Menu
​Why suppliers could be the weakest link in cyber security strategy

​Why suppliers could be the weakest link in cyber security strategy

“The security of your networks is often only as good as the weakest link in the system."

Cyber attackers are increasingly using their target organisation’s supply chain as a route to attack them and access their data or internal systems.

Smaller organisations throughout the supply chain often don’t have the same stringent security measures in place compared with larger organisations.

These gaps in a small supplier’s cyber defences can create weaknesses for their larger clients.

For example, criminals may use a supplier’s website to host malware - this is difficult to combat, because businesses often have to place a certain level of trust in that website or the emails coming from that supplier’s website.

“Organisations are increasingly interconnected with their suppliers and, while this provides a variety of business benefits, it also comes with security risks,” says Dr Rajiv Shah, regional general manager, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence.

“The security of your networks is often only as good as the weakest link in the system.

“You might think you understand your systems and the security measures you have in place, but how well do you know the security of your suppliers’ systems?

“Cyber criminals are very aware of these connections and are using them to access networks that are otherwise well-protected.”

Shah says there are three key ways organisations can protect themselves from the potential threats posed by a suppliers’ access to your networks, infrastructure, people or premises:

1. Written security agreements with suppliers

For Shah, the first step is to ensure clear understanding and expectations of how your suppliers protect their business and, by extension, yours.

“Where possible, organisations should make sure their suppliers adhere to certain processes and protocols that minimise the likelihood of such attack vulnerabilities, even if they don’t have the resources for high-level cyber defence technology,” Shah explains.

“A written agreement regarding these processes and protocols sets the right expectations at the start of an engagement and can be an easy first step in reducing risks when connecting with suppliers.”

2. Train your people - and theirs

One of the top ways cyber criminals gain unauthorised access to internal systems is through simple email-based methods, such as spear phishing, Shah adds.

“Attackers are now starting to use legitimate email servers, which they have compromised, to launch these campaigns, making suspect emails harder to identify,” Shah adds.

“Organisations need to educate their staff and their suppliers about how to spot suspect emails and other communications before they become a problem.”

3. Additional technology barriers between internal and external systems

Shah says attackers are known to use direct network connections from smaller vendors to get into larger target organisations.

“This trend is expected to continue over the coming years, largely because the bigger, highly-targeted organisations have a budget for cyber security that smaller players generally don’t have access to,” Shah adds.

“To protect themselves, larger organisations need to put several layers of protection between themselves and their suppliers to make sure communications from suppliers’ systems aren’t carrying malicious threats.”

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securitymalwarecyber security

Featured

Slideshows

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

​As the channel changes and industry voices deepen, the need for clarity and insight heightens. Market misconceptions talk of an “under pressure” distribution space, with competitors in that fateful “race for relevance” across New Zealand. Amidst the cliched assumptions however, distribution is once again showing its strength, as a force to be listened to, rather than questioned. Traditionally, the role was born out of a need for vendors and resellers to find one another, acting as a bridge between the testing lab and the marketplace. Yet despite new technologies and business approaches shaking the channel to its very core, distributors remain tied to the epicentre - providing the voice of reason amidst a seismic industry shift. In looking across both sides of the vendor and partner fences, the middle concept of the three-tier chain remains centrally placed to understand the metrics of two differing worlds, as the continual pulse checkers of the local channel. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable, in association with Dicker Data and rhipe, examined the pivotal role of distribution in understanding the health of the channel, educating from the epicentre as the market transforms at a rapid rate.

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel
Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar last night, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and resellers descending on The Jefferson in Auckland to kickstart 2017. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017
Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow Electronics introduced Tenable Network Security to local resellers in Sydney last week, officially launching the distributor's latest security partnership across Australia and New Zealand. Representing the first direct distribution agreement locally for Tenable specifically, the deal sees Arrow deliver security solutions directly to mid-market and enterprise channel partners on both sides of the Tasman.

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel
Show Comments