Supply Chain Security Revisited

Supply Chain Security Revisited

In August, we covered a ransomware attack on Kaseya, a large managed IT provider, that led to security issues for about 1500 businesses around the globe. That episode shows how one attack can induce problems throughout an entire supply chain. 2021 has cascaded one problem after another onto manufacturing supply chains in the United States and elsewhere. Even if you disregard the pressures exerted by the pandemic, 2021 has been exceptionally stressful; new headlines on cyber attacks seem to come out daily. Unfortunately, this isn't likely to change in 2022. As such, manufacturers and other businesses who rely on numerous vendors to bring their products to market need to think critically about how they are going to protect themselves in this new state of affairs.

Supply Chain Security Best Practices

The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), a subdivision of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has a handy list of best practices for security along supply chains. The document outlines three central principles for developing a supply chain security plan.

The first principle instructs firms to, "Develop your defenses based on the principle that your systems will be breached." As professional cyber criminal networks have proliferated, it's becoming increasingly difficult to operate a supply chain without the risk of attack. Treating attacks as inevitabilities expands the tactics a firm must use to not only mitigate risks but also recover sensitive information if it's compromised.

The second principle states that, "Cybersecurity is never just a technology problem, it’s a people, processes and knowledge problem." In other words, even the most air-tight cybersecurity platform will only go so far if employees aren't trained on how to use it and aren't disciplined in their security procedures.

Finally, the last principle reminds firms that, "Security is Security." It's not helpful to view physical security protocols and cybersecurity protocols as separate spheres of operation. Criminals can use gaps in cybersecurity to breach physical security systems and vice versa.

Modern Cybersecurity Practices

For firms who are looking to increase security along their supply chains, one of the key cybersecurity best practices listed in NIST's document is requiring all contracted vendors to employ a set of specified security benchmarks. If a vendor can't meet these benchmarks or is unwilling to cooperate, you shouldn't be doing business with them.

It also recommends that cybersecurity personnel monitor and accompany products as they move between vendors on the supply chain. This allows for easier integration of security practices throughout the production cycle. Moreover, they recommend that firms seriously consider automating their processes whenever possible, as it removes the risk of human error.

Finally, they recommend that access to both software and hardware be tightly controlled. What's more, even when access is granted, all vendors should be accompanied by a trusted security escort. If you'd like to learn more about resources and advice offered by NIST, visit their website.

Titan Tech can help any business implement sound security practices along their supply chain. They can also recommend fail-safe mechanisms for protecting and recovering data, advise on cybersecurity insurance policies, and keep you informed about contemporary security threats. If you'd like to learn more about how Titan Tech can help your business, schedule a free consultation by filling out their contact form.

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