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5 Steps to Improved Supply Chain Security

April 25, 2024
Managing third-party risk plays a key role in keeping global supply chains secure.

Reprinted from WIN SOURCE

As the number of reported supply chain cybersecurity incidents continues to climb, companies are taking a closer look at their networks, identifying the security gaps and taking steps to eliminate those vulnerabilities. With 91% of North American organizations experiencing some type of software supply chain attack over the last 12 months, the race is on to secure these vital networks from increasingly sophisticated “bad actors.”

Electronics buyers are well positioned to help their organizations detect, address and/or mitigate cyberattacks on their supply chains. By managing third-party risk, for example, procurement professionals can ensure that the suppliers they transact with have their own cybersecurity houses in order. And if they don’t, then buyers can look elsewhere for their components, parts, equipment and supplies.

“Electronics buyers should diligently consider third-party risk management because the third parties within the supply chain directly impact the stability and reliability of business operations,” global electronics component supplier WIN SOURCE recommends.

“These third parties may handle sensitive information such as intellectual property and customer data,” the company continues. “In the event of security vulnerabilities or improper handling, this could lead to information leaks or data breaches, resulting in significant financial and reputational losses for the buyer.”

5 Steps to Improved Cybersecurity

Actively managing third-party risks is a critical measure to ensure business continuity and reliability. This requires buyers to view supply chain and third-party risk management as central to their strategic planning. Some key steps in the right direction include establishing transparent relationships with suppliers, leveraging advanced technological tools for real-time risk monitoring and integrating risk management measures into supply chain strategies.

Through these approaches, electronics buyers can not only defend against cyberthreats, but also enhance the sustainability and competitive edge of their business. Here are five more strategies that buyers can use to both prevent supply chain disruptions and respond quickly when disruptions occur:

  1. Conduct a detailed supply chain analysis. Manage and review the performance and dependencies of multiple suppliers, employing tools such as real-time risk identification to monitor and evaluate every link in the supply chain continuously. This enhances visibility and preventive capabilities against potential operational risks.
  2. Establish transparent, collaborative relationships with suppliers. Develop open and transparent relationships with those suppliers, sharing information, risk assessments, and response plans to quickly identify and address potential security issues. “Collaborating with authorized distributors who prioritize security is crucial for electronics buyers, greatly safeguarding the security and resilience of the supply chain,” WIN SOURCE says. “Such partnerships primarily ensure the quality and reliability of products, reducing the impact of malicious software, phishing and other cyberthreats.”
  3. Invest in risk management. By investing in the right personnel, processes and technology, companies can reduce the costs associated with supply chain disruptions and better protect against cyber and operational risks. Doing so will also help improve the efficiency and satisfaction of the security team.
  4. Use advanced technology to your advantage. By adopting artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and the Internet of Things (IoT), electronics buyers can monitor supply chain risks in real time, and then quickly predict and respond to potential security threats. Make sure your suppliers are also leveraging these technologies. “At WIN SOURCE, we continuously integrate these innovative technologies into our business models and organizational transformations, driving digital transformation,” the company says. “Our smart systems significantly enhance our operational efficiency and service quality, ensuring clients gain substantial business value from our solutions.”
  5. Get employees involved with supply chain security. By improving employees’' awareness and skills regarding supply chain security, procurement departments can ensure the stability and security of their supply chains, thereby safeguarding their continuous operations and competitive position in the market.  

The supply chain security challenges faced by electronics buyers are multifaceted, requiring cooperation with experienced and reputable distributors, proactive risk management measures, the use of the latest technology tools, and the cultivation of a strong security culture to ensure the resilience and security of their supply chains. Using the strategies outlined in this article, buyers can not only protect themselves from cybersecurity threats but also maintain a competitive edge in the fiercely competitive market.

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