Post Brexit supply chain cyber warning

Matt Horan, security director of cyber-security business C3IA Solutions

Businesses making changes to their supply chains post Brexit must ensure new arrangements are secure, a leading expert has warned.

Matt Horan, security director of leading cyber-security company C3IA Solutions, said some companies may overlook this aspect of any new relationship.

He said that some firms might be so keen to organise different suppliers that they could leave themselves open to cyber-attacks.

One vulnerability in a supply chain can have major knock-on effects at all other businesses involved.

Organising the architecture and information assurance involved in often complicated supply chains is a crucial component of reducing risk and ultimately ensuring smooth business.

Matt, a former Royal Signaller whose business is based in Poole, Dorset, and works across the public and private sectors, said: “This is a serious issue that could massively impact on business.

“Whatever happens with regard to Brexit, businesses are now correctly working to mitigate against supply problems, especially if a so-called ‘no deal’ exit occurs.

“Companies obviously want to ensure their work is unhindered and this has led in some cases to stockpiling and also to lining up new suppliers – possibly from outside the EU.

“While these transitions might maintain an effective supply chain it is imperative that security is not overlooked.

“We have seen the results of breaches in supply chains and one weakness can have major repercussions; if you drop a stone in a pond the ripples will travel right to the periphery.

“Existing supply chains might have been built up over years with special regard made to information assurance and security.

“But when putting links together in haste this is one aspect that might not have the priority it ought to.

“It is crucial that business remains smooth – but also secure.

“We work both in the UK and around the world and we see at first hand where vulnerabilities lie and how they are exploited.

“Whether the motive is financial – through ransomware for example – purely malicious, political or due to industrial espionage, any weakness will be identified.

“Whether your supply chain map looks like a cobweb or whether you do very little business abroad, the same warnings apply.

“In serious cases an attack could not only prove disastrous for business but could affect the nation’s economy.”