E-commerce businesses rely on a connected and well-managed network of suppliers to help them manufacture, transport and distribute their goods to their customers.
These connected systems make up the supply chain, and a seamless, well-managed supply chain can quickly give your e-commerce business a competitive edge.
That said, working with multiple third parties and suppliers can also introduce a number of security risks, and cybercriminals know this. As such, attackers are increasingly targeting supply chain vulnerabilities and using these to hack into systems to steal or tamper with data.
This means that visibility of your suppliers is crucial, as is getting the right security systems in place to reduce the risks of a breach within your supply chain.
Although this might feel like a daunting prospect, there is good news. Supply chain security servicescan help you to mitigate the risks and keep your operations running seamlessly and safely. Check out this guide from Evalian for more information.
Below, we’ve put together a guide containing everything you need to know to protect your supply chain and, as a result, your e-commerce business.
Why is supply chain security so important?
When you’re running an e-commerce business, it stands to reason that your key focus is getting your customers what they want in the most timely and cost-effective way. However, supply chain security also needs to be one of your top priorities for a number of reasons.
Firstly, suppliers within your chain may be handling customer data; therefore, this needs to be protected. Otherwise, you might find you are facing the wrath of some angry customers should their information fall into the wrong hands.
This can then damage your brand and reputation as a business, which could cost you customers in the long run.
Not only this, but cybercriminals hacking into your systems, injecting malware or stealing information can have a very damaging impact on your operations, costing you sales or delaying orders.
Finally, a data breach can be very costly to your business under General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), so you need to do all you can to avoid an attack or data leak.
The top supply chain security risks and considerations
As you can see, supply chain security is crucial for the success of your e-commerce business and your reputation – but what are the biggest supply chain risks that businesses are facing?
Well, to help you get a better understanding of what you need to be aware of, we’ve created a list of some of the top supply chain security concerns. These include:
- Multiple points of access: As technology gets more advanced, supply chains are increasingly having to rely on four or more tiers of suppliers to deliver the finished product – each one of these tiers exposes new risks
- Data theft and malware: Cybercriminals leverage vulnerabilities in the supply chain in order to steal sensitive data and spread malware
- Fraud: Each time data is exchanged between the different parties or shifted within different systems, there is the risk that it may be tampered with and used for fraudulent activity
- Mishandled data: With multiple enterprises accessing the data, they have the ability to decide who to share it with and this can mean sensitive customer data being shared with unwanted third-parties
Of course, this list is by no means exhaustive, and there are other supply chain security risks that could cause trouble for your e-commerce business.
That said, understanding some of the most common issues can help you to focus your supply chain security efforts to get the most effective systems and services in place.
What do supply chain security services offer, and how can they help your business?
If all of this sounds complex and somewhat daunting, here is the good news. Supply chain security service providers can help to ease the stress and take on some of the hard work for you.
These providers offer better visibility of the security risks within your business and help you to build confidence within your supply chain. They do this by offering key services such as review and gap analysis, supplier assessments, security planning and procedure development, and cybersecurity training for your employees.
This can be done through a range of different tools and systems, most of which will vary depending on the service provider you choose to work with. Some will also offer short term services, whilst others offer supplier security on an ongoing basis.
If you’re worried about the impact of poor supply chain security in your business, working with expert providers could be the ideal way to bolster your security and protect your brand and customers.
How to choose the right providers and tools for your business
So finally, if you’ve decided that working with supply chain security services is the right move for your e-commerce business, you might be wondering how to get started.
As with anything you invest in for your business, you need to make sure you’ve chosen the most effective and budget-friendly providers for you. To help you do this, we’ve pulled together a few tips for choosing the right security services:
1. Understand what you need
First and foremost, you need to have a good understanding of what it is you actually want and need from a provider. This can be done by setting new business goals or, perhaps if you’ve put very little thought into your supply chain thus far, just starting right from the beginning.
Whatever the case may be, do some research and find out if there are any specific features, tools or systems you are going to need. This is the best place to start.
2. See if they offer bespoke packages
When it comes to supply chain security, a one size fits all approach is often not the right answer. So when researching security services, be sure to look for providers that offer bespoke packages tailored to your business needs.
3. Check out their certificates and credentials
Before settling on any security providers, you must first take a look at whether they’ve got the certificates and credentials to back up what they’re offering. You can usually find these displayed (or not, as the case may be) on their website.
4. Look at online reviews`
Finally, the internet is a wonderful thing, and people love to leave reviews and testimonials about companies they have worked with in the past. So do a quick online search and look at any reviews that have been left about your chosen provider.
If you can’t find any reviews or testimonials, this is a major red flag.