Throughout the last decade, third-party logistics companies have been popular targets for cyber attacks, and these firms are not alone. In 2013, credit card details for more than 40 million Target customers were stolen by hackers who accessed the systems through a third-party contractor. And the list goes on.
Indeed, cyber attacks have become more frequent. According to a Clark School study at the University of Maryland, a computer is attacked by a hacker every 39 seconds, and in 2018, hackers were estimated to have stolen half a billion records. To make matters worse, it may take up to six months until most companies that are affected by such hacks to detect a data breach.
It goes without saying that protecting customer data should be a top priority. If a hacker gains access to a warehouse’s management system or other software, they could collect customer payment information, steal addresses or phone numbers, install ransomware, and affect freight systems or orders.
Although companies can’t prevent data breaches from occurring altogether, they should try to mitigate this risk as much as possible by incorporating cyber security systems just as they do other forms of protection. Here’s how.
7 Actions to Ensure Cyber Security
1. Keep all Systems up to Date
As threats become more sophisticated and common, keep your cyber security system up to date. Older technology doesn’t have the latest security protocols and is more vulnerable to attacks.
2. Create a Cyber Security Policy
Develop a cyber security policy that all employees must read and agree to. It should explain the importance of cyber security and updated systems, include password storage and sharing guidelines, describe various phishing emails and scams and what actions employees should take, illustrate how to apply privacy settings, and tell staff to report lost or stolen devices.
3. Manage Passwords
To protect the warehouse management system, passwords will need to be complex (a random combination of letters, numbers and special characters) and changed periodically. Because employees will be privy to this information, there should be a system in place for sharing. Passwords should be written down on paper or communicated verbally, so they’re not easily found in emails or other vulnerable programs.
4. Back Up Databases
As a precaution, you should regularly back up important data, such as customer contacts and order information, in multiple locations. Why? Well, If a hacker locks you out of the system or encrypts your files, all of your data will still be accessible in external harddrives.
5. Use Antivirus Software, Firewalls and Ransomware Protection
Antivirus software prevents, detects and removes software viruses. Meanwhile, anti-ransomware protects systems from malware that locks users out of files in an attempt to extort money. Firewalls prevent unauthorized users from accessing private networks. Before selecting any of these tools, research what’s available and best for your company.
6. Have a Security Incident Response Plan
Seventy-seven percent of security and IT professionals claim they do not have a cyber security incident response plan. That’s not good enough. It’s no longer a question of “if” an attack will happen, but “when.” It’s important to have a disaster plan in place, so data can be recovered and operations can resume in a timely manner after a breach.
The plan should outline the procedures a warehouse uses to detect and respond to a cyber attack. It should include:
- Incident response team: Designate a team to respond to the cyber attack.
- Incident management principles: The investigation will have a certain level of confidentiality. Affected stakeholders must be notified and the situation reported to management. This section of the plan should outline communication guidelines.
- Cyber security incident phases: First, a warehouse must identify the type of incident by assessing the symptoms. The attack and investigation must be documented and the warehouse should determine the origin of the incident so it can be isolated. Remediation and recovery measures—installing updates on systems, changing passwords, and removing viruses—should be taken. Finally, the incident should be reported and reviewed.
7. Audit the System Annually
Each year, make sure your warehouse management systems are up to date, cyber security policies are updated, your data is backed up efficiently, a plan is in place for password management, and the security incident response plan is tailored to react to new types of attacks.