What you need to know about software security and its impact on your supply chain

The Year Ahead: Opportunities and Challenges Coming to Your Supply Chain

Now that 2019 is upon us, we wanted to take time to look at the exciting opportunities and new challenges that will appear in the supply chain in 2019. Over the next several articles, we will be taking a deep dive into many of these opportunities and challenges. This series will hopefully educate you and prepare you for some of the biggest challenges facing your company.

Understanding Security

The first challenge we will discuss this week is security. As the complexity of the supply chain grows, the security of your customers and products is exposed. In the past, companies would only have to worry about physical security. However, with the advent of Supply Chain 4.0 and the Internet of Things, digital security has become a necessity. How can your company be prepared for the cyber-attacks of the 21st century?

Trust but Verify?

Older companies in a less technological world have long relied on Privileged Access Management (PAM) for protecting their important data and assets. The ideological principle behind PAM is “trust but verify.” PAM is a little tricky to understand. Imagine a high-tech luxury apartment building. If you are visiting a friend in this building, there are certain areas of the building that are off limits. The typical procedure would look something this:

  1. You verify your identity with the doorman.
  2. The doorman calls your friend.
  3. Your friend comes down and escorts you to the correct room.

This would be Access Level 1. Now imagine you live in the apartment building. You would be given an access card for the general building facilities: the lobby, the garage, and the gym. However, you would only have access to the floor and room that is yours. Your access card only gets you into specific approved areas. You would not have access to management or cleaning service rooms. This is Access Level 2. Now imagine you own the high-tech apartment building, you would have full access to the entire building, all rooms and floors. This would be Access Level 3. Privileged Access Management works a lot like this building. The correct access is granted once your identity is verified. Those privileges extend until they are revoked.

Never Trust, Always Verify

With the growing complexity of the smart supply chain, Privileged Access Management no longer is the best way to keep your company secure.  With PAM, once a hacker has passed through the first level of security, they often have access to the whole system. Instead, security experts now recommend an approach called “Zero Trust.” This new approach to digital security differs from PAM’s “trust but verify.” Instead it takes the approach of “never trust, always verify.” Zero Trust takes each entry into the system on a case by case basis and only allows the minimum privilege for that user. With so many connected devices and systems, allowing the least access possible to users is the safest option.

Imagine our high-tech apartment building again. With a Zero Trust Security System, if you lived in the apartment building, you would have to request access to your room every time you came home. The owner of the apartments would verify your identity and give you access only to your room. If you wanted further access to other amenities of the building, you would have to be re-verified and given only the access you need. This “never trust, always verify” approach seems extreme. But with the ever-connected smart supply chain, this granular approach could be the difference between security and a dangerous breach.

Zero Trust will tighten up your systems and make sure that each outside vendor and supplier has only the access they need to accomplish their goals while protecting your customers and their data.

Be Proactive!

To many companies only start to care about security after a breach has happened. Don’t dismiss security concerns! Understand how they work, the difference between older security protocols and new ones, and how to implement Zero Trust into your network. 


What is Supply Chain 4.0?

The whole world is always looking for the next big thing. And your company is looking to be on the cutting edge of technology. As we come into the year 2019, one of the biggest new terms is Supply Chain 4.0. You may be wondering what it is and how we got to version 4? Hopefully this article will help fill in some gaps in your knowledge and give you the information you need to take your company to the next level.

Supply Chain 4.0 stems from another term, Industry 4.0. Before we can understand how Supply Chain 4.0 works, we must understand the revolutions that have been happening in the industrial sector. Industry 1.0 (water and steam power) kicked off a huge growth in the sector, and Industry 2.0 (assembly line and mass production) brought products like the car to the general public. Industry 3.0 was the start of adding computer automation to industrial production. 4.0 continues this move towards computer dominated infrastructure by adding cloud services and AI machine learning. The ability for a computer to be connected to every other computer opens a whole world of new technology for the Logistics industry. Supply Chain 4.0 is the beneficiary of this technology and becomes faster, more precise, and more efficient.

What is Supply Chain 4.0 capable of?

Take a moment and think of the advantages Supply Chain 4.0 can bring to your company. Because human error has been removed from a lot of the processes, orders can be more specific and precise. This means more choice for your customers! Because of advances in computer automation, shipping your products to customers in rural areas has never been easier. Logistics is now no longer stuck in metropolitan areas. The supply chain can reach even the most remote of your customer base. Connected computers and machine learning have also increased the data available to your logistics department. Computers can take these trends and variables and create meaningful optimizations and money savers. For example, the system can proactively make decisions based on common shipping hazards such as weather, time zones, and multiple trucking companies. Another new technology that uses computer learning is predictive shipping. The computer can analyze trends in supply and demand and proactively ship orders to stores before a customer even orders something.

How can you take advantage of Supply Chain 4.0?

Currently, Supply Chain 4.0 represents a work in progress. A lot of these ideas are possible but are not ready or available now. Over the coming years, the industry will see more adoption of Supply Chain 4.0’s principles and systems. So how can your company start to take advantage of this technological leap? One of the easiest entry level ways is through a Transportation Management System (TMS).

Transportation Management Systems like Propel TMS are one of the leading ways to move your company forward into Supply Chain 4.0. Propel uses the cloud technology of Supply Chain 4.0 to manage your shipments, carriers, and freight bills. Studies have shown that on average, a company sees a 9% reduction in shipping costs and a 12% reduction in freight savings when switching to a TMS. If you are a shipping manager, you will love Propel’s real-time tracking and supply chain visibility. Because of these tools you will see your order accuracy increase and your shipping errors decrease. If you are a transportation manager, you will love Propel’s tracking of carrier data and built in robust report functionality. With these tools, you can track which carriers are working best for you and use Propel’s data set to make proactive business decisions for future growth.

Does a TMS like Propel sound like the right move for your company? If so, you can introduce your company to the benefits of Supply Chain 4.0 today! Visit propeltms.com and get a demo from one of our TMS experts.