Thursday, February 6, 2014

Weekly Update and Musings on Cybersecurity and the Supply Chain

I hope everyone has had a great week! It's been a good one here - met up with a couple of former co-workers and solved the world's supply chain problems over a nice salad. I bet we could have solved Denver offense (and probably defense) strategy as well if given the chance. Talk about ouch! I'm afraid there was nothing "super" about that football game! But, being the coffee addict that I am, I was happy to see the coffee capital of the US, Seattle, win.

As for work - the reports continue along. I was given a sort of break this week in writing briefs - I only had to do one and that was on the new US meat labeling law. In fact, I'm afraid there may be more food-related supply chain articles over the next couple of months - I decided to start back on Weight Watchers which means I'll be trying to convince myself instead of eating potato chips to write about its supply chain.

Also, there is an exclusive blog post for this week:  "High Tech Manufacturing Moves Closer to the Customer". I've written on this topic before and was looking for an opportunity to expand a bit on the topic. Luckily, I was given the opportunity by Innovation Enterprise who is putting together a High Tech Supply and Demand Conference in San Francisco in April. They've asked me to write a monthly high-tech article as a way to let folks know about the upcoming conference - the result was this post. More posts to come.

There's lots going on at the Ti office so be sure to check out the Ti blog (link is on the right of the page). The team, including our Chief Analyst, Thomas Cullen, are working on the Middle East/North Africa Logistics report. It will be published I believe in March. Speaking of that region, Ti will be hosting a conference in Dubai in May. If you're interested in attending or speaking, drop me a line.

Next week I'll be attending and co-chairing Eye for Transport's TruckIT Forum. If you are planning to attend, let me know so I can say hello and thank you in person for reading the blog! If you can't join us, check back here as I plan to write a summary of the event, perhaps even with a photo or two. Also, I hope to do a bit of tweeting throughout the conference as well!

Musings this week.....

Cybersecurity and what it means to the supply chain - I'm still trying to wrap my arms around this topic. What happened to Target and other retailers late last year seems to have brought this issue to the much needed spotlight. There is talk of finally requiring all credit cards to adopt the use of an embedded encrypted chip that requires a personal identification number to access. Folks in Europe have been using this for some time, I'm not sure why we here in the US have not. This issue should not be allowed to possibly deter the growth of B2C e-commerce.

From a B2B perspective, the threat is a big concern. Globalization has meant longer, complicated supply chains with suppliers having suppliers who have their own suppliers etc. With each additional link added to the supply chain, risk increases. How does one manage such a beast? The answer is simple - through the growing number of IT software services now available. In particular SaaS, or "cloud" software. It seems a variety of businesses are embracing this software as they seek to manage visibility and collaborate with partners in real time. But, as we have seen with what occurred with Target and other retailers, a security breach is a possibility.

As such, organizations such as the Information Security Forum offers advise and research on information security risk. An interesting statistic from this organization is that 40% of  data-security breaches experienced by organizations come from attacks on their suppliers. What to do? according to the Information Security Forum is to identify which suppliers pose the greatest risk for data theft.This can be done through regularly auditing your systems. There are other suggestions to protect your information and data.  Most importantly, have a clear plan in place and work with your IT providers and partners.

So, with that, I wish you all a wonderful weekend and a great week.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read the blog!

Take care,