Cybersecurity Essentials for Supply Chain Logistics

  • June 20, 2024
  • Blog

Preserving Trust

Digital technology is transforming the world of supply chain logistics with streamlined operations, real-time visibility and live tracking, improving customer experience. However, the industry is not devoid of growing threats of cyberattacks like data breaches, ransomware attacks that can cripple the industry resulting in financial loss and other severe damages. For supply chain stakeholders, it’s not about safeguarding their own business, but it’s about securing the supply chain and most importantly preserving customers’ trust.

Cybersecurity Essentials for Supply Chain LogisticsHow important is cyber security in supply chain logistics?

In 2017, a global shipping conglomerate fell victim to a major cyberattack that distrusted its global operations and resulted in a financial loss of approx. $300 million. The incident was a wake-up call for the industry to strengthen cybersecurity measures with a comprehensive response plan.

Today, almost all of the supply chain logistics industry operates on an intricate network (cloud computing, IoT, etc.) involving multiple stakeholders. While technology improves operational efficiency and visibility, it also becomes the target for cybercriminals seeking valuable data as enormous amounts of information are exchanged between stakeholders.

Cybersecurity attacks trigger multiple challenges

  • Data breaches that encompass sensitive shipment details and client information
  • Ransomware attacks targeting logistics infrastructure and IT systems resulting in supply chain disruptions
  • Phishing attacks trap employees into providing unauthorised access or revealing sensitive info

With multiple risks involved, there are a plethora of measures to safeguard against potential cyber threats:

Identifying the area of exposure: Evaluate all the areas of operations for any vulnerabilities of cyberattacks. The area identified requires a thorough examination of weak points in information systems and operational technology systems.

Vulnerability assessment: Understanding the potential risk associated with and the impact of the cyberattack. This proactive approach helps identify and address potential weaknesses.

Refer to industry standards: Consider implementing established standards like ISO which provides guidelines for information security controls. Having security controls in place is beneficial and aligns with the company’s overarching objectives.

Comprehensive Threat Assessments: Perform thorough assessments to obtain insights into the evolving threat landscape. Understanding the possible cyberattack challenges can help in developing robust cybersecurity strategies.

Best practices to improve cybersecurity in shipping and logistics operations

Employee awareness: According to Kaspersky, around half of the cyberattacks are caused due to employee negligence. To avoid incurring this problem, regular training sessions should be organized to ensure employees understand and follow strict cybersecurity procedures.

Regular security audits: Conduct frequent audits to help identify vulnerabilities in the IT infrastructure. These audits should include vendors and partners to ensure that the entire supply chain follows the cyber security standards.

Robust incident response plan: Even with all the precautions, cybersecurity accidents may still occur. A well-defined incident response plan can minimize breaches and disruptions and ensure swift communication with internal and external team members to restore operations swiftly.

Data encryptions: Encrypting data ensures that data obtained by irregular means cannot be intercepted by unauthorised parties. This is important for the data that move across international borders.

Digital technology is revolutionizing supply chain logistics, cybersecurity cannot be an afterthought. Previous cyberattacks highlight the urgent need for comprehensive cybersecurity strategies. As cyber threats continue to evolve, proactive measures and best cybersecurity practices will be pivotal in safeguarding the future of supply chain logistics.