Supply chain security concerns continue to grow. Does your company have a risk management strategy that addresses the possibility of a major supplier security failure?
With cybercrime on the rise, many businesses are falling victim to viruses and malware passed on to them by vendors and business partners.
Until now, there was no clear strategy that addresses this. But now there are new third-party risk assessment strategies, services and tools that can help you identify “weak points” in your company’s supply chain.
Is now the time to invest in it?
Why Suppliers in the Supply Chain Pose Security Risks
2021, BlueVoyant, a cybersecurity vendor, reported that 98% of organizations surveyed said they had been impacted by a supply chain security breach. And by 2022, in a global survey of 1,000 chief information officers, 82% of respondents said their organizations are vulnerable to cyber-attacks targeting their supply chains.
TO SEE: Microsoft wants to help you avoid supply chain problems (TechRepublic)
There are many reasons for these statistics and concerns. The most prominent are:
- The sheer size of corporate supply chains, which can include hundreds of thousands of suppliers for a single company
- Different cybersecurity requirements from country to country
- Lack of vendor readiness, awareness, and resources for sound cybersecurity practices
- Lack of supplier security awareness in departments such as procurement, which often request suppliers to submit proposals that do not meet the security requirements for doing business with the company.
What risk management steps can you proactively take to minimize vendor security breaches?
Improve your policies for better supply chain security
To securely secure your supply chain, you should start with a supplier audit. Who are your riskiest suppliers? Do they provide mission-critical components that your company would struggle to replace if their business failed or was disrupted?
Put security in vendor RFPs
Business departments, such as purchasing, that issue RFPs to suppliers focus on types, quality, and delivery times of the components they order. Security may not be written into RFPs at all – and it’s time to change that thinking.
Companies should insist that safety is a prerequisite for doing business with their suppliers. If there is a unique, mission-critical supplier that does not have the resources to meet security requirements, a plan should be developed to help the company become security compliant. These companies also annually audit suppliers for safety to ensure improvements are made.
Raise awareness of supply chain risk management in your organization
IT is constantly involved in security, so there can be a tendency to think that other C-level executives, including the CEO, share the same security awareness. That is not always the case.
The CIO should make it a point to visit other members of the executive management and board of directors. The goal is to ensure that everyone is fully on board with a robust security implementation and the necessary financial investment required to support and maintain it.
A “State of the State” presentation on corporate security and risk management must be given annually to the board of directors and C-level management.
Implement supply chain security tools
In addition to providing education to suppliers, departments and leaders, IT can also use software to improve supply chain security.
Vendor rating software frameworks
Commercial software is available that provides security questionnaire templates that you can customize as you build your own supplier security questionnaires. With input from these questionnaires, you can identify your most at-risk security vendors.
Digital twin supply chain simulations
Digital twin supply chain software enables you to digitally model your entire supply chain, allowing you to simulate various supply chain risk scenarios.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Businesses use AI to plan supply chain routes and to predict bad weather, natural disasters and even political issues so they can engineer contingencies for these potential disruptors. The good news is that there are a number of commercial supply chain risk management systems that do this, so you don’t have to build supply chain risk AI from scratch.