Supply-Side Hackonomics: Supply Chain Attacks and Data Security

Most people now know far more about supply chains than they ever wanted to. Still, anyone could forgive you for not knowing the term ‘supply chain hack’. Often, when the media reports these types of attacks, they name them and broadcast the name of the company that was targeted around the world.

That has helped fuel concerns around the growing number of highly visible and impactful breaches in recent years. At the same time, it is important to understand what a supply chain threat really is.

You might think your organization’s data is secure if you check certain boxes. Do you conduct plenty of cybersecurity training sessions with more than a 90% completion rate? Do you make sure no one clicks on suspicious links? Can you spot external threats quickly? These are important to do. 

With a supply chain attack, however, this approach falls short. In a supply chain attack, the hardware or software parts being sourced as a component of an app, service or other tool have been compromised. As an example, many recent attacks on high-profile companies or agencies began with the managed service providers with whom they partnered.

So, you now need to check and monitor the security of your business’ vendors and partners to minimize third-party risk. The stakes are too high to simply trust the supply chain vendors to be secure.

There are both external and internal solutions to this problem. The external solutions come from public officials and governing bodies. They may define stricter standards or nudge suppliers to embrace tighter security.

What about internal solutions? You might use data security tools that can detect strange activity and vulnerabilities in hardware and software.

Governing the Wild West

With increased supply chain attacks, ambivalence to proper security hygiene only compounds the risks. Organizations that practice good hygiene could still be at risk because they work with a vendor that does not.

Government agencies are beginning to take notice of this problem. The security programs at organizations that contract with agencies or work as part of critical infrastructure face increased scrutiny and regulation. In the past year, the United States, the European Union and other nations have introduced legislation and executive orders naming zero trust and cyber resilience as critical functions and frameworks to enhance cybersecurity worldwide. This legislation was largely in response to supply chain attacks, such as the SolarWinds breach.

Detect Vulnerabilities, Protect Data and Remediate Risks

What data security measures can you take to help meet the new standards and defend against a supply chain attack?

These regulations are multi-faceted. The goal of any attack is to steal sensitive information. So, it’s useful to focus on the data security components of these requirements.

Three stand out:

You must shore up several avenues to defend against a supply chain attack well. Data security is critical, but it is only one piece of a larger strategy. Many organizations are in the nascent stages of building effective data security programs, so consider all the different components of such a program if your goal is to mitigate the chance of a supply chain breach.

End-to-End Protection

Be sure to explore an end-to-end data security portfolio built to address the needs of modern organizations that want to build customers’ trust and deliver new technology solutions without worry.

Be sure you’re keeping an eye on the hybrid multicloud, spotting risks and vulnerabilities and protecting data wherever it resides. It’s important to integrate these capabilities with other security tools to remediate threats. Having an array of options helps defend your organization against supply chain attacks.

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