How to talk to suppliers about cyber risk

Up to half of all supply chain disruption is cybersecurity related. Pair that with the enormous amount of data we share with our suppliers and suddenly keeping an eye on those risks becomes very important.

Just like other risks associated with suppliers, it falls to Procurement to make sure the correct controls are in place. But that doesn’t mean that every Category Manager and Buyer becomes a cybersecurity expert overnight!

Luckily, when you take the technical jargon away, cyber risk becomes a business risk which Procurement can monitor without being experts.

In this post, we’ll share actionable advice that Procurement teams can take to improve their communication and automate their oversight of cyber risks within the supply chain by:

  • Sharing Darkbeam reports
  • Asking specific questions
  • Automating risk monitoring
  • Responding to real-world incidents

You can get started very quickly for free - just create a free account on Darkbeam.


Supplier cyber risks

A demonstration of a Supplier Cyber Risk Management process, showing a report being automatically generated by Darkbeam then shared with the supplier, after which the supplier's cyber vulnerabilities are automatically monitored every week.

With the correct automation in place, your Procurement team can enhance their oversight of supplier cyber risks without being experts or dedicating large amounts of time.

In larger organisations, suppliers (or at least those under contract...) will be asked to complete a risk management form during onboarding. These forms have their place and are an important step in the Governance process but they’re often not updated frequently and rely upon someone to manually assess the response.

(Hint, supplier onboarding forms can be made quick and easy with pre-filled forms and automated data validation from apexportal. You can even access Darkbeam right from your portal screen).

For ongoing oversight, Darkbeam’s automated platform enhances your visibility of supplier cyber risk. This powers your reporting and informs your conversations with suppliers, all without needing dedicated time or internal resource.


Understand your suppliers' vulnerabilities

Darkbeam auto-generates reports for each of your suppliers. It assesses them all for many of the common vulnerabilities that cyber criminals try to exploit.

Reports are frequently updated to keep them current. If there’s something new that you should see, you’ll receive a notification.


Collaborate with your suppliers

Not every supplier you use has the same level of security in place as you do. But they probably all have the best intentions.

When their Darkbeam report flags a potential concern, it gives you an opportunity to ask them direct questions about their cyber risk mitigations. Just click share and ask them to clarify how they’re addressing the items that Darkbeam flags.

You’ll either be satisfied that they have things under control or you’ve just helped them with something they didn’t already know. Either way, you’ve benefited from enhanced oversight and your supplier might be in an even better position than they were before.


Supplier cyber threats

A mock-up of a supplier threat alert on the Darkbeam platform.

Darkbeam's continuous dark web monitoring can alert you when a supplier suffers a cyber attack or data breach.

Sometimes, bad things happen and suppliers are targeted by cyber criminals. For you, this could mean that the product or service they provide is suddenly unavailable or it could lead to a major data breach that puts your company in the headlines (and the crosshairs of the regulators).

Without your own monitoring, you’re reliant upon suppliers to discover incidents, investigate them and notify you before you can start taking steps to protect your operations, data, reputation and finances.

Darkbeam enhances your oversight of cybersecurity incidents and data breaches within your suppliers through Supplier Threat Intelligence. We monitor the dark web (and other places used by cyber criminals) and our expert Analysts check for mentions of your suppliers. If it looks like there might be trouble, you’re sent an actionable notification with a description of what we’ve seen and a few recommendations.


Responding to alerts

So far, this process has focused on capabilities within the Procurement team. But when it comes to threats or incidents, you should escalate them to your Security team if you have one.

Darkbeam’s alert with give your Security team information to assess the threat to your organisations. This will likely be informed by your relationship with the supplier, meaning that the cross-department collaboration that Darkbeam supports becomes very valuable.


Automate your oversight of supplier cyber risks.

Create a free Darkbeam account or speak to our team about how you can take control of cybersecurity risks across your supply chain.




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