Supply chain management is a complex process involving many partners, organisations and technological systems. Without ensuring that there is a consistent approach to robust, preventative cyber security throughout all of these separate entities, the constant risk of attacks looms.
One of the biggest threats is a lack of attention to the cyber protection that exists within supply partners’ operations. For buyers, efforts to employ the right level of attention to preventing an attack internally become redundant if the process put in place is adversely affected by an attack on a partner’s operations – with disruption often immediately having a knock on effect on customers (whether in relation to them receiving a product/ service or their data being compromised).
How can they build relationships with other departments to ensure processes are adapted and any attacks are not successful?
Cross-departmental understanding of the consequences of cyber-attacks – especially where customer retention and revenue loss is concerned – is vital and cannot be achieved through one-off training exercises or presentations. Instead, it must involve an ongoing programme of training, presenting or communication around the recognition of the signs of an attack – and vitally, the planned steps for minimising any fallout if one takes place.
There can be barriers to overcome where the adoption of individual departments is concerned but this can be offset through a top-down approach to the issue beginning at board level that recognises the seriousness of the threat to profitability and reputation.
How can businesses work with their suppliers on this to reduce risk and increase surveillance? Should they be conducting regular checks on suppliers’ systems and processes?
A key way to guard against this risk is for buyers to ensure that proven levels of cyber security are part of the criteria for acquiring new partners and external supply chain relationships. By agreeing a formalised /approach to preventative cyber security at the outset that covers the core strategic, technological and training related elements involved, the risk of an external attack on a partner compromising the supply chain is minimised.
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About the author(s)
Sarah Riding is an experienced commercial contract specialist advising on a wide range of commercial arrangements. Her wealth of experience includes supply of goods and services, manufacturing arrangements, supply chain management, logistics, routes to market, franchising, technology contracts and outsourcing. Sarah acts for clients both nationally and internationally and has worked on many cross-border arrangements.