The evolution of supply-chain networks over the years has largely been driven by technology. Organizations of all sizes are moving to the digital space, some compelled by the disruptions in the last year. While businesses build cybersecurity fortresses for themselves, there are several vulnerabilities at touchpoints with manufacturers, suppliers, global partners and other service providers to consider. Threats are lurking around such parties, waiting to breach security at the first chance.
Cybersecurity has matured to a certain extent for larger enterprises, although focused within the perimeter of the organization. There exists a lack of governance and control over individual departments dealing with other entities in the ecosystem, many of which are smaller businesses that are low on their cybersecurity strength. These are favorable entry points for hackers.
With the advent of disruptive technologies such as driverless vehicles, robotic process automation, and end-to-end digitization, the cybersecurity boundaries between organizations are getting blurrier. About 80% of reported breaches occur in supply-chain networks. Wherever your organization appears in the supply chain, if you’re connected, you’re at risk.
Supply-chain threats include denial of service, data leaks, customer data thefts, disruption of business, and other malware attacks such as ransomware. As it goes, the supply chain is as strong as its weakest link.
Approaching cybersecurity in the supply-chain network should be seen through three lenses: technology, people and process.
The entire supply chain needs to be included in cybersecurity protection, mitigation, and response plans. Response and recovery should not be limited to internal technology setups.
The adoption of cloud technology, internet of things (IoT) devices and virtual servers opens up new vistas for breaches. Ensure proper cybersecurity procedures such as two-factor authentications and biometric access control across all internal as well as third-party systems. Risk mitigation and recovery plans must be documented as a standard process.
Using open-source software could be a source of threats, and adequate monitoring must be planned for these setups.
Blockchain technology is an emerging trend which has the potential to enhance transparency and efficiency, along with a high level of data-security across multiple trading partners. It can enable better visibility of product, data and financial flows throughout the supply chain. It is largely adopted by businesses with complex operations and its real impact is yet to be seen. Experts believe that organizations at the very least should evaluate the viability and potential benefits of blockchain.
All employees and trading partners should be included in the security framework. Clear roles and responsibilities for all personnel and third-party entities in protection, detection, and response and recovery measures are essential.
Bring-your-own device (BYOD) policies are a major source of malware and phishing in the supply chain, and need to be a key focus. No personnel-owned device should be allowed to connect to the corporate infrastructure without channeling them through a virtual private network (VPN).