Digital supply chain risk management focuses on the security risks and vulnerabilities in all the components of the digital supply chain. As organizations deploy more and more services and applications online the greater the likelihood that they’ve incorporated code, data, or other functionality from a third-party into that application. The challenge is identifying the risk those third parties represent for your organization, including potential financial or reputation damages if a breach should occur.

What Is Supply Chain Risk Management?

Your organization likely leverages a significant portion of third-party components within its services, applications, and other internet-facing properties. Digital supply chain risk management recognizes critical vulnerabilities may exist anywhere within that external attack surface.

This risk continues to grow as companies connect to more third-party assets in order to adapt to a digital world. As this supply chain grows the business is exposed to an increasing amount of risk.

Implementing Supply Chain Risk Management

The National Institute of Standards and Technology provides guidance on compliance for government agencies, which can be helpful for private organizations seeking out best practices in security. These are just a few ways they suggest companies implement cybersecurity risk management.


Identify Critical Systems

The first step in securing the digital supply chain is determining which systems will have the highest impact if compromised. Whether that’s a payment portal or the research files for product development, start by protecting those.

In addition to your own systems, consider external parties – third-party vendor platforms, bring-your-own-devices, social media accounts – to assess their risk and have a long-term management plan.


Assume Attackers Will Breach Your System

When a security team develops their supply chain risk management plan, they should assume attackers will breach the system. With that in mind, they need to ask questions like, what information would be compromised? How far will they get into the system? Who would be targeted for a spear phishing campaign? Which tools are easy targets?

Determine what data or operations the attackers would go after and make those a priority. This includes data and operations that are stored with or conducted by third parties within your digital supply chain.


Require Employees To Use Cybersecurity Best Practices

Many digital supply chain risks come through unintentional vulnerabilities or human error. Even if the user genuinely believed they responded to their director instead of a phishing email, they still place the company at risk.

When attackers access social media accounts through brute force attacks or credential theft, these poor password policies result in reputational damage.

Your IT team can only secure critical information and intellectual property if employees habitually make their own effort towards better cybersecurity.


Vendors Meet Specific Security Requirements

When a new vendor signs on with your organization, organizations should dictate security requirements in the proposal and final contract. When vendors know you have strict security practices, they will better secure their own technology. Some advisors even suggest contractual language that applies beyond the third-party vendors onto the nth-party to protect organizations from liability in case of a breach.

Government agencies and large information security teams may choose to work on-site with the vendor to ensure the proper security is in place for business.

Run Continual Vulnerability Scans

The initial contract and onboarding cannot be the only time the security team audits their vendors. Whether they choose to move their database or communications platform, your organization needs to know about it.

With continual vulnerability scans from Cyberpion, you’ll be alerted to changes in the external attack surface of your vendors (and your vendors’ vendors). Then you can ensure nothing violates your security protocols.


Automate Testing And Resolution

Some vulnerabilities need action immediately. For example, malicious actors use abandoned subdomains to run phishing campaigns against unsuspecting customers, building on the trust of your domain name, even though you don’t operate that portion of the site anymore. Cyberpion automates the process for abandoned subdomains, so your security team doesn’t worry about missing a critical vulnerability.

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