A supply chain attack is a form of cyber attack where cyber criminals get into the networks of a technology supplier and then steal their customers’ data or release malware that impacts those customers.
Supply chain attacks are a huge risk today. Just think of your own company. You undoubtedly work with tens of suppliers for everything from collaboration tools to HR software to payroll platforms. If one of these suppliers were breached, you could be impacted.
This isn’t a hypothetical risk either. Supply chain attacks are increasing, and research shows that they’ve risen by 430% in the last year.
Despite the risk, research indicates that a mere 36% of companies have vetted all new and existing suppliers for security purposes in the last 12 months. This is a huge data breach waiting to happen.
If you’re not sure about your suppliers’ security, you’re at risk. Blindly trusting third-party vendors to be secure isn’t enough these days. You need to take a proactive approach.
How to Improve Supply Chain Security
The good news is that you don’t have to be a sitting duck. The security of your supply chain is – to an extent – within your control. Here are the steps you should take.
- Guard your privileges: You should implement the principle of least privilege for your employees and your suppliers. Your suppliers should only be able to access the data they need to – and nothing more. They also shouldn’t have administrative controls unless absolutely necessary. This strategy will prevent hackers from getting into your network through a supplier and wreaking havoc.
- Refine installation rights: While some suppliers may need installation rights, not all do. Make sure you rigorously check which companies have these rights, and vet them thoroughly before giving them any permissions. Work with your managed security provider to ensure that all installations are legitimate and secure.
- Map out your supply chain: You can’t protect what you don’t know. To that end, you need to create a visual map of your supply chain, so you understand who your vendors are and what they have access to. From there, you can refine your access controls and send out security assurance questionnaires to gain a deeper understanding of how your vendors approach security. Again, your IT services provider can help you with questionnaires that will answer the questions you need.
- Take supply chain security case by case: It’s not wise to take a blanket approach to vendor security. An office supplies supplier, for example, poses much less of a security threat than a payroll provider. To that end, you should take a personalized approach. Ensure that the requirements you set seem reasonable for the circumstances.
- Edit your contracts and procurement process: Security requirements should become a foundational part of all vendor contracts. Depending on the answers you receive to your questionnaires, you may need to update your third-party conditions with additional requirements for security. Such requirements should also be embedded into the procurement process.
- Train your employees on security risks: Your employees are your first line of defense against cyber-attacks. Educate them on the latest threats, so they can stay aware and won’t fall for cybercriminals’ tricks.
- Stay on the ball: Supplier assurance isn’t a tick-box, one off activity. It’s an ongoing process where you communicate and collaborate with your suppliers so every business is as secure as can be.
Getting Started With Supply Chain Security
For SMBs, supply chain security can often seem like a complex undertaking. Today’s supply chains are complex and opaque. Plus, where SMBs use large providers, it can be tricky to reach out to them and get answers.
However, there is a way forward. Rather than add supply chain assurance to your to-do list, we advise working with a managed IT provider who can handle the supplier assurance process for you.
A good managed IT service provider will help you to build a supply chain security program from the ground up, starting with a review of your current level of maturity. From there, they will help you to build a picture of your supply chain, put the right controls in place, and monitor and manage your supplier relationships.
As businesses become more connected, the threat of supply chain attacks isn’t going away. For attackers, this threat vector is minimum input and high reward. So, don’t let yourself suffer a data breach due to a third-party vendor. Get ahead of the game today.
Start Your Supply Chain Security Journey Today!
B-Comp Services can assist your Denver area business with a review of your supply chain and help you on the path to supply chain security management.
Contact us today to discuss the security of your supply chain. Call at 303-282-4934