As the digital evolution of both businesses and the world continues, all elements of every day continue to become more digital. Supply chains are no exception, becoming increasingly interconnected and technologically advanced.
This brings many benefits to businesses, allowing closer and more efficient communication with third party suppliers has opened a new type of cyber security risk for businesses. This risk is through the supply chain itself and can allow cyber attackers to disrupt operations, compromise sensitive data and potentially cause reputational damage.

What is the threat?

Cyber security in the supply chain must include measures taken to safeguard the flow of information, data, and digital assets throughout the chain.
This means that your business no longer needs to be cautious of just its own internal system and network but also the systems of suppliers, vendors, partners, and other stakeholders.

Common threats that can occur in the supply chain

  • Phishing and other social engineering attacks. Deceptive messages and emails are used to trick recipients into giving out sensitive information, such as personal information, login credentials or financial data.
  • Malware and Ransomware attacks. These attacks can infect computer systems allowing the attacker to steal or encrypt data often causing significant disruption to business operations. These can spread through file sharing or access to other infected networks.
  • Third party risks. As supply chains involve multiple external parties, cyber attackers will often target the weaker links in the chain and exploit vulnerabilities in the systems of the suppliers and partners to gain access to the primary target.
  • Insider threats. The risk of these is the same however as there are more people in the chain the risk increases. This could be caused by human error, or disgruntled employees somewhere in the chain.

Are there any measures to mitigate the threat?

It may appear out of your control to ensure the security of your suppliers and vendors, however, it is still your responsibility to ensure it is strong. So, what can you do to protect your business?

  • Conduct risk assessments – regularly evaluating security risks within your supply chain is critical to identifying potential weak points.
  • Vendor due diligence – ensuring that cyber security is a priority when selecting and evaluating suppliers and partners. The easiest way to recognise a business’s commitment to cyber security is by looking for industry recognised certifications.
  • Employee training and awareness. Many attacks that do happen are spread through human activity, such as downloading and running malicious files or falling victim to a social engineering attack. Educating your employees and creating a culture of digital safety can be a critical prevention step to stopping an attack from becoming critical.

How to reassure your partners

It is also important to consider your business’ appearance in terms of cyber security to show you do not pose a significant risk in their supply chain should they work with you.

  • Gaining industry certifications. Certifications such as Cyber Essentials help other businesses recognise your commitment to your business’s cyber security and that you have appropriate measures in place.
  • Employee education. Educated employees are more likely to answer queries effectively from potential customers, providing them with more confidence.

As supply chains continue to evolve in the digital era, cyber security has become a key component of successful supply chain management. Having a robust cyber security framework ensures the confidentiality, integrity and availability of critical data and systems while minimising the risks of cyber breaches and attacks.

CTRL-S can help. We can help you understand your risks, and help you gain the Cyber Essentials certification to show you’re taking cyber security seriously. Please get in touch with one of our expert team to discuss this further.

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