How to protect your IT supply chain

Managing an extensive IT supply chain can be difficult and time-consuming. Over the past decade, this has become even more of an issue with government-mandated regulation around cyber security and data protection becoming mandatory for businesses around the country.

For organisations that utilise IT service providers, they must ensure that they protect themselves in a variety of ways. Supply continuance, regulatory compliance, and relationship maintenance are all necessary to make sure that your business is protected from supply chain issues.

Protecting and managing your supply chain is just as important as ensuring that your own systems are well-built and maintained. Keep reading for a few ways in which you can protect your IT supply chain.

Prepare a backup supply

One of the most basic ways to protect yourself in the event of a supply chain issue is to have a backup plan. Being prepared for a service outage or technical issue can make a huge difference when a problem inevitably arises.

Speak to your service provider and discuss with them how you can prepare for these problems. In most cases, they will be able to provide this for you, but it might be necessary to build an on-premises solution or speak to a separate provider.

Ensure providers meet regulatory requirements

When you’re selecting or assessing your IT suppliers, it’s important to make sure that they meet necessary regulatory requirements. These could be standard requirements or those specifically required for operating within your business’ industry.

This is especially important if they handle sensitive data on your behalf, as a data breach on their behalf would negatively affect your business.

Industry certifications such as ISO, NIST, and PCI DSS are great to look out for, but there might be more specific regulations for your industry. Don’t be tempted to take them on anyway as the cost of a regulatory breach would exceed some slight cost savings made by adopting a cheaper supplier that isn’t certified.

Assess suppliers properly

It’s vital that you assess a supplier properly when you’re first working with them. You should also assess them regularly once a contract is in place to ensure that they are meeting their regulatory and contractual requirements.

We would recommend using a 3rd party for this, as it provides an objective viewpoint and ensures that any findings aren’t clouded by prejudices or bias.

Make sure that you have this written into the contract at the outset. If it isn’t something that the supplier agreed to contractually, they may be resistant to doing so, especially on short notice. Failing to do this can lead to difficulties in the relationship and potentially cost your business more money and lead to supply chain problems in the long run.

Require strict service level agreements (SLAs) & service level objectives (SLOs)

Similar to regular assessments, you should discuss and agree on clear SLAs and SLOs at the outset of your relationship with a supplier.

This ensures that any problems are dealt with at the speed that is required for your business to operate safely and effectively. Make sure that when you set these SLAs that they fit with your own regulatory and business requirements.

Consider whether you need every supplier

The more suppliers you have in your supply chain, the more opportunities there are for problems to occur. As part of your regular supplier assessments, carefully consider whether you truly need each supplier.

More often than not, each supplier you utilise will be providing an invaluable service and level of expertise that your business otherwise wouldn’t have. However, a bloated supply chain can lead to management difficulties and an overreliance on external infrastructure. It can also make supply chain management unnecessarily complex and expensive.

Concerned about your company’s IT supply chain? Wizard IT are a fully managed IT service provider, specialising in providing a one-stop-shop for businesses that want to simplify their supply chain. Get in touch with us today to speak to one of our Microsoft-certified experts. They will be happy to talk you through our offering and answer any questions you might have.

If you would like to chat about your Businesses needs, get in touch with our IT experts.

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