Almost all organisations rely upon suppliers to deliver products, systems, and services….after all it’s how we do business. But, as supply chains get bigger, longer and more complex, often including many suppliers, securing that chain effectively can be hard. Vulnerabilities or threats can be introduced and exploited at any point in the chain providing an unintended back door into the private data and operations of unsuspecting businesses. While security may be top of mind within your own business, the truth is you are only as strong as your most vulnerable supplier.
We’ve put together some key steps to help mitigate risk.
You know there is a potential risk but how do you find out where the gaps lie? Ideally you must consider:
– How data is being shared?
– What data you are sharing?
– How often you do business with them?
– What policies and processes your supplier has in place, and
– Are they following cyber security best practice?
After evaluating the situation and any vulnerabilities, it is key to decide what levels of cyber security you want your suppliers to meet and that this is documented in your supplier policy, contracts or data sharing agreements. It is likely these will be different for each supplier and should include such issues are GDPR, internet usage policies, social media usage policies, data management and training. You should also consider standards of cyber security that can be met through certification such as Cyber Essentials.
Transparency is key to a good, honest and trusting relationship and if you are imposing requirements on your suppliers then this needs to be reciprocated, after all your organisation is part of the supplier chain too.
Cyber security is not just an IT problem. Humans have a massive part to play and so up to date, appropriate training needs to be integrated into policies and procedures on an ongoing basis. Cyber security training is not a one-time only requirement. Much as cyber threats and criminals evolve, so training needs to continue to minimise risks. Anyone working in a supplier organisation who is not properly trained is a potential risk.
There is a lot to consider when looking to secure your supply chain. As with other elements of the way you do business, it should be constantly reviewed ensuring you keep up to date with the evolving threats and tricks of the professional cyber criminal, of which there are many. Any gap in your suppliers cyber armour, could potentially be a gap in yours, leading to costly and damaging harm. Supply chains are the life line of your organisation and any disruption could be fatal.
For more information please enquire now.