipments to complex over-dimensional and international orders.
Red Arrow offers the scale and scope of services including air, ocean, and ground transportation to meet the budget and schedule requirements of the largest and smallest companies alike. If we can be of assistance, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 425-747-7914.