The use of devices on the Internet of Things (IoT) fundamentally changes the supply chain industry. The IoT industry is expected to grow in value up to $1.6 trillion by 2025. However, the use of IoT in the supply chain comes with its concerns.
Since security challenges prevail in IoT adoption, they require innovative solutions and continuous development for any company to truly offer the benefits IoT can provide to supply chains everywhere.
For business owners, understanding these security issues and potential solutions is crucial to navigating modern supply chain challenges while trying to stay one step ahead of the competition. Here are ten things you should know about supply chain security:
1. There is No Single Definition of Supply Chain Security
Supply chain security is a massively broad area that includes everything from physical to cyber threats, from protecting systems to protecting transactions and mitigating risks from first to third-party relationships. That's why the supply chain industry requires a multifaceted, coordinated approach.
2. Why is Supply Chain Security Important?
Any breakdowns and risks to the integrity of the products or services delivered to your customers, the privacy of their data, and the transactions can have severe damaging financial, operational, and brand consequences. Ransomware attacks, data breaches, and other malicious activities from cyber attackers can happen at any tier of the supply chain.
3. Supply Chains are Becoming an Increasingly Complex Global Networks
Supply chains are becoming heavily complex global networks consisting of large and growing volumes of third-party partners who need access to their data and assurance they can control who sees that data. Both customers and employees ask for transparency and visibility into the services and products they support or buy. Every step adds an element of risk that needs to be managed and mitigated.
4. Cyber Attackers are Seeking Out Weak Points Along the Software Supply Chain
Nowadays, cyberattackers are hoping to gain access to their targets not just through a straightforward breach but through a vulnerability in an otherwise trusted piece of software. As a business owner, you are responsible for the security of the code that you're integrating from third-party software products and your in-house software.
5. Three Ways of Improving Software Supply Chain Security
- Establishing Baseline Security Standards - This includes identifying existing standards or developing new ones, developing best practices for meeting standards, and creating criteria that can be used to evaluate software security.
- Providing SBOM for 'Critical Software' - Provide buyers with a Software Bill of Materials (SBOM), a formal record with the details and supply chain relationships of the various components used in building software.
- IoT and Software Development Labeling Programs - This includes educating the public about the security capabilities of IoT devices and development practices.
- Request a Cybersecurity Assessment from all your suppliers - Buyers should make this step as part of their procurement policy. This should cover not only the suppliers' ISMS but also the evalutation of the ICT/IoT software robustness against recognized standards such as the ETSI EN 303 645.
6. Data Protection is Imperative
Data is at the heart of all business transactions and must be secured and controlled to prevent breach and tampering.
7. Data Locality is Crucial for Efficiency
Important data exists at all levels of the supply chain and must be located, classified, and protected.
8. Data Visibility and Governance is a Risk Factor
Business networks allow the exchange of data between organizations and allow multiple enterprises access to data so they can view it, share it and collaborate. Participating organizations seek control over the data and decide who to share it with and what every permitted party can see.
9. Fraud Prevention is of High Importance
In just one order-to-cash cycle, data can be exchanged numerous times, sometimes on paper and sometimes electronic. Whenever data is exchanged between parties is an opportunity for it to be tampered with.
10. Don't Forget the Third-Party Risk
Every day, products and services are becoming more sophisticated. As a result, supply chains often rely on multiple tiers of suppliers to deliver the goods. These external parties can expose your company to new risks based on your ability to manage your vulnerabilities properly.
Finallly, “The Supply Chain of Trust is knowing from where you’re sourcing software or hardware and understanding the security inside of whatever it is, you’re sourcing. It boils down to taking ownership for each layer of security.” In this globalized world, we know that “all our computerized systems are deeply international” and no single country produces a device, including all its components across the value chain. It is hence important to develop a skeptical posture towards third party component(s) that will find its way into your device, manufacturing processes, system(s) or network(s).