Over the last few years, the threat of supply chain security has greatly increased, especially with the wake of Covid19. It has made a substantial risk at management plan, and every day, supply chain attackers are seriously working to put organisations at significant risk. This type of risk can disrupt operations and damage reputations.

Supply chain attackers are increasing every day, and hackers have made companies their target through the supply chain ecosystem, from end-users organisations to software providers and suppliers.

Over the years, the business ecosystem has expanded and has benefited in diverse ways, prompting the organisation to close and collaborate with its suppliers. This has, however, led to increasing cyber threats. When an organisation network is exposed to the supply chain, it brings the business down. This is why the supply chain is seen worldwide as a threat, and urgent attention has been placed to address risk.

For some time now, many organisations have been working hard to improve their cyber defence. However, for the well-defended organisations, their greatest weakness is in their suppliers, who are not as secure as they are but are highly interconnected with them.

The cyber threat landscape is highly intensified, and looking at the past events, we can say that security professionals are not only managing security in a remote working setup but also ensuring that employees have good accessibilities. They are also handling lots of issues from a distance even as they defend a much broader attack. As a result, the point of vulnerability and attractive space for the bad actors has continued to disrupt and extort business.

As long as the supply chain is concerned, it is nearly impossible to manage the risk unless you understand the state of your supplier’s defences and will continue to ensure they are comparable to their own. Every organisation must understand the risk with their relationship and do everything possible to mitigate those risks to the lowest degree.

Tackling supply chain threats can be difficult because sending and receiving information is essential for the supply chain to function. Still, the risk can be identified and managed. All required is for the organisation to overhaul existing risk by monitoring programs, investment technology and cyber security governance.

Why is the supply chain the biggest threat to cyber security?

The evolution of the supply chain network is driven by technology. Almost every industry has moved to digital space, and because of the, most businesses have built security for themselves. Despite the securities they have built, there are several vulnerabilities at touchpoint with manufacturers, global partners, suppliers, and other providers. Threats are lurking around them, waiting to breach security at the first chance.

Though cyber security has matured to a large extent for large businesses, there exists a lack of governance and control over individual departments, many of which are small businesses that are low in cyber security strength. These are the ones hackers take advantage of.

With the advent of disruptive technologies like end-to-end digitisation, robot process automation and driverless vehicles, the cyber security boundaries between organisations are getting blurrier. It might interest you to know that about 80% of reported breaches occur in the supply chain network, so anywhere your organisation appears in the supply chain, you are at risk as long as you are connected. Examples of supply chain threats include:

  • customer data thief,
  • data leak,
  • Disruption of business,
  • Denial of service and
  • Other malware attacks like ransomware.

How to avoid Supply chain threats

1, Ensure the basics are in place.

Every organisation must ensure that they and their suppliers have basic control in places like NIST, Cyber essential, and ISO 27001, together with good data management control. They should continue to monitor supply chain partners. Every organisation need to understand what their partners need, why they need it and the level of risk it poses. They should also understand the control their suppliers have put in place to ensure safety and protection against incoming and out-coming cyber threats. All of these need to be monitored and regularly reviewed. There should be a baseline of activities between organisations and their suppliers.

2, information between suppliers should be secured

How will an organisation transfer information securely between suppliers? What’s the assurance that only authorised persons get the information? This is a challenging question with the supply chain network. Data classification tools are needed to ensure that sensitive information is appropriately treated, stored and disposed of as it is important to the organisation.

With appropriate classification using visual labelling and metadata applications to send emails and documents, the organisation is protected from the risk of sensitive data being exposed to the unauthorised organisation through the supply chain.

Also, using a secure and compliant mechanism within the supply chain will reduce the risk of compromising data not being properly encrypted in transit.

3, Layering security defence

Organisations must ensure they lay security defence in other to neutralise any threat coming from a supplier. Email sending and receiving is a particularly vulnerable channel by cybercriminals to pose a threat. Therefore, it is essential for an organisation to adequately protect itself from incoming malware or any other threat that could risk its business.

They should also ensure that documents uploaded and downloaded from the internet are thoroughly analysed, even when it is from a trusted source.

Businesses must do everything within their power to deal with the threat of the supply chain; else, they fall the threat. Supply chain security is required to deal with the threat. Supply chain security requires a team effort that starts with you and extends to the entire network partners. By checking every process, touchpoint and party involved, you are guaranteed supply chain security.

Ensure you focus on an inclusive and engaging approach to nurture the culture of cyber awareness in your employees. By this, you can build a foundation that will keep your supply chain safe.

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