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May 10, 2019

Keeping Your Supply Chain Data Safe Online

It’s a common misconception that data hackers only target large companies with high turnovers and, therefore, your small supply chain business is unlikely to be affected. In reality, this is simply not the case. The statistics show that over two-thirds of data breaches target businesses with fewer than 100 employees. When you consider this alongside the fact that, on average, cyber attacks cost these companies around $36,000, the risks aren’t worth it. Supply chain businesses are particularly vulnerable to these kinds of attacks due to the fact that there are several parties involved, more instances of data transfer and, therefore, more opportunities for breaches.

Here are some key steps you can take to protect your small supply chain business from data theft.

Train Your Employees

Unfortunately, a lot of data breaches occur because an employee has made an error. For example, they may open a phishing email and download a dangerous attachment, click on Malvertising or accidentally share data with the wrong recipient. This is why it’s crucial that you educate your staff about cyber-crime, what to be alert to and how to manage data in line with your policies.

Check & Monitor 3rd Party Security Systems

Supply chain businesses need to take a proactive approach in ensuring the vendors and transporters they use also abide by high standards of data security. You can do this by requesting their policies and discussing their procedures, but this should be done on an on-going basis. It’s worth including your expectations in any legal agreement you have with them so that you can protect your business if there is a breach at another point in the supply chain.

Have a Secure, Multi-stage Password System

It’s no longer enough to rely on a single password to keep your systems secure. Your systems should be protected by multi-stage authentication including unique security codes being sent by text message or an app when you log in. In addition, rather than having lots of different access points for your data, it’s better to have a single access point for your data which you can monitor and manage what data customers and 3rd party vendors can access.

Bring in the Professionals

Cybercriminals target many small businesses because these organizations often don’t have the time, technical knowledge or resources. Of course, this is not necessarily true as there are some very simple ways to improve data security with minimal expense. Even if this is true, data security is a priority, and you should be investing in it as much as you can. There are professional cybersecurity products and services which can install and manage your cybersecurity system such as

Consider Cyber Insurance

Although every business believes or hopes that they won’t be a victim of cyber-crime, sometimes the worst does happen. When it does, you should have a financial safety net to cover you for at least some of your losses. Business insurance often will not cover cyber-criminal activity, but it is possible to take out specific cyber insurance. Premiums are usually based on an organization's industry, the type of services they provide, their data risks, security standards and policies and the annual gross revenue. To give a rough estimation, they can range from $800 to $1,200 annually for small organizations with revenues of $100,000-$500,000.

The big takeaway here is that looking after your business’ data and that of the whole supply chain is also looking after your customers. Customers need to be able to trust in your business, and if you expose their sensitive information to exploitation, or even have a reputation for doing so, you will lose that trust.

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