While today’s businesses have never been more connected, the changing supply chain and B2B landscape means that there are growing security risks and concerns for organizations all over the world. Buyers are starting to mitigate third-party supplier risk by vetting potential suppliers more thoroughly, and diving into their financial health, among other factors.
How can you make your business stand out from the crowd? As the old phrase from Benjamin Franklin goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In cyber security and third-party risk management, the upfront cost of time and money invested in keeping your company and your customers’ confidential information safe can be crucial to saving your team from legal, reputational and financial headaches down the road.
No Company Is Too Small to Be Hacked
Businesses must stay vigilant to protect sensitive and proprietary information, especially in an evolving world where hackers have started to target small and mid-sized businesses throughout a supply chain. These companies might not have the proper resources to fight off cyber security threats, and have become increasingly vulnerable to hackers trying to get company assets—customer data, trade secrets, bank account information and other valuable data required to do business. Businesses are sometimes so focused on growth, they forget about the importance of internal control and infrastructure.
Large companies have often “been around the block” and learned that resources are better used to prevent rather than react, while smaller ones may have little experience with building a solid financial and risk management foundation. When small businesses scrimp on accounting and security resources, it could ultimately cost them more in clean-up or losses.
It’s Not Just an IT Matter
A lot of companies treat cyber security and risk management as an IT matter. But it’s a broader, company-wide issue. The biggest threat to security isn’t technology, but rather the human element. Phishing attacks and related scams (sending fraudulent emails with malicious attachments and links) have become the fastest-growing methods of attack. Most hacks come through actions taken by an employee or contractor who doesn’t know any better.
Many small and mid-sized companies often don’t take the initiative to improve their security and risk control measures because they feel overwhelmed. They may not have the time or budget, or believe the risk is not high enough to take action. For businesses unsure where to begin, we advise consulting with a third-party risk expert. But before pursuing specialized consulting or investing large amounts of capital, there are a few things that you can do today to make sure your business stays secure:
- Implement policies and procedures by creating a culture of security from the top-down. Everyone in the organization has to take responsibility.
- Train employees on the signs of phishing and hacking attempts. They should not be clicking on attachments or links to emails from unknown or suspicious senders.
- Explore your industry association resources (for example, supply chain or logistics). Trade groups often have experience with cybersecurity threats and can give recommendations that carry more weight.
- Make sure your firmware and software are up-to-date. Using out-of-date, unsupported operating systems increases your risk of attack.
- Back up sensitive information in secure locations.
- Require employees to set strong passwords and change them periodically.
- Avoid unsecured Wifi networks and consider investing in virtual private networks (VPNs) while traveling or working out of the office.
Acknowledging the risks of today’s technology is not enough. Companies should recognize that security is a vital investment insuring against costly problems down the road, ones that can hurt brand reputation and consumer trust. Continued education and training is important in this environment, from a supplier’s own employees to the supply chain as a whole.
ConnXus: Our Security Is Your Security - Boost Your Profiles With Us
As a SaaS company that regularly deals with proprietary and confidential business data, we meet GDPR, EU/US Privacy Shield requirements and have implemented SOC II Type II security controls. Our goal is to support our buyer clients and supplier base (diverse and non-diverse) with robust, secure tools. We are SRM Made Simple™. We help buyers manage small, women-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned and LGBT-owned businesses among others.
Our new platform, myConnXion®, empowers suppliers to create and maintain secure profiles in one place and gives buyers the ability to reach out anytime, from anywhere in the world. Suppliers can choose which information is shared and which information remains private. Buyers can browse supplier references, certifications and financials. No need to wait for conferences or be constrained by travel budgets to make your business connections. Start sending your secure vendor profile to buyers today. Learn more and register for your free company profile at myConnXion.com.