Supply Chain threat / Internet shutdown for extended period of time

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Supply Chain threat / Internet shutdown for extended period of time

Post  Vadivelrajan on Thu Jul 01, 2010 1:14 pm

Are You Ignoring A Big Supply Chain Threat?

What if your most critical supplier suddenly had no Internet
capabilities for an extended period of time? What if there
suddenly was no Internet? How would your organization survive?

Think a long, worldwide Internet outage is impossible? Think
again.

The Internet is showing signs of vulnerability at a time when
business is depending on it the most. Last month, our website
was brought down for days by a DDoS attack. (Student access to
courses, though, was virtually uninterrupted thanks to the use
of a backup site.)

When a site like ours gets attacked the way that "household
names" like Twitter or CNN.com have, it shows that any supplier
of yours could be a target. But website downtime is only the
tip of the iceberg. I personally know of two companies whose
entire Internet capabilities for employees have been down for
months due to Internet security problems.

These types of situations are likely to become worse and more
widespread. In the book "Cyber War," authors Richard Clark and
Robert Knake write "If cyber warriors crash networks, wipe out
data, and turn computers into doorstops, then a financial system
could collapse, a supply chain could halt, a satellite could
spin out of orbit into space, an airline could be grounded.
These are not hypotheticals. Things like this have already
happened."

Governments are responding to this threat. But part of the
response may make you more concerned than at ease. For example,
the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010, if
passed into law, would give the President of the United States
of America the power to shut down the Internet for up to four
months.

Leading companies avoid depending too heavily on a single
supplier due to risk. But, if all of your suppliers depend too
heavily on the Internet, the potential for a long, worldwide
Internet outage represents perhaps the biggest threat to your
supply chain.

Are you prepared to conduct procurement in a world without the
Internet? You better be.

I suggest that you research the vulnerability of the Internet,
express to management any concerns about Internet
over-dependence, and use these steps to develop a contingency
plan for an "Internetless" supply chain:

* Ask your organization "How would we conduct business if the
Internet was unavailable to anyone for an extended period of
time?" Then, document those ideas and begin transforming the
document into an actionable plan.

* Ask your critical suppliers "How would you conduct business
if the Internet was unavailable to anyone for an extended
period of time?" and require formal, documented responses.
Scrutinize their responses and work with them to ensure
readiness.


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