Are Supplier Ecosystems Your Weakest Cybersecurity Link?

As we live in this modern age of digitalization, cybercriminals are finding new ways to attack organizations or companies worldwide. They have started attacking organizations by targeting different departments that work under their umbrella. 

Sadly, more than 80% of organizations have suffered a data breach due to the vulnerabilities found in their supply chains. Hackers and other cyber goons take full benefit of small vendors’ poor security practices that help them access networks of big companies or organizations.  

According to a research conducted by cybersecurity firm BlueVoyant, there are 1013 vendors normally associated with the supplier ecosystems of organizations globally. 

Surprisingly, 82% of organizations have experienced a data breach incident during the last 12 months or so because of supply chain’s cybersecurity issues. 

This post will let you know what supplier ecosystems are all about and how organizations can improve their cybersecurity practices to effectively negotiate supplier’s ecosystems’ security issues. 

Supplier ecosystems, a source of innovation

There is no denying that supplier ecosystems are highly efficient, smart and connected too. Furthermore, these data-driven and high-tech ecosystems enable organizations to create and integrate a massive network including suppliers and customers. 

Moreover, all the steps taken in this whole process are transparent for all the stakeholders working together like suppliers or vendors, forwarding agents, logistic service providers, equipment providers, etc.

In a nutshell, these ecosystems assist companies or organizations to anticipate disruptions appropriately. Additionally, they allow organizations to combat real-time supply chain challenges or issues in a proactive manner. 

As far as the main focus of supplier ecosystems is concerned, they want to support organizations in building an innovative supply chain network that helps them achieve a competitive edge over their rival companies. 

This supply chain network needs to be responsive and resilient at the same time. Otherwise, the goal of developing effective supplier ecosystems will not be achieved.   

Are supplier ecosystems your weakest cybersecurity link? 

As you know, supplier ecosystems help organizations compete with other companies at an international level. In short, they help companies achieve their long term goals or mission in the right direction. 

However, they can jeopardize the online presence of companies or organizations significantly. This is because hackers can access companies’ corporate networks by hacking a third-party supplier’s software that has customers information.

Aside from hacking a supplier software, they can inject malicious code into the software provider’s app. Besides, they can allow software providers to send out that particular malicious code through the next update to all their customers. 

These are some dangerous ways by which hackers or other cyber terrorists can take advantage of loopholes presented in suppliers’ CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software.

How can organizations safeguard themselves against suppliers’ ecosystems security threats?

Considering the consequences of cybersecurity issues, organizations can take numerous precautionary measures to protect themselves against supplier ecosystems’ security threats accordingly. Here is the list of these steps that includes:

Use a VPN

A VPN is an indispensable online security solution that lets organizations mitigate various cyber risks properly. Luckily, there are different top-notch VPN services available in the market companies can opt for to secure their supplier ecosystems effectively. 

When organizations protect their corporate networks and other resources including employees’ official tasks, customers’ data, and supplier ecosystems, they can bypass various security issues such as data theft, phishing attacks, hacking, malware, ransomware, etc. hassle-free.    

Provide basic cybersecurity training to vendors or suppliers

There is no harm in providing basic cybersecurity training to your suppliers or vendors. Companies can designate their cybersecurity teams for this purpose as they can offer valuable insights and other necessary information to vendors. 

This way, they can combat numerous security issues by deploying several online protection tools. The vendors or suppliers can install such useful tools on their devices like LifeLock, Bitdefender Total Security, Webroot, Kryptos 2, Quantum Numbers Corp QNG2, etc.    

Collaborate with your suppliers to help them deal with cybersecurity problems regularly

Firstly, companies should remove the common misconception from the minds of their suppliers that cybersecurity is a one-time activity. Your suppliers or vendors should be smart enough to follow cybersecurity practices on a regular basis throughout the year.

Organizations should allow their cybersecurity teams interact with the suppliers as and when required. Furthermore, they should support them deal with notorious security hassles proactively. 

Use efficient online protection tools to evade phishing and other cyberattacks successfully   

When it comes to protecting against suppliers’ ecosystem security vulnerabilities, suppliers should also take some crucial measures themselves. 

They can install antivirus software on their devices be it desktops, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, etc. Apart from this, they can download and install phishing filters on their web browsers and email applications. 

By doing so, they can protect themselves from phishing scams without compromising their online privacy. They can use different security tools like Mimecast, IronScales, Sophos Email, PhisProtection, etc.  

Wrapping Things Up

Supplier ecosystems allow supply chain managers to make better decisions. This way, they can overcome the limitations involved in a complex supply chain process. 

But unfortunately, supplier ecosystems have become one of the weakest cybersecurity links in an organization or company these days. Therefore, companies should improve their cybersecurity practices to secure their supplier ecosystems from various cyber risks like hacking, data breaches, ransomware, etc.   

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.