In the last 18 months, two high-profile supply chain cyber attacks have hit the headlines. First, the software company, SolarWinds, suffered a hack when attackers inserted malicious code into its software, allowing them to access thousands of customers’ data.
Then there was the Kaseya attack, a similar story where hackers compromised the IT provider’s software and laterally moved into its clients’ networks.
Supply chain breaches can damage companies of all sizes – across all sectors, and small and medium-sized businesses are especially vulnerable. Below, we’ll explain more about how supply chain attacks work – and how to protect your company.
What is a supply chain breach?
A supply chain breach refers to an event where cybercriminals can compromise the network or systems of one company – and then use this advantage point to gain access to the systems of the company’s clients and partners.
Typically, supply chain attacks target IT and software providers, who are likely to be digitally connected to a number of different companies, as was the case with SolarWinds and Kaseya.
Why are cyber criminals targeting supply chains?
From an attacker’s perspective, a supply chain attack is highly efficient. By compromising one company, they can get access to the data of many others.
Moreover, many large companies have become more focused on building robust security defenses. This makes them harder to breach directly. Consequently, hackers are looking for ‘weak links in the supply chain that they can exploit to reach high-value targets.
In line with this, research shows that almost 90% of IT professionals think supply chain attacks will become one of the biggest threats to business within the next three years.
Why SMBs need to be worried about supply chain attacks
Most SMBs won’t be the prime target of a supply chain attack. However, that doesn’t mean you can breathe a sigh of relief. The way supply chain attacks work mean that SMBs can get caught in the crossfire and become collateral damage in these broader attacks. In fact, an estimated two-thirds of data breaches are a result of supplier or third-party vulnerabilities.
The good news is that, just as supply chain attacks have increased, so too have supply chain security processes. With the right solutions and procedures in place, you can keep you, your customers and partners safe. Here’s how.
- Vet your suppliers: Do you know if your suppliers have good security protocols in place? Have they achieved certifications like ISO 27001? Do they have an incident response procedure, and what’s the process for informing clients of a breach? All of these are critical questions you should ask your suppliers to ensure that they’re at low risk from a supply chain attack. Having the technical know-how to demystify security requirements is essential. If you’re stuck, consider working with an IT consultant who can help you clarify the security of your supply chain.
- Use the principle of least privilege: In the same way that employees should only have access to the data and resources they need to do their job, your suppliers should only have access to the systems they need to provide their services. Having the principle of least privilege in place should prevent an attacker from using supplier accounts to cause damage to your systems.
- Bolster your defenses: There are lots of security solutions out there designed to help you spot signs of an attacker in your systems. There are also technologies like data loss prevention, which prevent unauthorized users from accessing your sensitive data. All of these things can help prevent a successful supply chain attack, but deploying many solutions can quickly drive up costs. To help you make sense of the solutions out there and find the best ones for your business, we advise working with a managed IT services provider like us. We can assess your network and manage your security for you, so that cyber-attacks are one less thing to worry about.
- Prepare for the worst: Even with the right security solutions in place, a sophisticated supply chain cyberattack could impact your company. To that end, you need to have a plan in place for the worst-case scenario. You’ll need to consider things like data backups, disaster recovery and the creation of an incident response plan. Again, we can help you with this, so get in touch.
Get a Security Assessment to Improve Your Security Posture
Unity IT can help your Fresno area business bolster your cyber security defenses, so you can reduce the likelihood of a successful supply chain security incident. We’ll do a full security assessment and let you know of any vulnerabilities in your network.
Contact us today to schedule a technology consultation at 559-297-1007 or reach out online.