Securing the links in your supply chain to prevent cyber attacks

Cyber attacks happen virtually every day, and the impacts data breaches can have on SMEs can be catastrophic. Falling foul of GDPR legislation  can result in fines, loss of trust in your company and ultimately loss of revenue – so it pays to be compliant. 

However, what about the other organisations in your supply chain? Do they require access to your data or systems? Could your security become compromised as a result? While you might have the right cyber essentials in place, can you say the same about your suppliers? These are just a handful of questions all company decision-makers should be asking. 

Supply chain attacks: a history 

Supply chain attacks are nothing new. In fact, one of the largest data breaches in history (when the US-based retailer Target had the credit/debit card information of up to 40 million customers stolen) happened when the firm’s POS system had been infiltrated via malware that came via a supplier. In 2013, attackers used the “trusted” connection between the supplier and Target’s system to gain easy access. 

Putting appropriate controls in place 

All SMEs should understand the risks suppliers may pose and should ensure the supply chain is subject to the appropriate security controls. A good starting point would be to request all suppliers show evidence of having attained “Cyber Essentials” certification – the UK’s recommended security standard. However, this might even be insufficient for high-risk suppliers, who need to go one further and get “Cyber Essentials Plus” accredited.

Mitigating against risk 

As a company, you need to decide which controls you insist upon your suppliers having before you decide to continue doing business with them. If suppliers are unwilling or otherwise unable to comply with these requests, you need to consider whether you can put procedures in place to protect your data that allow you to continue forging a working relationship with them. 

Cybersecurity is one of the biggest threats faced by SMEs in the UK today, and its impacts on every entity within a supply chain, from top to bottom, are far-reaching. It’s therefore imperative for all elements of the supply chain to work together to maintain the strictest possible security measures. 

Find out more 

If you’d like to know more about Cyber Essentials certification or are concerned that your business might not be adequately protected against supply chain cyber-attacks, why not contact Cybersmart today? A member of our team will be happy to discuss your requirements or arrange a security audit of your current systems.