I have been writing about the supply chain—and cybersecurity—for decades, warning that we needed the right technology—and the right security protocols—in place to make our supply chains resilient and more secure. Seriously, for those of you who follow this column, you must be saying I sound like a broken record. I know what the heck is that? But all kidding aside, this is a problem. And a new report shows cyberattacks targeting software supply chains will cost businesses billions, and I mean billions, and most businesses can’t afford paying out millions, let alone billions.
The study, from Juniper Research, examines the importance of software supply chains across several vertical markets including financial services, government, automotive, and healthcare, recognizes vulnerable software supply chains are a multi-billion dollar problem and it’s only getting worse.
In fact, the research from the analyst firms shows the total cost of software supply-chain cyberattacks to businesses will exceed $80.6 billion globally by 2026. This is up from $45.8 billion in 2023. That is quite a huge leap.
The organization additionally suggests the growth reflects increasing risks from a number of factors including absent software supply chain security processes and from the rising complexity of software supply chains overall.
I would argue securing our supply chain is a matter of national security at every level. Having a strong manufacturing base is critical to producing goods and economic stability. The challenge is we are facing the perfect storm. Many manufacturers have bottlenecks and logistics backlogs. At the same time, there is a skilled labor shortage, increasing wages, and at the end of the spectrum we are struggling with the surge of rising costs.
The catch 22 is digital transformation can absolutely help address many of the critical challenges the manufacturing industry is struggling with today such as workforce shortages. Technology can help scale smart factory initiatives, heighten supply-chain resiliency, and provide greater opportunities for sustainability. The hindrance is this all comes at a time when cyberattacks are also on the rise.
What is needed is greater emphasis on the software elements of the supply chain as a critical security vulnerability, according to Juniper Research. The study also analyzed how both shifts in wider cybersecurity processes and the mindset around the management of software supply chain are needed to address these risks.
Additionally, it finds the introduction of digital elements to both product delivery and the traditional supply chain means that areas not usually considered part of the supply chain now need to be assessed for security vulnerabilities.
Going forward, manufacturers must continue to accelerate the use of emerging technology. It is either disrupt or be disrupted. At the same time, businesses need to keep a close eye on cyber trends to secure business. It will be very interesting to see what steps small and medium businesses take in the months ahead. The real question is where will you be in this journey?
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