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31 July 2017

Why we need to consider supply chain disruption in our business continuity plans

By Dave Stallon, FSB’s commercial and operations director, 31 July 2017

With the onslaught of major cyber attacks waged against some big businesses, what is the fallout to small businesses who rely on these companies as part of their supply chain?

Imagine this scenario: as a small business you have followed the best advice about protecting your own business from cyber attack and you have put in place cyber protection insurance. You can’t, though, know if all the companies in your supply chain have weaknesses to cyber attacks or if they have adequate business continuity plans in place to minimise disruption if they should fall victim to such an attack.

The recent TNT case illustrates this point. TNT said it had a contingency plan in place, but even so, over a month after it fallen victim to a NotPetya cyber attack, the fallout was still hitting some small firms that relied on the company as part of their supply chain. Many remained in the dark over when and if they could expect their goods to be delivered.

The TNT case raises several important issues that we, as small business owners and the self-employed, need to consider:

Firstly, it’s another stark reminder of the dangers posed by cyber crime, and how small businesses can be affected by this - both directly, and indirectly. You can alleviate the risks of cyber crime being committed against you directly – by following the best advice and taking out specific cyber protection insurance. I’ve addressed this in previous recent blogs and FSB has specialist cyber protection advice available to its members.

It also highlights the impact of supply chain disruption which is one of the top disruptions to businesses according to the Business Continuity Institute. Globalisation means that the complexity of supply chains is increasing. Cyber attacks against any part of your supply chain can have serious impacts on your own business.

It’s crucial that you have a business continuity plan in place that takes into consideration how your business will continue if one or more of your suppliers are hit by a major incident, such as a cyber attack.

Business continuity planning is a fundamental part of running a successful and robust business. The frequency of major incidences whether natural or manmade disasters is increasing, and cyber-related incidences are a part of this picture. Recent events have shown that we should be more aware how major incidents hitting any part of the supply chain can affect us as small businesses, and how we may deal with those events.

FSB Business Essentials members have access to an expert package of business continuity plan guidance and advice.

FSB Business Continuity from FSB

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