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Supply Chain Managers: Use Certified Products in Your Supply Chain

The Internet of Things (IoT) and technological advancements have presented many opportunities for the supply chain. It enhances the consumer experience through increased visibility, functionality, and streamlines the business environments in which they operate. 

Supply chain technology has a range of benefits, but it can also pose operational risks. As the supply chain becomes more interconnected due to IoT technologies, it's vital to manage these risks to maintain brand value and product quality. Despite the heightened importance, many organizations still aren't giving cybersecurity the attention needed.

For supply chain managers concerned about the integrity of their supply chain, working with vendors who offer certified products helps to mitigate risks and adds a level of security to their ecosystem.

I have highlighted a few key points supply chain managers need to consider. 

Why are certified products important for supply chain management?

When it comes to supply chain risk management, it is important to conduct due diligence on your suppliers. Sourcing departments within companies, however, do not typically have strong procedures for vetting the underlying supplier products and services.  This is usually left to the business to worry about.

Many companies that evaluate products and services mainly focus on functionality and not the underlying technology. With IoT, this is a particularly alarming proposition because it's easy to see the interconnectivity and functionality of the devices but it's not as easy to see the security implications they may pose. 

What risks can arise if products are not certified in the supply chain?

In the realm of the IoT, most devices are moving from hard-wired closed systems to interconnected systems with communications through traditional IP networks, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and wireless connectivity. Many devices are not initially designed to be connected to the Internet and functionality and ease of access tend to be top priorities whereas security and protecting the underlying data is considered an afterthought.

This can be a serious problem if a device in the supply chain is breached. The result can be lost customer data and proprietary information which can have detrimental cascading effects on the organization. 

What recommendations would you provide to organizations that are part of a supply chain network?

As a supply chain manager, it is vital to understand the regulatory and compliance requirements for the markets you serve, especially when it comes to the privacy and security of customer data. Work with vendors that take device security seriously.

Working with certified products provides greater assurance that a device functions as it should and that the necessary security controls are in place. It also offers the entity acquiring the product and services an important level of assurance and can even be incorporated into the sourcing process.

By asking these important questions, organizations can take a critical step toward safeguarding the supply chain with certified products.

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