Cybercrime has been around for almost as long as the Internet. But recent years have seen a sharp increase in the threat to corporate IT systems. This is due in part to the rapid advance of digitization into all areas of life and to the ceaseless efforts of cybercriminals to access companies’ computers and the all-important data they contain. In 2017, cyberattacks on organizations more than doubled year on year, with a hefty 150% increase in supply chain attacks during the same period.
It Can’t Happen Here…
If you think the logistics sector is an unlikely target for cybercrime or cyberterrorism, think again: Whether the aim is to disrupt operations, snoop on company secrets, or extort money, hackers will exploit vulnerabilities in any industry. In light of the spate of recent high-profile attacks, effective cybersecurity is now more important than ever for logistics players of all sizes.
High-Visibility Hacks Underscore Cybersecurity Shortcomings
Over the past few years, a number of widely reported cyberattacks have shown that even large corporations with sizable IT organizations can fall prey to determined hackers. One of the most high-profile cases of this kind was WannaCry. This malicious software, which encrypted individuals’ and companies’ data until they paid a ransom, is estimated to have caused damage totaling billions of dollars worldwide.
One large-scale organization hit by WannaCry was the British National Health Service (NHS). And in the logistics sector, international courier firm FedEx fell prey to the NotPeya ransomware – losing USD 400 million as a result. If cybercriminals can successfully target heavy-hitters like these, who have considerable IT resources at their disposal, the risk faced by comparatively small logistics companies is significantly greater.
There’s a Lot More at Stake than Business Continuity
While widespread media coverage of ransomware attacks has sharpened public awareness of cybersecurity, most logistics companies are still doing far too little in this area. That’s particularly alarming in a sector where the growing deployment of Internet of Things technologies exposes not only business data but also operational technology to risks, potentially putting thousands of human lives at risk. Just imagine what could happen if malicious hackers or terrorists were to gain control over railway points and signaling systems, for example.
Now is the Time to Review Your Cybersecurity Approach
To avoid becoming unwitting victims of internal and external cyberattacks, logistics companies need to radically review their cybersecurity strategies. One of the best places to start is by addressing the greatest vulnerability in any organization – the human factor.
Knowledge is Power
Educating employees is an excellent way of preventing hackers sneaking malware into your systems. By ensuring that your staff are well aware of the risks, you significantly reduce the risk of their clicking links in phishing e-mails or opening infected attachments. After all, experience has shown that one careless click in an e-mail account is all it takes to trigger a major security breach.
Incorporate Security Right from the Start
The software that runs your core business processes is another potential vulnerability. Whether you develop these solutions yourself or purchase them from external providers, you need to be sure they are bulletproof. Your in-house developers should embed security mechanisms from the get-go. And when it comes to third-party software, you should subject your vendors to rigorous security audits.
Another way you can prevent hackers bringing your operations to a standstill is by running a secure secondary database alongside the primary instance. This ensures business continuity by allowing you to keep your data secure but accessible in the event of a hack on your main database.
Get the “Good Guys” on Your Side
It’s also worth remembering that not all hackers are malicious. In fact, there are many out there who have businesses’ best interests at heart. By enlisting the services of these highly-skilled “white hat” hackers, you can subject your mission-critical systems to the sort of sophisticated attacks mounted by other, less well-meaning IT mavens. Security experts consider role of these “good guys” to be so important that management consultancies have started acquiring companies specializing in this kind of hacking.
Start Taking Action Today
As digitization rapidly gains ground, businesses are increasingly IT-powered and interconnected. While this brings a host of attractive opportunities, it also poses considerable risks. To avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime, it’s imperative to start addressing cybersecurity now.
Specialist publications like Accenture’s 2018 State of Cyber Resilience study, provide valuable insight into where cybersecurity investments can deliver tangible benefits. If you haven’t already done so, I strongly recommend conducting initial assessments of your existing security mechanisms to determine where best to focus your efforts.
Above all, don’t wait before getting started. Leaving your company’s doors open to unwelcome visitors can have catastrophic consequences – and not just for your business model.