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Quick Chat: 5 Cybersecurity Tips for Procurement Teams

Dec. 11, 2023
In the ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape of today, maintaining vigilance and updating security strategies is of paramount importance. Here are five recommendations to procurement teams that want to enhance their cybersecurity efforts.

A cyberattack happens every 39 seconds, and 4.1 million websites are plagued by malware at any given time. It takes about 49 days for an organization to identify and address a ransomware attack—a reality that’s driving 66% of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) to make bigger investments in cybersecurity.


These are just some of the statistics that kept organizational leaders and executives up at night in 2023. And with the typical global data breach now costing $4.35 million, more organizations are looking for new ways to proactively avoid cyberthreats and quickly identify and mitigate them. 


As the acceleration of enterprise digital transformation and the widespread adoption of new technologies such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) take center stage, the issue of cybersecurity is gaining increasing attention. Particularly with the frequent occurrence of third-party data breaches on a global scale, businesses and relevant organizations face significant losses and risks, prompting widespread concern about such incidents.


The good news is that procurement teams can help thwart the bad actors.


As a pivotal aspect of enterprise supply chain management, procurement departments handle a substantial amount of sensitive information. This includes supplier details, contract specifics, financial data and other information containing valuable trade secrets. 


The leakage of such data could result in commercial losses and damage to the company’s reputation. Furthermore, the more serious consequence would be the acquisition of critical information by competitors, undermining the company’s competitive edge.


Here are five recommendations to procurement teams that want to enhance their cybersecurity efforts: 


1. Define the Scope of Sensitive Data


Conduct a comprehensive inventory of all assets, including endpoint assets, business assets and data assets. This groundwork sets the stage for further analysis of sensitive data and monitoring the risk of leaks. It’s crucial to clearly define the protection scope, not only within the procurement department, but also in other business units that are responsible for safeguarding customer information data.


2. Encrypt Exchange Data to Deter Prying Eyes


Seek to deploy intelligent network security systems that leverage data encryption software to encrypt files on employees’ computers. This ensures that data files can only be reasonably used within the corporate environment. Any unauthorized copying of crucial files renders them unreadable, displaying as scrambled text. 


3. Leverage User Behavior Analysis for Proactive Prevention


Procurement teams can use operational logs to prevent data leaks and hold individuals accountable afterward. Through comprehensive risk analysis of these logs, high-frequency risk behaviors can be rapidly identified. When risks exceed predefined thresholds, the system should issue automatic warnings, enabling administrators to promptly address risk incidents.


4. Conduct Regular Training


Conducting data security training for members of the procurement team is essential to enhance their awareness of data protection. Training content may include best security practices, risk awareness and protocols for handling sensitive information. Frequent departmental security awareness training sessions can prove effective in protecting the company’s and its customers’ information.


5. Issue Regular Updates to Security Policies and Systems


As technology continually evolves, data-related security vulnerabilities will persist. This is why it’s so important to periodically review and update security policies. Hackers and attackers are using artificial intelligence, neural networks and complex computer grid topologies to find and exploit potential vulnerabilities. This is why it’s crucial to regularly update systems and corresponding response strategies.


These five strategies can be integrated to form a comprehensive security system, thus enhancing your team’s—and your organization’s—ability to defend itself against potential threats.

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About the Author

Tyler Fussner | Managing Editor - Community Manager | Supply Chain Connect

Tyler Fussner is Managing Editor - Community Manager at Supply Chain Connect, part of the Design & Engineering Group at Endeavor Business Media.

Previously, Fussner served as the Associate Editor for Fleet Maintenance magazine. As part of Endeavor's Commercial Vehicle Group, his work has been published in FleetOwner magazine, as well as Bulk TransporterRefrigerated Transporter, and Trailer-Body Builders.

Fussner's May 2022 print feature 'The dawn of hydrogen trucks' was named the best single technology article in B2B by the judges of the 2022 Folio: Eddie and Ozzie Awards. Fussner was also awarded Silver in the Technical Article category for the Trade Association Business Publications International (TABPI) 2021 Tabbie Awards.

Fussner previously served as Assistant Editor for Endeavor's Transportation Group on the PTEN, Professional Distributor, and brands.

Fussner studied professional writing and publishing at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He has experience in shop operations, is a Michelin Certified Tire Technician, and a Michelin Certified Tire Salesperson.