Nothing proved the need for cybersecurity best practices in the supply chain lifecycle more than last year’s coronavirus pandemic. Malicious actors around the globe took advantage of the disruption to launch ever more pervasive attacks at industries across the board. Supply chain attacks, or when hackers put malicious code or components into a trusted product to hijack systems along the distribution chain, are increasingly common.
Just one well-placed piece of hard- or software can compromise suppliers and their customers, causing havoc for hundreds or thousands of individuals or companies. Typical supply chain risks include:
- Third party data storage or aggregators
- Counterfeit hardware or embedded malware
- Compromised software or hardware from suppliers
- Software security weaknesses in supplier systems or supply chain management
- Poor data security practices by lower tier suppliers
- Any service provider or vendor with access to information systems, devices, IP, or software codes
As the threat landscape changes, more risks continue to be uncovered, making cybersecurity a critical practice for the security-conscious company.
Cybersecurity Best Practices for Supply Chain Networks
Supply chain disruptions caused by cyberattacks cost companies $184 million per year on average, with 94% of senior IT officials across the EU and US reporting negative impacts from supply chain breaches. These numbers underscore the need for operational resilience in the supply chain lifecycle, and the need for risk management.
The right way to approach cybersecurity for supply chain participants involves three parts:
- Choose Protective Technology
Every participant in the supply chain from vendors to third-party partners must be involved in cybersecurity protection, defense, and response plans. Proper protocols like biometric access or other access controls, two-factor authentication, and remote monitoring are key strategies to prevent breaches.
In addition, a robust disaster recovery plan and appropriate redundancies for backups and data storage should be implemented in the event a breach does occur.
- Consider the Human Factor
Proper training of staff across all partners in the supply chain is essential for establishing good cyber hygiene practices. Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) usage should be closely monitored, and no personal devices should be able to connect directly to infrastructure without first being routed through a virtual private network (VPN).
Clear responsibilities with regard to prevention, detection, and recovery should be established for all employees, including third-party participants.
- Establish Processes That Work
Processes are key to keeping your supply chain risk at a minimum. Ensure there are standards in place to remove third-party access after the end of contractual obligations. Consider implementing data access and sharing protocols that are corporate-wide and ensure that servers and networks are audited monthly to keep an eye on access.
You can also implement a routine penetration testing schedule to identify vulnerabilities and ensure that you have a staff member whose job it is to monitor your entire chain’s cybersecurity plan to catch any unmanaged areas.
All three of these focus areas should be addressed to provide the most comprehensive cybersecurity protection for your team, your third-party partners, and your customers.
Blue Technologies Has the Cybersecurity Expertise to Keep You Safer
Supply chain breaches are becoming more common, so you must take proper precautions to keep your company — and the people you serve — from becoming another statistic.
At Blue Technologies, we offer a targeted Managed IT program that is tough on cybercrime. Our services not only help companies comply with data privacy and other regulations such as GDPR, ISO 27001, and NIST 800-171, among others, but we take it a step further with cutting-edge tech tools that can prevent and detect breaches.
We also work closely with your team to develop and implement a disaster recovery and backup plan that is targeted to the specific needs and challenges of your business. Using this plan, you can better implement procedures and protocols throughout your chain to keep your data safer and minimize risk.
Don’t leave your supply chain vulnerable. Contact a Blue Technologies consultant and get expert help developing a cybersecurity plan that will protect data, minimize risk, and help preserve business continuity in the event of a breach.