Cyberattacks are growing more common in general, but they seem to be a particularly poignant challenge for supply chains. According to a BCI Supply Chain Resiliency Report, some of the chief causes of supply chain disruption are cyberattacks and data breaches, which yields considerable risk for companies all over the world.
In fact, cyberattacks, along with other major disruptions in the workplace, can result in a 55 percent productivity loss, a significant increase in customer complaints, and a 46 percent increase in working costs, according to BCI survey results.
With this in mind, it seems like a no-brainer that companies would put supply chain security at the tops of their priorities, but this isn’t always the case. About 51 percent of survey respondents said they hadn’t insured their supply chains for any kind of disruption, and many said they know the risks exist but don’t believe anything will happen to them.
Too many supply chain organizations are behind on security digitization. They have some idea of the risks of cyberattacks, but they always convince themselves they are immune. Supply chains must learn to be more resilient and prioritize their security if they want to minimize the risks.
Prioritize and Mitigate Threats
When it comes to identifying threats in any system, Rick Willbanks of The Maritime Executive recommends identifying possible areas of threat. After identifying these risks, Willbanks advises, “Rank the threats to the technology and data assets in your maritime supply chain—computer equipment, mobile phones and tablets, and employee, customer, and financial data. Address the highest-risk areas first with the greatest scrutiny and urgency.”
Now is the time to check each threat off the list. Checking on software updates and patches, strongly collaborating with employees, taking security precautions, and educating employees are all things that can help secure your supply chain.
Improve Collaborations Through an ERP System
Disconnection among employees is a top contributor to cyberattacks since employees are the number one cause of cyberattacks. They might fail to change their passwords regularly, miss memos about company practices, or skip trainings. A stronger connection between employees and upper management is a huge benefit for a growing supply chain.
According to the ERP solutions firm ACCEO, a strong system of collaboration can make all the difference for a more secure organization. “Employees are busier than ever,” says an ACCEO blog post. “Customer orders are larger and so is the volume of information and records to keep. Because of this, data sharing from a single source is invaluable. An ERP solution can help engage your customers, automate processes, and monitor every aspect of your operations. Communications are streamlined allowing you to focus on your business’s success.”
It’s hard to miss security threats when your supply chain is so closely managed.
Create a Recovery Plan
Based on the statistics, your supply chain will probably be a victim of a security attack at one point or another. Is your supply chain properly protected from cyber threats? According to the BCI report, probably not. “74% of the surveyed companies (408 respondents from 64 countries) have a business continuity plan in place that emphasizes reporting supply chain disruptions, but 63% do not use any technology to analyze, track and monitor the performance of their supply chains,” the report said.
This means that although companies are becoming more familiar with security threats, they aren’t utilizing the incredible technology resources available for their recovery plans. Strategies should be written and updated continually, considering modern security features and technologies that can make all the difference in recovery.
Educate Suppliers on Cyber Security Threats
Once you’ve done everything in your power to mitigate your own risks, look at the companies that might be bringing them to your door. Vendors and suppliers might not be as up-to-date on security threats as your company, which is a huge threat in and of itself.
According to Alphus Hinds, Head of Cyber Risk and Security at the Tungsten Network in the UK, too many supply chain organization are lacking severely on education in the cyber security department. “One of the weaknesses is, it’s not a boardroom discussion,” Hinds told Supply Chain Dive. “People put it on the back burner, but it’s coming to the forefront now because it’s affecting the bottom line.”
As a solution, Hinds says they have a system to benchmark the progress of smaller companies so that larger supply chains can assess them for security risks through questionnaires, educational contracts, and other instructive measures. “It’s part of their due diligence for large companies to make sure their suppliers are secure,” Hinds says.
There are simply too many threats to ignore when it comes to cybersecurity and building large supply chains. Every step you take towards making your supply chain more secure will be a step towards reducing the number of yearly cyberattacks.
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