Security is extremely important for all businesses. Companies who do not take supply chain security seriously leave themselves vulnerable to potentially devastating attacks. Before we jump into the details, lets first define what supply chain security is. Supply chain security is a broad term that encompasses the efforts to reduce the risk of both external and internal threats such as terrorism, piracy, and theft, both in the real world and in the cyber-space. This article will discuss the various security dangers posed to supply chains as well as solutions that can mitigate and even eliminate the risk.
Security is a very troublesome topic and many people may prefer to ignore it rather than face reality. The fact is that there are bad people out there, so the best bet is to ally yourselves with some good guys who are both knowledgeable and experienced.
Physical threats to your supply chain security include more traditional means of harm, such as theft, sabotage, and piracy. These types of threats can come from both internal and external sources. For example, a cargo ship may be hijacked by pirates, this is an external threat. However physical threats can come from internal sources as well such as disgruntled employees stealing or sabotaging inventory. There are a variety of methods to combat these physical threats, including:
- Using standardized identification and credentials for supply chain participants
- Utilizing state-of-the-art track & trace technology to receive real time updates on the status of various shipments
- Employing advanced locking mechanisms on cargo as well as tamper-proof seals
- Screening employees thoroughly with a focus on values to reduce risk of internal threats
- Use standardized inspection procedures as well as mobile technology applications on cargo entering every node within a supply chain.
It is impossible to eliminate physical threats to your supply chain security completely, however, if you can apply any of the solutions stated above, you can drastically lower your chances of becoming a victim. Analyze your supply chain and ask yourself “Where am I most vulnerable?”. Sometimes the answer is obvious, sometimes not so much.
The Internet and Cyber Threats
Once upon a time, physical supply-chain threats were all a business had to worry about. Now with the rise of the internet and increasingly software reliant systems, there are new and perhaps more insidious threats. The internet has been a massive benefit to supply chains, both small and global. However, the rise of internet-reliant supply chains has created new avenues of potential threats. A few dedicated and skilled hackers can bring down the largest of supply chains. One example in the news recently is the Petya ransomware cyber-attack that crippled firms across Europe and the United States. There are many other examples of cyber-related attacks such as computer hardware delivered with malware already installed, malware inserted into software either knowingly or unknowingly as well as counterfeit computer hardware. As scary as this may seem, there is no need to panic, there are a variety of methods that can be employed to combat cyber threats, including:
- Ensuring all parties involved in your supply chain are certified to a certain compliance standard that you set. This helps mitigate the risk of an attacker gaining access to your supply chain through a 3rd
- Conduct risk assessments of potential vendors and partners. This helps reduce the risk of an internal attack.
- Specify directly who has ownership to certain data being used or gathered within the supply chain. This creates a sense of responsibility and ownership within your organization as far as securing data and its responsible usage.
- Improve lines of information sharing and communication throughout the supply chain. This step helps convey the standards required for proper data usage as well as improve detection of any possible problems or attacks.
In today’s day and age, there will always be black hat hackers looking to disrupt business and their operations. By taking the steps shown above you can improve your business’s supply chain security and reduce potential risks.
Feel free to contact E-Spin to secure your organization from outsider threat. We have helped many firms like yourself and would be more than happy to lend you a hand as well.