Maintaining a Secure Supply Chain

There were nearly 4,000 instances of data breaches in 2020. How can you avoid being amongst the victims of modern-day piracy in 2021?

Maintaining a Secure Supply Chain

The average cost of a data breach is over $3 million. This form of piracy is costly, as it not only affects business but the customers as well. Here’s a look at the importance of establishing a secure supply chain, and how you can go about doing so.

Understanding Modern-Day Piracy

When you think of piracy, you may picture ships on the water, fighting over cargo they can sell on the black market, and taking prisoners. While there are still instances of piracy on the water, most modern-day piracy involves digital theft rather than physical theft. Increased technology and changes to or decriminalization of certain products can reduce the amount of piracy, or at least the success of it. With products such as home-grown cannabis in states where it is legal, studies suggest that it has had at least a small impact on organized black market crime. But where any online operation exists, especially in the world of commerce and distribution, there is potential for modern pirate interference.   

Parley Pirate

To understand the threats of digital piracy, it’s important to parley pirate– that is, speak the language. Here are some terms with which you and your information technology (IT) team should be familiar.


  • Data breach – when information is stolen and/or released to the public.
  • Ransomware – this refers to malicious software that either exposes sensitive information to the public or renders it inaccessible.
  • Malware – aka malicious software that attempts to compromise a computer and its systems.
  • Phishing – the act of fraudulently obtaining sensitive information under false pretenses, such as via phone or email scams.
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) – crashing a server with data overwhelm.
  • Encryption – the process of encoding information, transforming it from plaintext to ciphertext.
  • Tokenization – the process of turning sensitive information into a random string of characters with no meaning.
  • Multi-factor authentication – access to data can only be granted via multiple methods, such as via email and text message evidence.
  • Digital signatures – an electronic signature that requires the use of a mathematical scheme for verification.
  • Blockchain platform – a system of recording information that is near-impossible to hack.
  • Physical piracy: interruption in the acquisition and distribution of a physical product.


This is by no means a comprehensive list of terms, but it’s a good starting point to help you get familiar with the threats and solutions to digital piracy.

Main Concerns Regarding Supply Chain Management

With so many businesses operating online and having staff work remotely, it’s more important than ever to have a secure supply chain. This may mean doing things differently than in the past and being willing to upgrade inventory systems and digital security measures.


The main concerns your business should have when it comes to online security are as follows:

Data Security 

When you’re collecting data from customers, vendors, or sharing it via employees, how are you doing so? What measures are you taking to ensure the data is protected when it is exchanged?

Data Locality

Once your data is collected, how and where is it stored? From the least sensitive data (public information) to data that is highly sensitive (social security numbers, for example), it should all be handled with care. Depending on the business you’re in, there are industry standards to follow to ensure proper handling and storage of data.

Data Governance

Do you know who can see the data you have, and how that access is managed? Your business probably interacts with numerous third parties, and they each have their own amount of clearance to your operating systems. What can they view or share, and how sensitive is the information they’re seeing?

Fraud Protection

No matter how secure you believe your systems are, you should have a plan in place to protect data throughout every transaction. Multi-factor authentication, encryption, and tokenization are just some of the methods you can use to prevent fraudulent use of data.

Third-Party Risk 

Everyone involved in your business increases the threat of exposure within your system. Whether it’s employees or vendors, be sure you’re doing due diligence to verify their own security practices and how they can affect your business. According to IBM, “supply chains often rely on four or more tiers of suppliers to deliver goods.” This means physical and digital data changes hands often before your product or service reaches your consumer.

Tips for Validating Supply Chain Security

Do some digging. What do you have access to on your end? What do your vendors have access to? When third parties have access to your data, it’s your responsibility to ensure its security. Here’s how you can validate your supply chain security.

Security Assessment 

Invest in information systems security that regularly monitors potential threats from third parties. Taking this step can ensure that your systems adhere to the current security standards required in your industry.

Open-Source Tools

Make sure your software is always up-to-date to avoid vulnerabilities. It’s tempting to always click the “remind me later” button when your software suggests an update, but it’s not worth the risk. 

Vendor Risk Management (VRM)

Perform System and Organization Controls 2 (SOC2) audits on third parties that will have access to your data. This audit will assess the risks associated with a vendor. As a business, you can get certified by an auditor and present your security credentials before potential collaborations or partnerships.


Make sure your operating systems are not so intertwined that access to one means access to all. By segmenting your systems, you can pause one in the event of a breach while not affecting all of the others. Forbes recommends keeping your “vendors and service providers separate from your users” so any breaches in security won’t directly impact your clients.

Proactive Incident Management and Mitigation

If you do encounter security risks, you want to ensure you have an IT team that can rectify the problems. Your regular security assessments can prepare you for mitigation, whatever the potential vulnerability may be.


Going digital may seem risky, as data breaches are one of the top five risks to our global economy. However, with increased digitization of records comes increased security. It’s harder to access sensitive information that’s protected in a database than it is to access sensitive information stored in a filing cabinet. You may have a crack security team trained on your physical files, but that still leaves room for human error. Going digital allows you to set up encryption, file monitoring, tokenization, and more.

In the past, protection against piracy involved firepower; these days it’s more about firewalls.

Samantha hails from Virginia and is a proud wife to a retired Deputy Sheriff and mother to two amazing little boys named Jack & William. A veteran product reviewer; Samantha has been reviewing products for 12 years and offers high quality product reviews with original photography.

Samantha hails from Virginia and is a proud wife to a retired Deputy Sheriff and mother to two amazing little boys named Jack & William. A veteran product reviewer; Samantha has been reviewing products for 12 years and offers high quality product reviews with original photography.

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