The Importance of Data Security in the Supply Chain

Supply chain management is much more than simply organizing trucks and keeping track of cargo containers and pallets of goods. Transportation data and analytics are more vital than ever for protecting the domestic and global supply chain.

The Colonial Pipeline attack in June 2021 clearly demonstrated the devastating repercussions of having inadequate cybersecurity—and more specifically, poor data security—in the supply chain. The cyberattack, led by hackers that sought to extort money from the company, brought trade throughout the southeastern United States to a near-halt due to fuel shortages, Bloomberg reported. And now, there's another attack occurring, halting Expeditors' services on February 21, 2022, reports FreightWaves.

With the disruption of this magnitude still fresh in the minds of supply chain managers, the need for advanced data security in the supply chain is more apparent than ever. Answering the question, "Why is supply chain security important?", in this digital day and age requires a deep dive into supply chain capacity logistics, cybersecurity, and how the two are interconnected.

What Is Data Security in the Supply Chain?

Data security technologies and cybersecurity measures are integral to supply chain management. The primary focus of these measures is on the risk involved with the management of external suppliers, customers, carriers, vendors, 3PLs, and drivers. The ultimate goal of freight and audit data security measures in the modern supply chain is to identify, analyze and mitigate the risks of doing business locally and globally through the digital supply chain network. Not all software is created equally. Each shipper bears the responsibility to maintain it and must also be responsible for the safety and security of data and information contained and used regularly.

Why Data Security Is Valuable

Improved data security in the supply chain helps lower risks of cyberattacks but can also help reduce and control costs. By reducing exposure to threats and attacks, management can guard against lost products, downtime, compromised data, lost proprietary information, and loss of customer trust. The average cost of sub-standard data security in the supply chain can be quite costly. According to Industry Weekly, "The average cost of a data breach is nearly $4 million, so companies need to protect their supply chains with a combination of layered defenses." Implementing well-balanced and up-to-date data protection technologies can protect every aspect of the supply chain network and guard against threats such as system hacks, data breaches, malware and ransomware attacks, service disruptions, financial fraud, and more. It all comes down to meaningful logistics intelligence, working with properly-vetted parties, and using data to make the best decisions possible.

How to Ensure Your Software Vendors Prioritize Data Security

Ensuring software vendors, team members, and 3PLs involved with daily operations prioritize data security in the supply chain is critical to ongoing success and growth. To check for areas ripe for improvements, and to ensure everyone takes cybersecurity and data security seriously, consider the following tips:

  • Thoroughly vet potential business intelligence and analytics vendors to ensure you are working with the best of the best.
  • Know how your systems connect, whether EDI, API, or another connecting tech, and make sure team members are familiar with it.
  • Use analytics to know your network risks and monitor potential problem areas to watch for early warning signs.
  • Track shipping spend to identify and watch for potentially fraudulent shipping charges on your accounts.
  • Choose a secure, bank-based freight payment solution to make processes safe with less risk than traditional solutions.
  • Ensure all team members and personnel are professionally trained and complete thorough onboarding processes for all software.

Data security technologies are more critical than ever, given the global nature of shipping and transportation. To derive the most value from shipping and supply chain data, shippers must protect that data and the analytics that stem from it.

Maintain Strong Data Security in the Supply Chain With Intelligent Audit and Actionable Intelligence

Embracing modern technology and digitization comes with its share of rewards as well as risks for those specializing in supply chain management. Keeping up with the latest data protection technologies can help avoid and eliminate the chances of cyberattacks and other threats. Answering the question, "Why is supply chain security important?", in today's shipping and transportation market relies on proper introspection of the current market and the network's health. Contact Intelligent Audit today to get started and make data security in the supply chain a priority for your company. Unlock the value of a single source for truth for actionable intelligence and normalized data in your transportation network!

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