The effectiveness of your supply chain can be rocked by natural disasters like storms. Furthermore, war, terrorism, trade conflicts and pandemics can lead to costly bottlenecks. Another player in this field of potentially destructive elements is cyber crime, which can also bring about financial loss and reputational damage. How can you shield your supplier network from this final, human-made catastrophe?

Focus on managing third-party risk

Perhaps you always order your components from reputable vendors, but maybe in addition to sourcing Microchip Technology products you also get parts from less transparent sellers. Before you do anything else, sit down with your procurement team to map out your entire network. To the best of your ability, investigate the companies with whom your primary workers do business as well since their risk will ultimately get passed on to your enterprise. If one of the entities you buy from has too many weaknesses in their security profile, it may be time to sever ties.

Evaluate all supply chains to assess protection requirements

In many cases, your business relationships with vendors require that you furnish them with limited access to your internal network or systems. This results in a chink in your protective armor that puts you at necessary but increased risk. As you scan your landscape for vulnerabilities and come up with proactive strategies to plug the leaks, remember that information supply chains are perhaps even more susceptible to disruption-producing attacks as informational ones are.

Make your suppliers a part of the process

Your community of vendors is diverse and far-flung, encompassing producers, manufacturers and anyone who distributes components along the line. Without exception, all should be integrally involved in protecting both you and themselves from risk. Meet with them on a regular basis, and require that they produce their security policies and protocols as well as any certifications they have received. Conducting on-site visits and requesting an annual audit are other excellent ways to ensure that your suppliers actually are practicing what they preach.

Use testing to find bugs

This step also falls under the โ€œdonโ€™t take their word for itโ€ category. Although not all organizations have the resources to maintain a test lab, those who do will find it to be a great way to assess vendor software and hardware.

Validate the integrity of your supply chain with technology

Wouldnโ€™t it be nice if you could assess all modifications along your supply chain through the use of a source and time stamp that is beyond reproach? So-called hyperledger technologies such as blockchain actually already exist, and they donโ€™t require central management to work well. Although these innovations are only now beginning to gain popularity, they are sure to become a solid way to promote supply chain transparency and protect even the smallest link from cyber attack.

Supply chain vulnerabilities can be difficult to identify and even trickier to fix. To maximize your chances of success, it is vital to have a dedicated third-party vendor risk management team that is well-funded and supported by management. This group should be in regular contact with suppliers and open to using cutting-edge technology. Once this model is in place, you can rest easier in the knowledge that your vendor network is shielded from outside attack.