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5 Ways to Defend Against Supply Chain Cyberattacks

Supply chain attacks have been making lots of news recently. What steps can organizations take to defend themselves?

October 21, 2021
5 Ways to Defend Against Supply Chain Cyberattacks

Here are five ways that organizations can defend against supply chain cyberattacks

As cybercrime rises, businesses need to erect defenses against attacks in all their operations. Supply chains are particularly vulnerable, with cyberattacks against them increasing 42% in Q1 2021, affecting 7 million people’s data.

Supply chains make ideal targets for cybercriminals since they hold sensitive data, often have large attack surfaces and are mostly unprotected. As such, they should be a focus for businesses’ cybersecurity efforts.

1. Vet Third Parties:

One of supply chains’ largest vulnerabilities is their multiple connections to third parties. A data breach on a vendor could spread into a supply chain, so a partner’s weaknesses are functionally their weaknesses, too. Businesses can help mitigate these risks by thoroughly vetting all third parties and holding them to high cybersecurity standards.

If businesses have trouble finding information about a third party, it could be a sign of fraud , so it should be avoided. After determining that a potential partner is legitimate, companies should ask for proof of their cybersecurity measures. Looking for certifications and breach history will help determine whether or not they’re a safe partner.

2. Restrict Access Permissions:

Breaches can still come from trusted sources. Careless user behavior, insider threats and sophisticated scams can break through cybersecurity defenses, so supply chains should restrict their access permissions. Any user, program or device should only have access to the data and systems they need to perform properly.

Loose access restrictions may be more convenient, but they expand what a cyberattack can do. If one user or device can access most of the network’s data, an attack on a seemingly harmless target could affect the entire network. Restricting every party’s access limits how destructive an attack can be.

3. Secure IoT Devices:

Many supply chains use Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to gather data about available inventory , shipment location and more. These devices are also notoriously vulnerable, often featuring minimal built-in security and serving as gateways to other machines with more sensitive data. Businesses must secure these endpoints to keep their supply chains safe.

The first step in IoT security is hosting these devices on separate networks from mission-critical data and systems. Next, businesses should ensure they encrypt all IoT communications and require passwords to access them. If any devices automatically connect to other endpoints by default, companies should turn this setting off.

4. Monitor Network Activity:

Supply chain cyberattacks can sometimes slip past a company’s defenses without them realizing it. If their networks are segmented and access permissions restricted, they’ll have more time to address these intrusions, but they need to find them first. As such, continuous network monitoring is crucial.

Companies should analyze how users and devices access data on supply chain networks, watching for unusual activity. If anything out of the ordinary occurs, they should restrict the area in question and investigate it further. Most businesses don’t have the resources for continuous manual monitoring, but plenty of automated solutions are available. .

5. Train Employees:

No matter how advanced a supply chain’s technical security measures are, user error can still jeopardize it. Studies have found that human mistakes contributed to 95% of data breaches , so employee training is essential. All supply chain employees should receive regular training on basic cyber hygiene to prevent these errors.

One of the most crucial aspects of this training is how to spot phishing attempts, as these are some of the most common threats. Employees should also understand the need for strong, varied passwords. Since breaches can come from anywhere, all workers should know their role in cybersecurity.

Keep the Supply Chain Safe

Supply chains are a favorite target of cybercriminals, but companies can defend against them. By following these steps, businesses can keep their supply chains safe from rising cyberthreats.

Cybercrime is a dynamic field, so companies should regularly revisit their security to ensure it’s still sufficient. Businesses can keep their supply chains running smoothly by prioritizing cybersecurity.


The weakest link in the supply chain is your partners, vendors, suppliers, and 3rd party contractors. Sensitive data is often shared with these 3rd party vendors and suppliers as part of the day-to-day process chain.

There is always a high risk of this sensitive data being stolen or misused knowingly or unknowingly by your trusted partners.

SECUDE’s HALOCORE® scans all data coming out of SAP, classifies it based on user role and authorization levels, and protects documents with strong encryption. When integrated with the Microsoft Information Protection (MIP) , HALOCORE® reads the metadata tied to the document and applies the appropriate security labels so the data is used or shared to the extent allowed by MIP.

Similarly, SECUDE’s HALOCAD® extends the security templates provided by Microsoft Information Protection (MIP) to the complete lifecycle of CAD documents. The protections continue, regardless of where the file goes, ensuring protection across the complete lifecycle.

With HALOCORE® and HALOCAD®, organizations who depend on the protections of enterprise digital rights management (EDRM) provided by Microsoft Information Security (MIP), can share data knowing it will be protected.

To learn more about how to protect your sensitive SAP and CAD data when collaborating with partners, vendors, suppliers and contractors beyond the corporate network, write to contact@secude.com or to request a DEMO, visit https://secude.com/contact

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