Fulfillment & Third Party Logistics Blog

Food and Beverage Supply Chain Technology Security

Food and Beverage Supply Chain Technology SecurityThink of all of the different passwords you type each day. One for your work email, personal email, bank account, to get into your phone and don’t forget about logging into Facebook, Pandora and Netflix. There is no denying the importance of data security today with the massive amounts of personal information we store and access electronically. It has become fairly routine, simple and effective to manage our personal access points on our different devices, but when it comes to the expanding Internet of Things (IoT), supply chain management is much more complex.

The simple fact is that in the link between any type of connected device, from automated resources to servers to tablets and phones, there is the potential for a cybersecurity issue. As the number of these devices continues to grow, so will the opportunity for data breaches and other security problems. However, the trade-off of this heighted security need is over shadowed by the new capabilities that the IoT provides. RFID, sensors, automation and cloud computing all allow fulfillment centers in the competitive food and beverage sector to meet increased consumer demands. Mobility and visibility are two of the biggest advantages that these tools provide, and more are being developed. Gartner predicts that by 2020 there will be over 26 elements connected within the Internet of Things.

So while there is an expected, and needed, growth in the amount of connections and devices that will make warehouses, fulfillment processes, transportation and overall logistics more efficient, there is the underlying fact that this carries a significant risk as well. This why it is so important to develop an effective security platform that can mitigate dangers for these new technologies.

A recent Yankee study shows that the largest portion of enterprise IT spending is allocated to staffing. This is because current security models are so labor intensive. However, with the rise in adoption of cloud computing, more sophisticated security software and measures are available to companies of any size. As security resources become more widely available, security models are beginning to transition.

Understanding where different threats originate is a crucial element in any security strategy. Below is a basic six step outline for a layered security model that addresses any potential cyber threat.

1.)    Policies: These are rules that control how users (employees) interact with the network and various components.

2.)    Physical Security: Includes any feature that prevents access to a particular network or set of resources. Examples are: gates, locks, port block-outs, keycards, etc.

3.)    Network Security: This includes any element that protects the internal network. Firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention tools, switches and routers, and more are all examples of network security.

4.)    Computer Hardening: This layer of defense makes it difficul for a computer to be compromised. Examples are: anti-virus software, host intrusion systems, deleting unused applications, installing protocols and services, and keeping unnecessary ports closed.

5.)    Application Security: By having measures in place, you can ensure that the applications you utilize are not corrupted or pose a threat to the rest of your operation. Industrial control system applications and following the concept of AAA (authentication, authorization and audit) are ideal ways to keep your applications secure.

6.)    Device Hardening: Restrictive access and change management are both key methods to securing the different devices that access your network and share data.

Layered security describes a defensive strategy featuring multiple defensive layers that are designed to slow down an attack. While the constant growth of technology means there is no “silver bullet” to prevent any and all breaches, attacks or losses, having a layered strategy can position your technology to be well protected.

There are no signs of technological developments slowing down, and no decline in the growing abilities of connected devices. As such, the new capabilities offered by these advancements are making it possible for fulfillment centers to meet consumer demands and offer more services. With a focus on secure technology, Barrett Distribution Centers offers customized supply solutions for the food and beverage industry. For more information, click here.

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Topics: food fulfillment, Technology