The Importance of Network Security in Supply Chain Management

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Every industry and sector is responsible for taking cyber threats seriously, and there is no question that this applies in a supply chain management context.

Network security is a particular sticking point, as imperfections can be exploited with ease and will have knock-on consequences throughout the supply chain.

As with other aspects of this niche, any kind of disruption will have negative ramifications for all parties involved and can lead to everything from increased costs to irreparable reputational damage.

To reaffirm this idea, let’s go over some of the ways in which network security is important in supply chain management, and how it can be achieved.

There are many points of failure to encompass

One of the biggest reasons to take network security seriously in supply chain management is that networks themselves are not just vulnerable as a whole, but have potential weak points numbering in the hundreds or even thousands.

Wired and wireless access points, as well as the rise of IoT devices in supply chain scenarios, offer attackers so many prospective back doors into business systems. And as more and more of the industry is digitized and networked, this will only be exacerbated over time.

This can make supply chain management seem irredeemably doomed to being a security liability. However, there are ways to deal with this that are both effective and affordable.

For example, by working with third-party IT professionals, like those at USWIred IT support in San Diego, even smaller organizations can get the advice, guidance, the assistance they need, and can make their network resources far more resilient.

Likewise, many of the threats can be mitigated through careful planning. Choosing devices and solutions that are innately secure, rather than those that are not up to scratch, or avoiding reliance on legacy systems that may be vulnerable through their obsolescence, should be prioritized.

Remote assert access is inevitable

Another reality that supply chain management professionals must face when it comes to network security is that working with partner firms on projects inevitably leads to the need for remote network access to be granted.

This is all well and good in terms of the benefits it brings from a perspective of communication and collaboration. But as soon as you start introducing the possibility for outsiders to gain access to your IT assets, you are again throwing open the possibility for your best-laid security plans to be circumvented, whether accidentally or deliberately.

Thus managing access to your network and deciding who can and cannot leverage your in-house assets through this must be on the top of the agenda when it comes to security.

Furthermore, being clear about the security policies you have in place and insisting that partners adhere to them as a requirement of working within your supply chain ecology is crucial.

Any ambiguities or inconsistencies in how you tackle security will amplify the risks unnecessarily. And a reticence to meet your security expectations is a red flag in its own right.

Employee training is essential

Just as remote asset access needs to be carefully wrangled, so too you must explore the internal security vulnerabilities as part of your supply chain management efforts where your network is concerned.

Many breaches are down to in-house interference, and again this can be accidental but is also likely to be malicious in nature.

Rigorous training and providing employees with the right knowledge and tools should eliminate the former, while the latter has to be tackled with intrusion detection and a suite of other security solutions that deflect foul play.

This is not a battle you can win quickly, but an ongoing process of providing appropriate protection in supply chain management that should make your network resources resilient in the long term.