Keeping Your Digital Supply Chain Secure

Keeping Your Digital Supply Chain Secure

Organizations that are most protected from cyberattacks are ones that understand what threats exist in the first place. This means having a good understanding of their entire supply chain as well as the data they are responsible for and where it is stored.

1. Understand the biggest threats to the digital supply chain, what data you host and where it is. While having a goal of protecting against all types of cyberattacks is a nice sentiment, homing in on your crown jewels and the biggest threats—such as phishing attempts and ransomware—will guide more targeted and effective security strategies.

2. Know the rules. Understanding what regulations and security frameworks you need to comply with provides insight to what you need to manage and secure your digital supply chain.

3. Formalize your security program. Defining and formalizing your security program will not only help you demonstrate your compliance to customers and other stakeholders, but it also allows you to apply the same expectations to your vendors and business partners. As an organization, you are responsible for the security of your and your customer’s data even if it is hosted by a third party. You are responsible for evaluating and assessing the security of your data across your digital supply chain.

4. Be mindful of the data you store. Holding on to gigabytes of data is no longer an option and it increases your risks significantly. In fact, the more unnecessary data stored, the more susceptible the supply chain is—and the more costly the cyberattack. Work with your business partners to understand the type of data they need and make sure that it is disposed of securely when it is no longer needed.

5. Instill a security-first culture. Cybersecurity should be a concern to every member of the organization. Offering regular training for employees and facilitating conversations around digital supply chain security are great ways to start fostering a security-first culture.

6. USE multi-factor authentication. Compliance shows why and how an organization can protect itself, and the security tools and technology implemented are your first line of defense against cybercriminals. Make sure that multi-factor authentication (MFA) is turned on everywhere. As the supply chain and data increases, so too should the security measures.

7. Patch and back up your systems. Patch management is the process of distributing and applying updates to your software. Ask about patching requirements for your vendors as well as your systems and don’t forget to backup your data and ask the same question to your vendors.

8. Implement zero-trust security. In a zero-trust approach, an organization doesn’t trust any users or networks from inside or outside the organization. Security initiatives can sometimes be painful to implement, but zero-trust alleviates many of these issues by creating awareness and more ownership for end users. From a practical standpoint, implementing biometric authentication or multi-factor authentication for all users is a key step to begin creating a zero-trust environment.

9. Block unsafe websites & services. Helping users stay safe on the web is another way to avoid malicious actors. Although whitelisting applications and services is ideal, for a quicker win, blacklist certain applications and block unsafe websites and services on any computer or device with access to sensitive data.

10. Have a data breach response plan in place. Hackers are increasingly sophisticated and relentless in their efforts – no network is entirely cyber-secure. Developing a response plan is essential so everyone is aware of the steps to take if a breach occurs, including notifying appropriate parties, talking to the media, fixing vulnerabilities and preventing additional data loss.

SOURCE: Jose Costa, CISO, Tugboat Logic by OneTrust