Cybersecurity risk management best practices that improve the integrity of your supply chain

For most security professionals, industry tidings tend to be grim affairs. With a four-fold increase in supply chain attacks predicted this year—along with news of increasing accounts of malware, data being held at ransom and more—there is a lot of work that needs to be done when it comes to cybersecurity risk management.

For most businesses, it’s the supply chain that represents a core area of risk and vulnerability.

In 2021 and beyond, the integrity, resilience and security of the supply chain will play a larger role in a business’ success. It will also define just how much disruption an organisation experiences in response to a riskier security landscape and market disruptions.

To operate more securely, cybersecurity risk management strategies that govern the supply chain need to be enhanced and aligned with the latest best practices.

Brace yourself and prepare for a greater level of physical risks

In addition to the impact of the pandemic on the security environment, there has been a consensus lately that businesses have to be on the lookout for a greater spate of physical threats as well.

These span risks including theft, destruction, piracy, and sabotage. Especially when you’re part of an extensive, international supply chain, the likelihood of these risks only increases. 

Here, start by identifying which points of your vendor network make you the most vulnerable. Thereafter, you can take action to shore up your defences including launching a robust system of identification leveraging core credentials, sophisticated tracking technology across your shipments and deliveries, and powerful employee screening and inspection.

Go beyond your regular supplier due diligence 

Another reality we need to contend with, in the new normal, is that our traditional pre-qualification assessments may no longer scan the appropriate levels of risk.

Today, vendor risks extend far beyond their own operations and include those of the external parties they work with as well. What this means is that businesses now need to accommodate fourth and nth parties in their security strategies; a fact complicated by the complexity and diversity of these networks.

Based on the nature of your organisation and the data you handle, this is something you will need to factor into your risk ratings and the assessments of your vendors. 

If working with these parties is a necessity, this kind of insight into your vendors’ risk exposure can guide your monitoring, access management policies, and other controls that mitigate your risks.

To complement these efforts and enjoy a real-time view of your posture, a security risk rating system can be leveraged for relevant insights. At any given time, organisations can operate with up-to-date information on the relative safety of their networks, data and systems as affected by third-party security.

Create organisational buy-in through comprehensive security awareness training

In addition to the sophisticated technology and strategies you plan on leveraging, it’s equally important to ensure your teams are committed to maintaining your security posture.

If they aren’t aware of the importance of supply chain security, don’t have a grasp of basic security concepts and best practices or simply don’t care, your success on this front will be very limited. 

Beyond just providing training on best practices to follow, draw the connection between supply chain security, organisational success and operational continuity clearly. Make the business case for better internal security convincingly to demonstrate its impact on your external operations. 

This way, you can complement your strategies and technology with complete buy-in and commitment at every level of your organisation; a highly underrated element of successful VRM strategies. 

Cybersecurity risk management strategies are the cornerstone of supply chain security—stay proactive to remain secure

In the modern security landscape, the supply chain plays a much more significant role in determining an organisation’s security posture. 

Regardless of how limited or extensive these networks are, businesses have to grapple with more damaging threats by taking a more sophisticated approach to cybersecurity risk management.

By following the latest best practices, it’s easier to be more proactive about third-party vendor management and secure your data, networks, and systems. 

In this process, it’s important that we don’t just look outside, but consider the effect internal practices and policies have on supply chain security.

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