Supply chain attacks are one of the most common cyber threats faced by organizations. They are costly and disruptive, often resulting in lost revenue and customer trust.
In this article, we’ll discuss five insights about supply chain attacks that all supply chain management and information security teams should be aware of.
#1. Supply Chains Can Be Vulnerable
Supply chains are complex networks of companies, suppliers, customers, and partners that provide goods and services to each other.
They include manufacturers, distributors, retailers, service providers, logistics providers, and others.
These entities may interact directly or indirectly via intermediaries such as banks, insurance companies, payment processors, freight forwarders, customs brokers, etc.
Supply chains are vulnerable to attack because they involve multiple parties and interactions between them. Each organization in the chain will have its own risk profile, security posture, and business model. This creates a complex environment for security risks. Attackers can target any part of the supply chain, and often focus on the weakest link, including manufacturing facilities, distribution centers, warehouses, transportation hubs, retail stores, etc.
Attackers can disrupt operations, steal intellectual property, damage reputation, and cause losses in revenue and profits.
#2. Supply Chain Security Must Include All Stakeholders
Supply chain security involves protecting against threats across the entire value stream. This means securing data, processes, systems, physical assets, personnel, and technology.
It also requires integrating security practices and technologies across the entire organization.
This includes ensuring that information sharing occurs among stakeholders, that employees understand their roles and responsibilities, and that policies and procedures are followed.
Security professionals should collaborate closely with executives, managers, and staff members to ensure that everyone understands the importance of security and has ownership over its implementation.
#3. Supply Chain Security Requires Ongoing Monitoring and Maintenance
Supply chain security requires ongoing monitoring and maintenance.
An effective approach is to continuously monitor the status of key indicators, assess risks, identify vulnerabilities, and implement countermeasures.
For example, an attacker could attempt to compromise sensitive data stored in databases, websites, mobile apps, and other locations.
To prevent these incidents, security teams should regularly review logs, audit reports, and other intelligence sources to detect suspicious activity.
They should also perform penetration tests, vulnerability scans, and other assessments to uncover potential weaknesses.
#4. Supply Chain Security Requires Collaboration Across Organizations
A single department cannot manage supply chain security within an organization.
Instead, it requires collaboration across departments and functional areas, including IT, finance, procurement, human resources, legal, marketing, sales, and others.
Each stakeholder must be responsible for maintaining security, understanding what constitutes acceptable behavior, and implementing appropriate controls.
Collaborating across organizational boundaries helps avoid silos of knowledge and expertise that can lead to gaps in security awareness and training.
#5. Supply Chain Security Is Critical to Organizational Success
Organizations that fail to protect their supply chains face significant financial penalties.
A recent study found that supply chain breaches cost United States businesses $6 trillion annually.
That’s equivalent to nearly 10% of the annual global GDP.
Supply chain attacks can result in lost revenues, damaged reputations, and increased costs.
Companies that invest in supply chain security can significantly improve operational efficiency, productivity, profitability, and brand image.