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Supply Chain Security Starts at Home

The key to an effective cyber security strategy may be an unlikely resource: Your talent management strategy.

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This is an excerpt of the original article. It was written for the July-August 2019 edition of Supply Chain Management Review. The full article is available to current subscribers.

July-August 2019

If you’re a long-time reader of Supply Chain Management Review, you’re familiar with Larry Lapide’s “Insights” column. Typically, Larry is writing about the many facets of planning, but occasionally, he takes on a provocative topic. One year, he questioned whether it was necessary to be a Top 25 supply chain leader, especially if in your industry, good enough gets the job done.
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It’s 8:00 a.m. Your receptionist receives a phone call from a vendor asking for details on the next shipment of goods. The receptionist doesn’t recognize the voice and asks to which location the goods are going. The caller doesn’t have specific information, but explains that his organization is one of your company’s third-party logistics (3PL) providers and they’d like to start receiving electronic updates on upcoming shipments so that they can better track inbound goods.

The day has just started and the receptionist knows that if she doesn’t figure this out quickly, there will be more phone calls and her work will pile up. At this point, the receptionist has two options: She can send the details to the 3PL or ask for the caller’s contact information and get back to him later. In today’s operating environment, we might praise the receptionist for quickly and efficiently providing answers to the caller’s questions, including access to information on cloud services, a supplier portal or e-mail list-serve, without interrupting her co-workers or higher-level managers. That’s because above all else, we value speed in the supply chain; that relies on the sharing of information on an as-needed basis, at all times, including to our trading partners and service providers. She may even wonder: What’s the worst that could happen if I give this 3PL information on deliveries and add them to the company’s direct notification process? After all, they’re a supplier right?

The simple answer is: Plenty. Opening the doors into supply chain systems to the wrong people can lead to further intrusions into the company’s operating processes, schedules and key personnel. With that access, bad actors can degrade the supply chain in the long run. Luckily for the company, the receptionist says she’ll have to get back to the caller later. That’s because she received training on the “non-cyber” ways that outside entities try to gain access to a company’s supply chain systems, and now her antenna is on full alert. Those intrusions can happen directly, by hacking into a company’s systems; or indirectly, through an employee who inadvertently provides access with the best of intentions, or, by gaining access to the company’s systems via a supplier’s or customer’s connected systems that are inadequately protected. In this instance, the receptionist knows that she needs to conduct more research before sharing proprietary information that could expose one link in the larger supply chain.

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From the July-August 2019 edition of Supply Chain Management Review.

July-August 2019

If you’re a long-time reader of Supply Chain Management Review, you’re familiar with Larry Lapide’s “Insights” column. Typically, Larry is writing about the many facets of planning, but occasionally, he…
Browse this issue archive.
Access your online digital edition.
Download a PDF file of the July-August 2019 issue.

It's 8:00 a.m. Your receptionist receives a phone call from a vendor asking for details on the next shipment of goods. The receptionist doesn't recognize the voice and asks to which location the goods are going. The caller doesn't have specific information, but explains that his organization is one of your company's third-party logistics (3PL) providers and they'd like to start receiving electronic updates on upcoming shipments so that they can better track inbound goods.

The day has just started and the receptionist knows that if she doesn't figure this out quickly, there will be more phone calls and her work will pile up. At this point, the receptionist has two options: She can send the details to the 3PL or ask for the caller's contact information and get back to him later. In today's operating environment, we might praise the receptionist for quickly and efficiently providing answers to the caller's questions, including access to information on cloud services, a supplier portal or e-mail list-serve, without interrupting her co-workers or higher-level managers. That's because above all else, we value speed in the supply chain; that relies on the sharing of information on an as-needed basis, at all times, including to our trading partners and service providers. She may even wonder: What's the worst that could happen if I give this 3PL information on deliveries and add them to the company's direct notification process? After all, they're a supplier right?

The simple answer is: Plenty. Opening the doors into supply chain systems to the wrong people can lead to further intrusions into the company's operating processes, schedules and key personnel. With that access, bad actors can degrade the supply chain in the long run. Luckily for the company, the receptionist says she'll have to get back to the caller later. That's because she received training on the “non-cyber” ways that outside entities try to gain access to a company's supply chain systems, and now her antenna is on full alert. Those intrusions can happen directly, by hacking into a company's systems; or indirectly, through an employee who inadvertently provides access with the best of intentions, or, by gaining access to the company's systems via a supplier's or customer's connected systems that are inadequately protected. In this instance, the receptionist knows that she needs to conduct more research before sharing proprietary information that could expose one link in the larger supply chain.

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