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Cyber Resilience in Practice: The importance of strengthening supply chains against threats

With changes on the horizon impacting the way businesses worldwide navigate cyber security, Rajeev Panicker, Business Head – Cyber Security & Privacy Services India & Middle East at DNV, sheds light on the evolving cyber security and resilience landscape.

The backbone of any business lies in its supply chain, serving as the crucial link between suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and customers. However, it is also a prime target for cyberattacks, where vulnerabilities can be exploited, potentially compromising the entire network. To safeguard against such threats, businesses must prioritize cyber security and cyber resilienceensuring the integrity, availability, and confidentiality of the supply chain data and operations. 


How different industries face different cyber risks and challenges. 

For any organization, the right approach for cyber security and cyber resilience of its supply chain depends on understanding the how supply chains differ across industries.  

Different industries have different supply chain characteristics, such as the number and diversity of suppliers, the complexity and interdependency of processes, the sensitivity and value of data, and the regulatory and compliance requirements. These factors affect the level and nature of cyber risks and challenges that each industry faces, and the corresponding cyber security and cyber resilience strategies and solutions that they need to adopt. 

Healthcare: The healthcare industry operates within a complex and fragmented supply chain, involving multiple stakeholders, such as hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, laboratories, medical device manufacturers, and health insurance companies. The supply chain oversees sensitive and personal data, such as patient records, prescriptions, test results, and billing information, as well as critical and life-saving equipment, such as ventilators, pacemakers, and insulin pumps. The healthcare industry is highly regulated and must comply with standards, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  

This industry faces cyber threats, such as data theft, ransomware, identity fraud, and device tampering, which can compromise patient safety, privacy, and trust, as well as disrupt the delivery of care and services. Robust cyber security and cyber resilience measures, including encryption, authentication, backup, recovery, and incident response protocols are essential to protect patient privacy, ensure data integrity and maintain service continuity.  

Manufacturing: Similarly, the manufacturing industry operates within a global and interconnected supply chain, involving multiple suppliers, factories, warehouses, and distributors. It leverages technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and cloud computing, to optimize the production, inventory, and logistics processes. This industry faces a substantial number of cyber threats, such as espionage, sabotage, and intellectual property theft, which can compromise the quality, efficiency, and competitiveness of the products and services. The manufacturing industry needs to implement comprehensive cyber security and cyber resilience measures, such as network segmentation, firewall, antivirus, patch management, and contingency planning, to protect the supply chain from cyberattacks and ensure the continuity of operations.  

Retail: In the retail industry, with its dynamic and customer-centric supply chain, the focus is on securing  large volumes of data, such as customer preferences, purchase history, payment information, and loyalty programs, as well as physical goods, such as clothing, electronics, and groceries. The retail industry faces cyber threats, such as fraud, phishing, and data breaches, which can compromise the security, privacy, and reputation of the customers and the retailers, as well as disrupt the sales and delivery of goods and services.  

Critical Infrastructure: Finally, critical infrastructure like energy and transportation plays a pivotal role in society and the economy, making them prime targets for cyber threats like sabotage, disruption and extortion which can compromise the safety, reliability, and availability of the services and functions, as well as cause severe physical and financial damage. Implementing rigorous cyber security measures, risk assessments, and crisis management plans are crucial to safeguarding critical services and functions against cyberattacks.  


Why independent verification of the supply chain is critical for resilience  

Independent supply chain verification is the process of assessing and validating the security and resilience of the supply chain by a third-party auditor or certifier, who is not involved in the supply chain operations or transactions.  

Independent supply chain verification plays a critical role in enhancing the resilience of supply chains, by  

  • Identifying and addressing the gaps and weaknesses in supply chain security and resilience and providing recommendations and best practices to improve them. 
  • Increasing the confidence and trust of supply chain partners and customers, by demonstrating that the supply chain can meet security and resilience standards and expectations. 
  • Reducing the risks and costs of cyberattacks and incidents, by ensuring the compliance and alignment of the supply chain with the relevant regulations and requirements. 
  • Enhancing the reputation and competitiveness of the supply chain, by highlighting the quality and performance of the supply chain in the market. 

Independent verification of supply chains can be conducted at various levels and stages using methods like audits, tests, and certifications. Standards such as ISO 28000, NIST Cyber security Framework, and Cyber Resilience Review guide this process. Today, cyber security is crucial for a business’s survival. Tailoring strategies to industry-specific risks is key. By conducting independent verification of supply chains, businesses can enhance security, build trust, and gain a competitive edge.  

DNV's experience and expertise in cyber security, means that we can support you in maintaining the resilience and security of your supply chain. Contact us to find out more.  

4/2/2024 7:37:00 PM

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Rajeev Girija Somasekhara Panicker

Rajeev Girija Somasekhara Panicker

Business Head- Cybersecurity & Privacy Services, SCPA IMEA