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How well do you know your supply chain risks?

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Risk Management

How well do you know your supply chain risks?

Every organisation, regardless of its size or industry, relies on a complex chain of suppliers, partners, and service providers to keep everything running smoothly. Collectively, this is known as your supply chain. While vital for business success, the supply chain also brings risks that businesses need to be aware of. 

With an estimated 2,200 cyber attacks happening every day, protecting your supply chain is essential to prevent data breaches, which can result in financial penalties, lawsuits, and reputational damage. Shockingly, security incidents affected 45% of businesses last year in relation to third parties, that’s up from 21% in 2021. This underscores the urgency for businesses to put stronger steps in place to truly safeguard their supply chain. 

Below, Jada Darkwah unveils the key strategies for enhancing your supply chain cybersecurity, including how to effectively onboard vendors, fostering transparency with third parties, and ensuring overall cyber safety across your business ecosystem. 

How to Recognise your Supply Chain Risks

Before delving into the details of your supply chain, it’s important to acknowledge the potential risks. A vendor risk breach has the potential to expose sensitive data, compromise cybersecurity defences, and erode the trust between businesses, leading to financial losses, legal repercussions and a tarnished reputation. 

Your supply chain is a dynamic ecosystem, involving a variety of vendors and third-party partners, who handle your data and resources. By gaining a deeper understanding of these risks, you can better prepare to mitigate them.

Vendor Onboarding

Effective cybersecurity begins with selecting the right vendors and partners. When onboarding new vendors, consider the following tips:

  • Perform Due Diligence: Before signing any contracts, thoroughly vet potential vendors. Check their track record, reputation and understand their own cybersecurity practices. What is their history with data breaches or security incidents?
  • Cybersecurity Requirements: Clearly define your cybersecurity requirements in vendor agreements. Specify the security measures vendors should have in place to protect your data and assets. 
  • Access Control: Limit access to your systems and data to only those who need it. Ensure that vendors follow strict access control policies to reduce the risk of data breaches. 

Knowing your supply chain from the get-go is crucial for building a resilient foundation, as it enables proactive risk management, ensures operational transparency, and lays the groundwork for sustainable business growth. If you already have an existing supply chain, but have not yet implemented an effective risk management tool, our Vendor Risk Management solution allows you monitor, plan and prioritise all your suppliers based on their risk severity in all one place. 

Establish Transparency

Your vendors may, in turn, rely on their own network of third parties. To ensure a well-rounded approach to supply chain security, establish transparency regarding these third parties. By knowing who your vendors are partnered with, you gain insight into potential vulnerabilities that might otherwise remain hidden in the supply chain shadows: 

  • Subcontractor Accountability: Require your vendors to disclose the third parties they engage with. This transparency helps you understand the complete scope of your supply chain and identify potential weak links. 
  • Audit Third Parties: Don’t just take your vendors at their word. Periodically audit the cybersecurity practices of third parties to ensure they meet your standards. 
  • Extend Cybersecurity Requirements: Enforce your cybersecurity requirements not only on your vendors but also on their third-party connections. This creates a robust, secure network throughout your supply chain.

Continuous Monitoring

Cyber threats evolve rapidly, so cybersecurity in your supply chain should be an ongoing process:

  • Regular Assessments: Periodically access the cybersecurity practices of your vendors and third parties. Look for vulnerabilities, compliance issues, and potential risks.
  • Incident Response Plans: Collaborate with your vendors and third parties to develop comprehensive incident response plans. Be ready to act swiftly in the event of a security breach. 
  • Real-time Monitoring: Implement tools and systems for real-time monitoring of your supply chain. This proactive approach helps identify and address vulnerabilities before they turn into major security incidents. 

No matter the size of your business, every organisation has a supply chain of some degree. Which means we are all at risk. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ a breach occurs but ‘when’ a breach occurs, with the impact having serious consequences not only for businesses but also for business owners. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of the risks in your supply chain so that you can proactively protect your sensitive information and mitigate potential risks. 

When a breach happens across one entity, it can have a domino effect on all your other vendors. By recognising the risks, carefully onboarding vendors, establishing transparency, and implementing continuous monitoring like a vendor risk management solution, you can significantly enhance your supply chain’s cybersecurity. 

Speak to our team today to find out how C2 can help you implement an effective risk management solution for your business.

About C2

C2 is a UK risk management scaleup on a mission to help businesses survive and thrive in the digital economy. C2 helps organisations manage security and compliance in a way that’s unique to their business and that does more than simply ticking off digital checkboxes. C2’s industry-leading platform supports the public and private sectors in managing their threat landscape and improving vendor controls, project, privacy, and ESG risks.