The Broader Impact of Security Breaches in Your Supply Chain

In today’s interconnected world, where businesses rely on often-complex networks of partners to deliver products and services, supply chain security has never been more important. What is the broader impact of security breaches across your supply chain?

The recent SolarWinds hack demonstrated the risks all businesses face through their supply chains. Cybercriminals are increasingly using suppliers as launchpads to target businesses, often through compromised software and business email compromise attacks. The impact of a successful cyber-attack can be huge – Datto’s recent Global State of the Channel Ransomware Report stated that the average cost of ransomware associated downtime is nearly six times what it was in 2018, and that the typical cost of downtime is nearly 50 times greater than the ransom demanded.

However, in many if not most cases it won’t be a cybercriminal targeting your business by targeting a supplier that you need to be wary of – it’s the potential business impact of losing access to supplier services that have been compromised by cyber-attack.

In this blog we’ll explore the broader impact of security breaches on your supply chain, and suggest an approach to mitigating the risks you face.

Supply Chain Security Breaches – Understanding the Impact

Modern supply chains are complex, multi-faceted things. A cyber-attack against one part of the chain can cause ripples throughout, affecting suppliers and consumers alike. Let’s explore some examples of how supply chain security breaches can adversely impact a business.

  • If a manufacturer is targeted by a cyber-attack that affects their industrial systems, they may need to shut down their production line – leaving them unable to produce products. This will leave them unable to meet demand from retailers and consumers.
  • If a distributor’s ERP system suffers downtime as a result of the software vendor or hosting provider suffering a security breach, they will lose control and visibility of their warehouse stock. This will leave them unable to allocate stock efficiently – or at all.
  • If a logistics company cannot efficiently make deliveries due to a cyber-attack limiting access to their scheduling system, this can hamper the timely transportation of products throughout the supply chain – from raw materials right through to consumers.
  • If a retailer is unable to sell products online due to website downtime resulting from a hack or distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, this can cause a drop in demand – again, impacting businesses throughout the entire supply chain.

As you can see, supply chain security breaches present risks to your business wherever you are within the chain itself. How can you minimise the risk to your business? Let’s take a look.

How Your Business Can Minimise Supply Chain Risk

Your business has never been more reliant on supply chains to deliver products and services to your end users. Whether it’s sourcing parts from suppliers, outsourcing functions like finance or marketing, or working with logistics firms to transport your products around the world, your supply chain is critical to your operational integrity.

You can never truly mitigate supply chain risk, but you can minimise it by being diligent around the partners you work with. Here are five straightforward steps you should take to understand and minimise your supply chain risk:

  • Step one. Survey your supply chain to gain a complete picture of the suppliers your business works with.
  • Step two. Establish the key suppliers in your supply chain on which you rely most heavily, or who are most integrated with your organisation.
  • Step three. Contact these key suppliers and ask them key questions that establish the potential risks they face.
  • Step four. Ask them to confirm how they have mitigated these risks.
  • Step five. Carry out this process iteratively – on your existing suppliers, on new suppliers, and on yourself.

Conclusion

Hackers are actively targeting businesses in your supply chain in order to disrupt operations and potentially even gain a foothold into your environment.  And in today’s complex operating landscape where independencies are key to service delivery, any disruptions to your suppliers resulting from a cyber-attack can cause significant collateral damage to you as a result.

At Six Degrees we have the expertise and the experience to deliver tailored solutions that will enhance your business’ cyber security posture and minimise supply chain risk. But before we start, we always want to understand your organisation and where you are on your own cyber security journey. That’s why we offer a cyber security assessment that will give us – and you – the knowledge and tools to roadmap the next steps of your journey. Schedule a call if you want to learn more.

We’ve published a new Threat Flash, compiled by our Cyber Intelligence Team, that provides an overview of the key cyber threats to the logistics sector, with details of recent ransomware attacks against organisations in the sector. Download it for free here.

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