IT supply chain integrity a major concernA recent study revealed that supply chain integrity will be one of the top three security concerns by 2017. The report, titled "Living in a Works Without Trust: When IT's Supply Chain Integrity and Online Infrastructure Get Pwned," was conducted by Gartner Maverick Research and highlights the concerns many companies have about their security in the future.

"IT supply chain integrity issues are real, and will have mainstream enterprise IT impact within the next five years," said Neil MacDonald, research vice president and Gartner fellow. "Enterprise IT systems must begin to make changes today to protect their systems and information in a world where all IT systems are suspect."

Cost reduction may contribute to concerns
As companies race to find the lowest manufacturing costs possible, they may put themselves at risk for encountering security issues. By sending manufacturing operations all over the world, companies take chances with the integrity of their products. There have been plenty of news stories about counterfeit electronics entering the market, and malware or counterfeit hardware being installed on computers before they ever reach consumers.

It can be hard for businesses to prevent these types of issues. When a company is outsourcing its manufacturing to China, yet sourcing parts from all over South America and Southeast Asia, it's sometimes impossible to find out where the security breaches are coming from and how to stop them.

Hardware not the only problem
While some companies are finding problems with the hardware in their goods, it's not the only place security issues can occur. Because the world's technology is increasingly relying on software products rather than hardware, companies need to watch out and ensure the quality of the software they're bringing to the market.

Stopping the problem
As companies continue to seek out the greatest cost savings they can, staying on top of product integrity is increasingly important. Considering the number of security issues many large corporations have experienced with their products in the past few years, it seems that no technology can rest assured thinking its supply chain is perfectly fine. Because the risks increase as a supply chain becomes more complex and spreads all over the world, it can be hard to stop a problem once it starts.

"IT supply chain integrity issues are expanding from hardware into software and information," said Gartner's research vice president Ray Valdes. "This has significant implications for businesses, governments and individuals moving forward in a world where the integrity of the IT supply chain is no longer completely trustable, and where all layers of the IT stack will be targeted for supply chain compromise."
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