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5 Important Supply Chain Cybersecurity Challenges in 2020

Your supply chain is what allows your business to function, and ensuring it is optimized with the latest technological solutions keeps your company operating at your best. 

With new technology comes a need for increased protection against bad actors looking to exploit your business for their own gains, however. Your company needs robust supply chain cybersecurity practices to thrive in the cloud and take advantage of Internet of Things (IoT)-based connectivity opportunities. 

Cybersecurity issues can also lead to problems with productivity and operability, and understanding the top supply chain cybersecurity challenges will allow you to focus on enhancing your security to reduce these online threats. This guide will help you make sure you’re investing in the right tech solutions so you can take advantage of the benefits while enjoying peace of mind throughout the year.

Top Data and Cloud Storage Challenges

Storing your data electronically offers you the convenience of being able to collect and retrieve it faster. You can search through records and share them within seconds, among other benefits, but digitization can also mean problems with your supply chain cybersecurity. Here are some of the challenges you may face when using the cloud:

1. Cloud Access Mismanagement

You need to consider who needs access to what information as you move your data to the cloud. Providing users with more privileges than they need can give them access to information that does not pertain to them. They could also delete records you need simply because they don’t understand what they’re looking at. 

Additionally, you may run into employees leaving portals to the cloud open, which makes those formerly secure digital storage sites accessible to anyone. You will want a cloud solution that offers both strong access and individual permission management.

2. Cloud Hacking

Even with strong access management, it is still possible to encounter cloud hacking. This can be done from any outside source, whether it is malware, an ex-employee, or even a hacker who wants access to your supply chain. Hacking is often a result of weak security features, outdated updates, and insufficient passwords.

3. Insufficient Resources

Many companies suffer from a lack of resources, which may be due to growing your business and not having enough room in your cloud. It may also have to do with insufficient programs that allow for the development of your cloud-based tools, or because there are issues with monitoring or automating backups. 

Investing in a cloud solution that can grow with you can make a big difference. Working with a trusted cloud cybersecurity partner will mean you can address the many issues that exist within a cloud to ensure your data is safe from internal and external threats.

4. IoT Sensor Hacking

Embracing new technologies means more than just cloud-based storage for your important data, however. Adopting IoT-enabled solutions means you can use sensors to collect more information, which can help you to more efficiently manage the logistics of running your operations. 

Using IoT in asset tracking is particularly helpful because it will allow you to know where your assets are, how long they have been used, and how frequently they’re serviced. This can save countless hours if you’re using such sensors to the best of their abilities. Here are a few facts about using IoT-enabled sensors:

  • Information from the sensors is only useful if you’re getting and using it.
    These sensors are connected to the internet, which means constant updates, but that also provides another point in which hackers can disturb your operations. It is possible for bad actors to collect information about your order volumes, the location of your assets, supplier relations, and more.
  • The goal is to enhance the security of your IoT-enabled devices so they are not vulnerable to hacks.
    The security and encryption of every sensor should be verified to ensure you don’t have problems with your supply chain cybersecurity.
  • You have to look at the integrity of the sensors.
    Sensors are available from countless vendors and not all of them are focused on security, potentially leaving you in a vulnerable state without knowing it. Ask yourself these questions: Were the sensors purchased from a reputable source? Were they thoroughly inspected prior to connecting with your system? 

Doing due diligence throughout the strategizing, deployment, and maintenance stages of your IoT implementation will go a long way in keeping your systems secure from nefarious actors looking to harm your supply chain. That must start with the third-party providers you choose as partners.

5. Trusting Third Parties with Your Data

Any third-party vendors with which you partner should be vetted. This includes everyone from your cloud service providers to the software vendors you use to analyze your IoT sensor data. If you don’t know anything about your providers, you run the risk of being hacked because not all third parties are the same in terms of how they secure their systems or the reputations they have for avoiding cyberattacks. 

Too many companies make the mistake of choosing vendors based on cost alone. While you want to choose solutions that fit within your budget, you don’t want to run into situations in which you’re risking your livelihood to save a few dollars.

You will likely have to pay more to work with vendors that invest more in security, but it will be well worth it. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a reputable third-party provider:

  • Security policies
  • Past breaches
  • System-to-system authentication
  • Commitment to improving security

You want to establish that every third party you do business with is trustworthy and reliable. Ask questions, do your research, and even ask for a tour of their data center. When you build a personal relationship, it makes it easier to learn about security specifications and focus on your own operations’ supply chain cybersecurity.

CISA Stance and Strategy

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has published recommendations on how to fight some of the top supply chain cybersecurity threats. Unfortunately, much of the guidance is focused on future efforts instead of current policies.

A task force of agency and industry experts has compiled a list of products that have been compromised, for example, which makes it a little easier to know who the bad actors are and the threats posed. This is a good starting point, but it is also important to understand the more sustainable and scalable strategies to keep threats at bay.

Some of the biggest threats, as identified by CISA, include:

  • Cyber vulnerabilities
  • Economic risks
  • Counterfeit parts

The CISA plans to continue using the task force, which has been divided into four groups — threat evaluation, qualified bidder and manufacturer lists, procurement policy, and information sharing) — and will be working on actionable strategies that can be used to standardize methods for evaluating vendors. The task force will also be working to advance supply chain cybersecurity methods’ capabilities.

Investment Landscape

Every business with a supply chain needs to make the commitment to invest in security. This is an ongoing process because of the technology that is developed and threats that emerge online over time. Not safeguarding your supply chain can lead to issues that spiral into high expenses, problems getting products to customers, and more. Here are a few quick facts:

  • The truth is you can do everything right and still have problems with your security, however. You can change your password, use the best third-party vendors, and still encounter issues because security threats are always changing. 
  • Using manufacturing software to streamline the supply chain can help, as can adding multi-factor authorization to the cloud, but both require investments and training employees.
  • If you’re going to focus on supply chain security, you have to commit to investing in third-party vendors that will help you with authentication protocols, higher levels of encryption, and sensors with proven track records of not being hacked. 
  • You must take a sensible approach to supply chain cybersecurity as it is what allows you to stay operational. Embracing some of the latest tech will allow you to get that help when and where you need it the most.

Cybersecurity isn’t going to go away. Hackers continually get smarter to overcome your safety protocols, and that means your company must get smarter in the controls it uses. This requires understanding the options that are available as well as investing in them. Otherwise, you will constantly struggle with supply chain security.

Option3Ventures operates with a focus on cybersecurity investing to ensure the latest and greatest solutions are being employed. Our unique perspective is allowing supply chain cybersecurity problems to be properly dealt with to protect operations once and for all. Contact us today to learn more about our investments in cybersecurity and how they can help your operations.


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