The past couple of years have been devastating for the supply chain industry. With COVID-19 restrictions in place disrupting operations across the globe, supply chain organizations have been under immense pressure to keep their businesses afloat. Additionally, in an effort to maintain business continuity while increasing revenue amidst rising inflation and global supply chain issues, organizations have a lot of challenges to deal with. But, the biggest threat that supply chain issues have to deal with is associated with cybersecurity.
With supply chain institutions focusing on increasing their profits, this has provided multiple touch points for threat actors to slip and carry out their attacks.
For instance, the past couple of years have witnessed a surge in ransomware and nation-state threat activity in an attempt to disrupt stressed infrastructures. While these challenges are broad and feel like a massive boulder to push through, they can still be achieved with the proper steps.
Here are three steps CISOs can take to enhance security across the entire ecosystem that will help them to prevent potential cyber-attacks impacting the supply chain:
Begin with minimum security criteria for all third-party vendors
Organizations across multiple industries have partnered with multiple third-party vendors that include cloud providers, integrated shipping services as well as outsourced customer service. Over the past couple of years, as organizations rushed to get online quickly, the use of third-party vendors became integral to stay in business. However, the complexity of third-party vendors has increased the cybersecurity risk exposure.
To effectively deal with this, CISOs need to stop providing too much access to third-party vendors. They should have a Minimum Viable Secure Product, MVSP, in place that allows them to establish minimum security baselines. This will enable CISOs to increase efficiencies, decrease overhead, and strengthen trust while raising the bar for security standards across the organization.
Strengthen customer trust and relationships
Even after establishing a security baseline, it is still critical for CISOs to build a robust cybersecurity strategy specific to the organization, industry, market and more that helps them to be one step ahead of threat actors.
As per a 2020 report from Verizon, titled “2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report,” 37% of credential theft breaches utilized stolen or weak credentials, highlighting that passwords alone are not enough to protect customer data. Hence, CISOs should identify ways to strengthen their cybersecurity posture against credential theft, including patching vulnerabilities regularly and ensuring third-party software is up-to-date. They should also enforce multi-factor authentication to provide sufficient protection against unauthorized account access both for employees as well as customers.
Before proceeding with their supply chain security strategy, security leaders should view it through what their customers expect from them, if not exceed it.
CISOs should ensure that their entire teams are on alert and know what to look out for. They should push for a security awareness program to maintain trust with the team and customers. Additionally, they should also consider incorporating fraud protection measures to run proactive security measures of all systems for potential loopholes and review account privileges regularly. Furthermore, CISOs should collaborate with their counterparts to prepare their customer service team to stay vigilant for anything suspicious while creating a plan to run any security updates that could affect their availability.