Cybersecurity and Supply Chain Risks

As supply chains get increasingly digitized, the risks of supply chains being undermined by cyber attacks also increases, making cybersecurity vital to supply chain health.

Digital transformation is something that is crucial for supply chains going forward. If they are to keep up with the market demands that are placed upon them, they need the efficiency, productivity, and precision digital tools bring with them. However, with the considerable upside of digitization also comes risks.

Supply Chain Digital recently released an article outlining just how significant a challenge cybersecurity has become for supply chains, stating,

Research from Ponemon Institute indicates that cybersecurity is a growing supply-chain challenge, with 56% of organisations reporting to have had a breach that was caused by one of their third-party vendors.

That means more than half of those in the supply chain industry have dealt with cyber attacks already. That is a hugely concerning number and all the more reason for companies to make cybersecurity a priority. With that said, in order for companies to have optimal cybersecurity, they need to pinpoint the areas that present the greatest risk.

This week’s article by Morai Logistics highlights some of the most significant cybersecurity threats supply chains face today.

Software

A vast majority of companies use software for their supply chain operations that aren’t their own. That means they have to rely on software provided to them by a third party. As a result, there are many avenues through which they can be compromised. The software itself has to be diligently vetted to make sure that it can’t cause harm, but the threat doesn’t end there.

Each software update can bring with it a renewed risk. What’s more, often these updates are automatic, making it impossible to assess them before they’re already up and running. Finally, software issues can even arise from someone from a third party being brought in to run diagnostics, and it’s hard to know what they’re bringing in as they plug their laptops into a company’s supply chain network.

Hardware

Much in the same way as software, hardware is rarely built in its entirety in-house. It’s far more likely that companies will use hardware that isn’t their own, opening themselves up to cyber vulnerability. Each device or piece of equipment has the potential to be used to steal data or seize control of the system it’s being operated on. Thus, just like with software, third party providers  have to be stringently reviewed.

Network Services

The network service a company uses to host its digital traffic, if public, has the potential to have bad actors on it. Actors who can hijack company data. In turn, the company’s operations can be severely compromised. However, the solution to this is straightforward: the use of private networks.

Other Threats

The list of other potential threats is extensive. Cloud computing, the internet of thing (IoT), and third party vendors are all areas from which cyber attacks can arise. It’s worth touching upon the first two.

The risk of using a cloud for shared data storage is that it’s an easy target for hackers. What’s more, many devices’ default setting is to link their data to a cloud, providing an easily overlooked vulnerability. Similarly, the IoT can be a cybersecurity risk. A security camera, for example, when connected to the internet can be accessed remotely by malicious actors. Who, in turn, can spark a considerable privacy breach.

The simple fix for these issues and others is to take a safety-first approach. Rather than rushing to adopt new technologies, softwares, and devices, companies need to carefully access each of them. Only after thorough inspections, safety protocols, and when safeguards are put in place, should these new elements be adopted.