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ASCM Insights

Cybersecurity Awareness Month: A Time of Frights, Both Real and Digital


October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, that spine-tingling time of year when governments and businesses collaborate to outsmart the monsters of the machine world. A cybersecurity attack is often the scariest of tricks, with personal information leaks and ransom demands — and no mini-Reese's to ease the pain.

Unfortunately, cybersecurity attacks are only getting more severe. In fact, at a recent National Motor Freight Travel Association conference, one insurance provider cited an astronomical ransom demand of $175 million made to an unidentified victim earlier this year. And though the sum was notable in its enormity, this is not a unique case. Attendees at the event admitted that their organizations can be attacked as often as hundreds or thousands of times per day.

Also at the conference, Drew Williams, director of TretRecon Cybersecurity Services at Guidacent, presented an educational session about the biggest issues in cybersecurity. He reported that 95% of breaches are caused by human error, and around 80% of companies who are hit with a ransomware attack end up paying. Williams said a strong cybersecurity plan involves first developing a business resilience and response strategy, which includes data backup and comprehensive incident response. Then, provide organizationwide cybersecurity training and exercises, like war games, to practice.

It’s everyone’s job to prevent cybersecurity attacks, Elizabeth Rennie, ASCM editor-in-chief, wrote earlier this year about one of ASCM’s Top 10 Trends in Supply Chain for 2023: “Addressing cybersecurity risk requires significant investment and buy-in from stakeholders and executives,” Rennie urged. “It’s not ‘just an IT problem.’”

Unfortunately, not everyone has accepted that reality. A Kaspersky survey found that C-level automotive manufacturers don’t have a “conclusive understanding of who is responsible” to address cyberthreats: 34.5% suggested the management team, 33% said the compliance team and 32.5% said the technical department, according to Forbes. That kind of confusion — and the assignment of blame — can amplify the downstream chaos and set up smaller suppliers as “weak links” for attacks.

Trick or training?

Of course, the best remedy for confusion is the clarity gained through education. Expand your cybersecurity know-how and advance your career with the ASCM Supply Chain Technology Certificate. It will give you the essential tools and understanding you need to be more proactive in preventing cybersecurity breaches. Plus, you’ll be able to streamline and improve operational performance; make more informed, data-driven decisions; and minimize security threats by effectively evaluating the benefits and risks of various supply chain technologies.

And cybersecurity isn’t the only critical supply chain topic covered in the program; you’ll also learn how to use cutting-edge technologies including blockchain, additive manufacturing, advanced analytics and the internet of things to make your supply chain more effective and resilient. Don't let the cyber-boogeymen steal your data; protect your supply chain with the ASCM Supply Chain Technology Certificate today.

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer of the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), the largest organization for supply chain and the global pacesetter of organizational transformation, talent development and supply chain innovation. During his tenure, ASCM has significantly expanded its services to corporations, individuals and communities. Its revenue has more than doubled, and the association successfully completed three mergers in response to both heightened industry awareness and the vast and ongoing global impact driven by supply chains. Previously, Eshkenazi was the managing director of the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. He may be contacted through

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