Before discussing the protection of personal data and cybersecurity within logistics companies, it is worth making a brief introduction to understanding its importance today. Over the last two years, as the global effects of the pandemic have affected health, the economy and travel, supply issues have become a turning point in the management stage.
Virtually all industries were affected, ranging from lack of labour to shortages of industrial raw materials. In an attempt to generate more agile systems, digitization entered an accelerated process, and with it, severe cybersecurity problems and personal data protection appeared.
The problem is real. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 45% of organizations worldwide will have experienced attacks on their supply chains. This amount would be three times higher than in 2021.
We can see that the world’s largest companies have not been spared from cyber attacks. Freight shipping companies, for example, have been victims of several large-scale attacks in recent years. Some of the most important were the ransomware attack on Maersk and the malware attack on the Mediterranean Shipping Company in 2020.
Both were targeted at the organization’s software, which had several highly undesirable negative repercussions (from down systems to reputational damage). And with them, the need for greater digital security in the sector became evident.
BBC News ‘ How one ransomware attack costs £45m to fix a report can help you get an even clearer picture of the possible consequences of these attacks.
Faced with digitization, more vulnerabilities
Technology in logistics has proven to be a boon. Data intelligence is one of the most relevant tools for current logistics. Thanks to the cloud, all the supply chain elements are merging to work together, updated and coordinated. And the IoT is relevant to managing warehouses through sensors.
These applications use data and intelligence that add to a complex web of people, processes, infrastructure and applications. Consequently, long-term security strategies are required to provide comprehensive protection.
As our reliance on technology systems to manage all aspects of the supply chain grows, so do weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Digital diagnostics and repairs have made systems more efficient, less labour intensive, and expanded the potential for attacks.
Cybersecurity and protection of personal data
Companies generally conceive of cybersecurity as a separate issue from protecting personal data. They even tackle these areas with separate hardware and software. This, logically, increases administrative and IT costs while jeopardizing the effectiveness of coordinated digital protection.
How is a cybersecurity strategy different from one focused on protecting personal data?
Cybersecurity comprises actions that make up a digital ecosystem safe from cyber attacks. Thus, it focuses on specific technical implementations to protect the Company’s systems and networks. While, for its part, the protection of personal data focuses on the information stored within the system, not on the system itself.
A data protection strategy is a set of procedures to safeguard stored personal data. It covers data management, availability, prevention of unauthorized access, and enforcement standards such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Another difference between a personal data protection strategy and cybersecurity is that while the former requires effort from all employees who handle sensitive data, the latter is primarily a job for IT professionals. But this does not mean they should not be combined to form a continuous and unified security ecosystem.
For this, controlling and dealing with data leaks is necessary. Organizations must adapt their daily workflow by combining cybersecurity and personal data protection and work on strategies that unify both competencies. Thus, creating a clear set of rules and procedures is necessary to ensure that all those involved know and apply the best practices in cybersecurity.
Keys to start addressing cybersecurity and personal data protection in a logistics Company
Knowing where to start can be complicated, especially if the Company has started its digitization process during the last two years.
But it will be easier if you keep in mind these four practical steps to address personal data protection and cybersecurity, which can be widely adopted in the industry:
- Take care of the fundamentals: Start with basic digital hygiene, such as enabling firewalls, password protection, and spotting weak spots. These are steps that all companies should take. Compromised passwords or credentials are responsible for many cyber attacks and personal data theft. These can be avoided if companies incorporate password policies and robust authentication methods.
- Train your employees: Many attacks are successful due to human error. Therefore, organizations must provide continuous training to as many employees as possible. The threat landscape changes rapidly, so constant training is critical. Ongoing basic cybersecurity training for all staff is essential in staying safe.
- Adopt a Zero Trust policy: The industry and its supply chains have become more digital, connected, and complex. Adopting a Zero Trust mindset and making authentication mandatory at every link in the chain is a good protection strategy for everyone. This becomes much more important when discussing supply chains in different countries since they probably do not all abide by the same corporate security limits.
- Implement a Zero Trust architecture: By this, we mean a holistic, layered cybersecurity model that prevents data breaches by removing trust in the organization’s network and users. This means verifying everyone’s identity, always. Although no cybersecurity strategy is 100% reliable, this approach allows you to create a program that eliminates many cyber risks.
Several elements make up a good Zero Trust architecture :
- Focus on protecting personal data: Companies must remember that the ultimate goal of a Zero Trust environment is protecting personal data.
- Least privilege and access: One of the foundations of the approach centers on the concept of minimal access to data. For example, employees only have access to the essential information to do their job, nothing else.
- Identity verification: This has gained importance in recent times, given the rise of teleworking. Non-corporate networks are considered hostile. Therefore, it is essential to follow robust identity verification processes when working outside the corporate network.
- Multi-factor or two-factor authentication is the standard: All user authentication requests must be subject to multi-factor or two-factor authentication as a minimum standard. This protects against password cracking and credential disclosure.
Companies must carefully examine the various options when choosing their supply chain software to adapt to the new demands in cybersecurity and personal data protection. You have to take the time to find a Company that offers reliable software, that is constantly updated and offers support for change.
Cybersecurity goes hand in hand with digitization, so it is an important aspect to capitalize on efforts in new processes and technology. It is important to note that most security solutions are preventative. Hence the need to act with time and be prepared. Summing up, proper supply chain management is essential for companies. As we digitize it, we increase its efficiency. Still, we cannot afford to forget about digital security, as it is a critical factor that is becoming more and more important.