The technology and the internet are, of course, the blessings which have helped logistics and many other businesses flourish but a coin always has two sides. The latest and greatest advances in technology have created greater efficiency and effectiveness for organisations and their supply chains but this increased organisation level of access and integration organisation environments can present risks and potential new threats to the privacy. This has made the supply chain vendors equally vulnerable to advanced attacks. To tackle these risks, host organisations must adopt new security procedures to save vendors, partners and even customers from the possible risk of cyber attack.
What is supply chain security?
In a nutshell, supply chain security is a program that focuses on the possible risks associated with an organization’s suppliers of goods and services, many of which may have extensive access to resources and assets within the enterprise environment or to an organization’s customer environments, some of which may be sensitive in nature.
Cyber attackers are willing to use any means necessary to gain access to sensitive data, and third-party suppliers and vendors may have fewer security controls in place than host organizations, making them easier targets of an initial attack. Once breached, attackers can leverage these vendors’ access as an ingress point into their ultimate target.
In the past several years, there have been a number of high-profile breaches with supply chain involvement. In late 2013, retailer Target experienced a significant breach involving the theft of roughly 110 million customers’ data and at least 40 million payment cards.
Needless to say that the impact to organizations and consumers, when sensitive data is breached and exposed, is far-reaching. Business may experience financial penalties, legal costs, loss of consumer confidence, drops in stock price and overall hits to their reputation.
How To Improve It ?
Organizations should evaluate their vendor management programs as the first step in addressing supply chain security. Vendor management involves a number of different roles and responsibilities within an organization that must be defined and managed. An effective and secure vendor management program should define a risk-based approach. You must:
Define Important Vendors
Specify Primary Contacts
Establish Guidelines and Controls
Integrate with the Organization’s Practices
What To Do?
As more organizations look to improve their supply chain monitoring and security controls strategy, they quickly realize that supply chain security (much like most security initiatives) is comprised of people, processes and technology adaptations. Organisations may need to make quite a few changes to ensure the security of their supply chain, but the following can begin immediately:
• Define a vendor management policy that includes vendor classifications, vendor
owners within the organization and security controls for each tier of vendor listed.
• Ensure a sound vendor management program is in place within the organization
and that the proper organizational roles have been defined to manage the various aspects of coordinating supply chain contracts, risk assessments and other major tasks involved in a supply chain management program.
• Ensure a list of security questions and risk assessment controls are defined that can be used to properly evaluate supply chain partners.
Himani Pirta is a literature student and freelance content writer based in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. The tools of her art include a camera and an eye for colour in her travels. On her blog, she publishes her thoughts about random and ordinary things.
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