Cyber attacks are something most businesses have to deal with and these attacks have major implications such as financial losses as well as ruining the brand’s reputation. Most companies rely heavily on electronic tools such as e-sourcing and this heavy reliance makes them more vulnerable to attacks from hackers. It is important for businesses to protect their confidentiality and their data by avoiding any cybersecurity risks.
Supply Chain Cybersecurity Risks
Many of the cyberattacks that businesses experience usually come about because of the trusted relationships they have within the supply chain such as their IT and accounting service providers. Examples of these risks include:
- Third-Party Suppliers
You might take measures to ensure that your business avoids cyberattacks, but your suppliers might put you at risk. Your suppliers have access to your systems and sensitive information; and if their data security is vulnerable, it could sink your business. A cyberattack from a third-party supplier can cause intellectual property breaches as well as sensitive data custody breaches which will all negatively impact the service levels that you will provide your customers.
- Compromised Software or Hardware From SuppliersYou can become vulnerable to cyberattacks due to counterfeit software or hardware that might be embedded with malware. When you outsource any of your supply chain functions such as ones that are done to lower infrastructure costs or website builders you will need to be more vigilant as they could infect you with malware.
- Employee Lack of AwarenessEmployees might be unaware of issues that might compromise your business’ security. When they use their own devices for any functions within the supply chain, such as their mobile devices, they could become vulnerable to cyberattacks. These devices do not have the right malware protection and detection to prevent these attacks.
Managing Cybersecurity Risks
Cyberattacks can lead to financial losses and brand damage, and has the potential to negatively impact the service levels that you offer your customers. Here are a few practices you can implement to help deal with cybersecurity risks.
1. Third-party Risk Management
In order to avoid any supply chain risks, businesses should invest in a staffed, trained and prioritized team that specifically deals with these threats. They should ensure that the team is never underfunded, understaffed or poorly supported as it could make it difficult for them to protect the supply chains.
2. Be Aware of Your Supply Chain Vulnerabilities
Your third-party risk management team is responsible for finding any vulnerabilities that exist within the supply chain and where you will need protection. This will mean looking at your third-party partners and suppliers in identifying any potential attacks that they might face as well as the motivation for those attacks.
Reasons for attacks could be for intellectual property, customer information, and proprietary information. Once you have established the motivations for attacks in your supply chain, it will be easier to find ways to protect yourself.
3. Inform Suppliers of Steps in The Chain
The process requires you to involve any third-party service providers such as suppliers and also assess their security policies or external security certifications. You might have to audit their security policies on a regular basis such as deep multidimensional analytics with open source tools. You can also choose to draft a contract that makes it mandatory for partners to have basic cybersecurity measures.
4. Protect Your Internal Systems
One of the best ways to protect your internal systems from malicious software or malware is through installing firewalls or programs that will detect viruses. Ensure that you choose to use software from reputable companies and that your software is always up to date. These programs will be able to stop any malware access to your systems.
You should also prioritize your data protection by choosing software that has strong security that contains password protection and authentication. Aim to regularly back up your data and information as it will prevent data losses in the event that there is a cyber attack.
5. Train Your Employees
Your employees should receive training regarding cybersecurity procedures. They should be informed of any cyber interference and hacking attempts. Employees should be taught about phishing and how to recognize when they are victims. Your staff should know not to open suspicious emails and any links or attachments within the emails as the aim is to gain usernames, passwords and credit card details for fraudulent purposes. These emails can also be used to try to damage the company’s security walls.
6. Have Supply Chain Response Plans
You might have assessed the risks that might occur in supply chain systems and monitored them, but it is essential to also have a plan to respond when you are attacked. Incidents are likely to happen even after doing prework, so you should always be prepared. Having a detailed plan will assist you in eradicating infection and minimizing the damage in your supply chain. Communicate your plan with your third-party providers for a well-synced response effort, this will assist in dealing with the damage faster and better.
In order to deal with cybersecurity risks, you need to be aware of any vulnerabilities within your supply chain, have a team that deals with issues regarding cyberattacks and communicate effectively with your third-party service providers. All these things will not only help you prevent any attacks, but they will help you avoid major damage to your business.
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