CeMAT Insider

4 easy ways to secure real-time data in your supply chain

Posted by CeMAT Team on 11-Apr-2016 11:41:49

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Innovation sprouting from the Internet of Things (IoT) is creating a trove of data that, when harnessed properly, can provide invaluable insights into the way your business can improve operations.

The downside? Digital growth drives digital risk.Most businesses today are jumping on the data-wagon, but not everyone knows about the risks associated with moving information online or into the cloud.

Below we discuss how real-time data has revolutionised the supply chain, and how you can ensure your data remains secure from breaches. 

 

Data renaissance & how it's revolutionised logistics

You may have read our previous post titled Secret success to big data in logistics? Think Big, start small”, and here we outlined the idea that data itself is not new, rather, it’s the technology that allows us to gain greater insights into data that has changed.

The success of many retails giants (think Amazon and the Iconic) comes down to their ability to analyse instant data exchange. Processing orders can be instantaneous if your business has successfully implemented end-to-end integration and automation of your supply chain.

Mobile devices, remote connections and new innovations like wearable technology all require data to operate effectively.

Further, in the transport and logistics industry, you can easily track the fastest route in peak hour times by harnessing information, making it possible for you to provide competitive delivery times in metropolitan areas.

Modern day supply chains require end-to-end integration through automated technology, and wireless connectivity has essentially provided the easiest way to enable the transfer of cross-company information on processing, picking and shipping.

In the not too distant future, supply chains will consist of driverless trucks and drones that deliver straight to the home purely through data and supply chain automation technologies. 

On an operational level this is fantastic for business, however more real-time data and information of business and customers that is created, it is essential for sensitive data to be protected, or even encrypted, to prevent data breaches or important information being leaked. 

Now that you know why data is so integral to the logistics and material’s handling industries, we can take a look at the biggest data threats to logistics companies, and then we endeavour to go through data security solutions to ensure your business maintains a strong security posture.

  

Data threats to real-time data exchange in your warehouse

 Data security is one of the biggest concerns facing businesses in this day and age, and ensuring you have an appropriate cybersecurity policy is essential when it comes to prevent information leaks or data breaches.

  1. Wireless hotspots

 Wireless data is transferred through waves rather than being transferred through physical infrastructure. If you have a wireless hotspot within your warehouse, data transfer could potentially be transferred beyond the walls of your hotspot.

You must ensure you have the appropriate wireless security protocols in place, and secondly, properly securing access to your wireless network by regularly changing your password will ensure it can’t be penetrated.

  1. Malware protection and prevention

The most common method for an information leak or your systems being breached is through malware and it can come in many forms but is generally referred to as hostile or intrusive software.

To some people this may seem like an obvious risk, but many people actually struggle to identify phishing scams or malicious software that are created just to steal your information.

  1. Mobile device security

As more and more businesses move to a Bring-You-Own-Device (BYOD) model, it’s important to create a clear policy that would separate personal and work related data.

If you have employees that access company information through the cloud through their own mobile device, it’s important that you undergo a system threat model so that in the case of an emergency you can restrict access to real-time data or remotely delete sensitive information from certain devices.

More often that not, devices that interact with secured networks need to be fitted with mobile device management (MDM) software systems that allow easy access to networks while also ensuring sufficient security measures. 

  1. Access controls

It’s standard for businesses today to develop an asset management strategy to sweat assets and ensure you get the most value out of them, developing a digital asset management policy is now also paramount to ensuring your access controls are properly managed. 

Ensure you ask yourself the below when establishing access controls:

  • Who is accessing your data?
  • What data can be accessed publicly and privately?
  • Can access for revoked easily and quickly if needed?
  • If your real-time data is integrated with other business intelligence systems, is this interoperable and secure?

 The BYOD revolution has made it possible for data to be availale anytime/anywhere. 

Final thoughts

New business opportunities and efficiencies are progressively improving through innovations in technology. These changes are great for growing businesses that are trying to get a competitive edge, but when it comes to securing your information, going digital opens your data up to being hacked or leaked.

One of the best places to start would be identifying critical pain points that may effect your core operations. If you have an information leak that halts processes, this is not only costly when it comes to lost productivity, but you may lose customers in the long run. 

In December last year, the Privacy Amendment (Notification of Serious Data Breaches) Bill 2015 was introduced in Australia so that, if passed, businesses must notify the Federal Privacy Commissioner and affected individuals in the case of a serious data breach, so it’s important to have a data security plan your business has fall back on.

Once you’ve assessed potential threats to your data and created the appropriate access controls, you should then be able to act quickly on any information breaches that may occur. Remember to diagnose the situation, allocate appropriate roles for dealing with the breach, and then document everything in the case of future attacks.

Topics: Real-time data in logistics, Data analytics in logistics, Data threats