The phrase “no man is an island” feels very fitting in the context of today’s supply chains. Today, no business is an island. Thanks to the proliferation of technology, companies increasingly rely on each other for products and services. Digitally, we are more connected than ever.
Think about your own business – you probably use a range of software vendors: antivirus providers, HR platforms, collaboration tools and more. While this is great for productivity and gives you access to new services, you could also be vulnerable if one of these suppliers becomes compromised by a malicious actor.
This is exactly what happened with the Kaseya ransomware attack last year. Kaseya, an IT software provider, was compromised by a cybercriminal group. Once in Kaseya’s network, the group moved laterally and compromised the networks of hundreds of Kaseya customers.
The attack is an example of what’s called a digital supply chain attack – an increasingly common phenomenon that all businesses must defend themselves against.
Why are cybercriminals targeting digital supply chains?
A successful supply chain cyber attack allows a cybercriminal to compromise multiple companies at once. This kind of attack is minimal effort, maximum reward. For example, suppose an attacker could execute malware like ransomware once inside a software vendor’s network. In that case, this ransomware could then be delivered to all of the vendor’s clients. The payout for the criminal would be huge!
Cybercriminals have recognized the monetary gains associated with a successful supply chain attack. As a consequence, these forms of attack are on the rise. According to one study, supply chain attacks grew by more than 300% in 2021.
To make matters worse, most businesses aren’t prepared for a supply chain attack. While many companies have started to improve their own defenses, they don’t check the security defenses of their partners and suppliers. In line with this, research indicates that a huge 97% of companies have been caught up in a cybersecurity breach because of a supply chain partner.
Why SMBs need to protect themselves against the supply chain security threat
Supply chain attacks are a huge risk for small and medium-sized businesses. Even if a cybercriminal doesn’t directly target them, they could end up being caught in the crossfire of a supply chain breach.
Moreover, while some larger organizations have the funding and internal expertise to quickly respond to a supply chain breach, many SMBs don’t. This means they’re more at risk of being crippled by a supply chain breach.
How to safeguard your company from digital supply chain risks
The good news is that with a few simple steps, you can dramatically improve your cyber defenses and reduce the likelihood of a supply chain breach impacting your company.
The first thing you should do is build a strategy for supplier risk management. You need to gain a deep understanding of who your partners are and who their partners are. You should also know exactly what part of your systems and what data your suppliers have access to.
From there, you can start to put in place safety measures to reduce the risks associated with your suppliers. This might involve asking your suppliers to complete security audits and modifying contracts so that security expectations are built-in.
The same approach should be taken when procuring any new suppliers. Security needs to be considered from the outset. Suppliers with strong security credentials – such as achieving standards like ISO 27001 – are your best bet.
You also need a plan should the worst-case scenario occur. Research shows that 64% of executives wouldn’t know who to turn to first if their software supply chain were attacked. Indecision and uncertainty amidst an attack can slow down recovery, so make sure you have an incident response plan in place.
As well as putting the onus on suppliers, you also need to assess your own security posture. If your company is vulnerable to security incidents, then you could be the weak link in the supply chain! To that end, we advise bolstering your defenses through a mixture of employee training combined with the right security solutions and policies.
If you’re unsure where to start with security, consider working with a managed security services provider like us. We can take charge of security for you from end-to-end, helping you bolster your security defenses so that cybercrime is one less thing you have to worry about.
We can even help you build an incident response plan and supplier risk management program, so you can feel confident in the strength of your digital supply chain.
Don’t let your digital supply chain be the reason for a security breach!
Supply chain security is a complex but urgent undertaking for organizations of all sizes. Carl’s Computer Care can help your Louisiana company bolster your supply chain resilience.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation! Call 225-315-3498 or reach us online.