Data breaches are a growing concern as they continue to increase year over year. And no industry is safe, as hackers increasingly target systems with lack of instrumentation and monitoring — that is, poor cybersecurity protections.
With diverse targets ranging from state, local, and federal governmental agencies to pharmaceutical companies and more — hackers are taking full advantages of lapses in security and recent supply chain disruptions to facilitate attacks.
For distributors, the chances of a cyberattack are increased due to the wide exposure created by a complex network of partners, vendors, suppliers, and customers.
Key Cybersecurity Risks for Distributors
Distributors must view the entire supply chain when determining cybersecurity risks, as every element — from sourcing and vendor management to transportation security and supply chain quality — can offer inroads to hackers if not properly protected.
In general, distributors must identify and focus on areas of exposure, including partners at all levels of the supply and distribution network. Then, implement data storage practices that are industry-specific to ensure both compliance and security.
Finally, ensure business continuity through the maintenance of multiple data back-ups and a strong disaster recovery plan.
Other key risks for distributors include:
- Physical or virtual access to information systems by third party service providers — from janitors to software engineers
- Weak IT security practices by lower-tier partners and suppliers
- Compromised or counterfeit soft- or hardware purchased from suppliers
- Supplier systems or supply chain management systems with software security vulnerabilities
- Weaknesses in third party data storage or data aggregators
While cybersecurity is a primary operational requirement for distributors, keep in mind that physical and cybersecurity must go together to avoid hackers exploiting a weakness in one to exploit the other.
Cybersecurity Best Practices for Distributors
Distributors have significant hurdles to overcome when designing a strong cybersecurity program, since they have multiple areas of exposure. Robust standards and a customized design can help distributors stay safer, despite growing security risks.
To keep data safe and business continuity on target, distributors should consider the following best practices:
- Include security requirements in every contract and Request for Proposal (RFP)
- Create a dedicated security team to address vulnerabilities and gaps with supply chain operatives
- If vendor products are counterfeit or don’t match specifications, the vendor must be eliminated
- Maintain tight control over component purchases from approved vendors, including inspection upon receipt
- Obtain source code for all purchased software
- Provide secure booting processes for soft- and hardware to ensure software will not boot without authorized codes
- Automate as much as possible to reduce the possibility of human error or intervention
- Consider cybersecurity insurance that has specific provisions for funds transfer and cyber-extortion
- Consider partnering with a third-party cybersecurity or Managed IT partner to help locate and remove vulnerabilities
Designing a strong cybersecurity program can help your operation by providing tools and resources that will prevent attacks from happening in the first place, providing a stable, more compliant operating environment.
If Cybersecurity is an Operational Requirement for Your Distribution Operation, Blue Technologies Can Assist
At Blue Technologies, we understand the mounting challenges faced by our clients in the manufacturing and distribution industries. That is why we have built a team of IT experts that can design and implement a custom-tailored cybersecurity program that focuses on the challenges to your specific business.
We even have experts on board to help you set up an infrastructure that complies with the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) for those contractors and subcontractors that supply products to the federal government.
Our staff is knowledgeable regarding the evolving threat landscape and the new products and technologies designed to thwart hackers and keep your data — and your business — as safe as possible.
Get the advantage of a partner that understands that security is Job One. Contact a Blue Technologies consultant today and let our team of cybersecurity experts assess your environment and create a bespoke cybersecurity solution that covers all the bases.