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Survey: Supply Chain Security Needs More Attention

In a recent survey by the security company Tripwire, more than 56 percent of supply chain respondents said their company doesn’t currently conduct security audits of partner companies and suppliers.

These survey results are alarming, given the fact that a security breach anywhere along a supply chain could have serious consequences for any other organization along the chain, as well as potentially disastrous results for public safety.

Globalization and the subsequent complexity in our supply chains are contributing to elevated risks for theft, missed shipments, adulteration and counterfeiting. Where businesses buy raw materials, produce finished goods and bring products to market is quickly shifting. On a global basis we are seeing raised criminal activity in all of these threat categories. This is leading to calls for alterations in how supply chains operate. Experts say counting on good manufacturing practices and good distribution practices by themselves isn’t enough when criminals in faraway countries risking public safety for financial gain.

The recent Tripwire survey, which polled more than 320 IT professionals who understand the security of their organization’s supply chain, showed many respondents recognize the magnitude of today’s security threats. However, the survey also showed there is still work to be done when it comes to shoring up supply chain security.

When asked if they are confident in the security of their company’s partners and suppliers, 53 percent of respondents said yes, while 47 percent said no. Even more troubling, 66 percent of respondents said their organization often uses partners and suppliers that fail to meet their security standards, while 34 percent said their company does not.

While 75 percent of respondents said they do check to make sure suppliers meet security requirements, it was the follow-up answers given by the 25 percent who said they don’t perform these checks that were quite revealing. Reasons for not checking include not having the resources, not thinking about it and not seeing suppliers as a risk to their own security.

Many respondents also said their company treats suppliers differently based on their size. When asked if their your organization has less stringent standards for smaller suppliers, 26 percent said they make exceptions for certain companies, while 24 percent said their company has separate guidelines for small suppliers and large suppliers.

Addressing security concerns

There are multiple trade groups, consortiums and coalitions focusing on various facets of global supply chain security. A number of these are cooperative attempts between industry, government and law enforcement. There are also government agencies acting alone. For instance, the Transportation Security Administration now mandates that 100 percent of air cargo transported out of the U.S. on passenger planes must now be tested at the piece level.

At ZDA, we understand how important security is and how that security often depends on workers with integrity. If you are currently looking for a supply chain talent acquisition partner with a robust screening program , contact us today!

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