Safeguarding the Digital Fortress: Navigating Cybersecurity and Supply Chain Challenges – Part 1
In a previous post, I mentioned that supply chain attacks would be one of the possible cybersecurity trends to look out for in 2023. Given the ever-mounting of threats of cyberattacks to supply chains, Gartner reported that 44% of organizations indicated that they would substantially increase year-over-year spend on supply chain cybersecurity in 2023.
In the last week, there’ve been news reports of a ransomware attack on the Port of Nagoya in Tobishima, Japan’s largest port by total cargo throughput. Reports indicate that the attack had successfully prevented the port from receiving shipping containers for two days. The port is a significant hub for Toyota Motor Corporation, handling some of the company’s exports and imports.
Cybersecurity is not just about protecting your systems and data from cyberattacks. It is also about ensuring the security and integrity of the products and services you rely on from your suppliers, vendors, and partners. This is what cybersecurity supply chain risk management (C-SCRM) is all about.
This post is the first part of a 2-part series wherein we’ll explore the challenges, risks, and threats that cybersecurity and supply chain pose to organizations and how these could be effectively mitigated against. We’ll also discuss how data protection, cyber resilience, third-party risks, cybersecurity governance, and a few other factors play into this complex and critical relationship.
Finally, we’ll provide some best practices and recommendations for improving cybersecurity and supply chain management in this ever-evolving digital era, drawing on relevant guidance and regulations such as the NCSC Supply Chain Security Guidance, the NIST CSCRM Guidance, and the EU Supply Chain Due Diligence Directive.
What’s Cybersecurity Supply Chain Risk Management?
According to NIST, C-SCRM could be described as “the process of managing the cybersecurity risks that may affect the supply chain and its products and services. It involves identifying, assessing, monitoring, and responding to these risks (whether intentional or inadvertent) at all levels of an organization and its external partners. C-SCRM aims to ensure the integrity, security, quality, and resilience of the supply chain and its cybersecurity-related elements.”
C-SCRM covers the entire lifecycle of a system (including design, development, distribution, deployment, acquisition, maintenance, and destruction) and the extended circle of vendors that may use services or products from other vendors. It also covers the physical and software security of the purchased devices and programs.
Some of the factors that make the supply chain vulnerable to cyberattacks include:
The use of multiple components from various sources may have different levels of security or quality assurance.
The reliance on third-party service providers for cloud services, web applications, online stores, management software, etc.
The lack of visibility or control over the security practices of suppliers or subcontractors.
The exposure to geopolitical or regulatory risks that may affect the availability or integrity of products or services.
The possibility of insertion of counterfeits, unauthorized production, tampering, theft, insertion of malicious software or hardware, or poor manufacturing or development practices in the supply chain.
These factors can result in risks such as:
Compromise of confidential or sensitive data or intellectual property.
Loss of functionality or availability of critical systems or services.
Damage to your organization’s reputation or the trust of customers or stakeholders.
Legal liability or regulatory non-compliance.
Financial losses or operational disruptions.
How to Mitigate C-SCRM Risks?
Mitigating C-SCRM risks requires a holistic and proactive approach that involves collaboration among all parties in the supply chain. Some effective mitigating measures against cybersecurity supply chain risks include:
Establishing a C-SCRM strategy that aligns with the organization’s business objectives, risk appetite, and cybersecurity posture.
Developing a C-SCRM policy that defines roles and responsibilities, processes and procedures, standards and guidelines, metrics and reporting for managing C-SCRM risks.
Conducting a C-SCRM assessment that identifies and prioritizes the critical assets, suppliers, processes, and dependencies in the supply chain and evaluates their cybersecurity risks.
Implementing C-SCRM controls that address the identified risks through preventive, detective, corrective, or compensating measures. These may include contractual clauses, security requirements, audits, testing, monitoring, incident response, contingency planning, etc.
Monitoring C-SCRM performance that tracks and measures the effectiveness of C-SCRM controls and provides feedback for improvement.
Reviewing C-SCRM practices that periodically evaluate the relevance, adequacy, and efficiency of C-SCRM strategy, policy, assessment, controls, and performance and update them as needed.
While organizations say they are aware of the risks, most admit that they aren’t making supply chain security a priority.
As we conclude the first part of this exploration of cybersecurity and supply chain challenges, it’s clear that the digital fortress demands our utmost attention. Cybersecurity in the supply chain isn’t an IT problem only. Cybersecurity supply chain risks touch pretty much all facets of business operations including sourcing, vendor management, supply chain continuity and quality, transportation security and many other functions across the enterprise.
In the second part of the series, we’ll explore a few other factors that play into this complex yet critical relationship, including data protection, cyber resilience, third-party risks, cybersecurity governance, and leadership.
Hasta que nos encontremos de nuevo; take care, see you around soon.