Last week, Nasvhille welcomed over 2500 supply chain professionals for ISM's Annual Conference. The year's premier supply chain event featured over 100 sessions hosted by industry innovators and thought leaders. While discussions centered on a diverse range of relevant topics and trends, a few issues loomed particularly large. Cybersecurity was one such issue.

In their joint keynote address, General Keith Alexander (former Director of the NSA) and John Brennan (former Director of the CIA) provided their expert insights on the topic that's become an everyday concern for organization of all sizes.

Alexander opened by suggesting that companies develop a new approach to cybersecurity. It's imperative, he said, that the private and public sector begin working together to address the threat of data breaches and intellectual property theft. "Everybody's getting hacked," remarked Alexander. Whether they like to admit it or not, even the most powerful organizations are vulnerable to digital attacks. Many suffer through them without even knowing it.

To reduce uncertainty, Alexander urged companies to begin sharing information more freely. Looping in the NSA, he hopes, will help companies develop more effective plans for assessing and addressing cyber risks. Brennan noted, "the digital domain is 85% operated by the private sector, and there's currently no consensus on the government's role in that environment." Both agreed that it's time for the government's role to grow more concrete. Working alongside business, they can protect their mutual interests and create a more secure digital sphere for everyone.

Naturally, the discussion touched on the twin issues of privacy and civil liberties. Alexander maintained that - with the appropriate amount of transparency, it's possible to promote cybersecurity and protect personal privacy. He's optimistic that migrating to cloud storage will provide enhanced security for both data and private information.

"Lots of privacy and civil liberties have been given up already," acknowledged Brennan. He ensured ISM2018 attendees that increased transparency and collaboration is the best way to ensure things don't get worse.

How can things get better? Brennan and Alexander not only advocated for stronger alliances between the public and private sector, but encouraged companies to amend their hiring and training practices accordingly. It's up to businesses to ensure they're properly vetting employees to reduce the chances of breaches from within. Developing clear policies and processes, too, can ensure that each member of a breach response team is adequately prepared to address concerns.

Following their keynote address, Brennan and Alexander provided additional insights at the ExecIn Forum. Speaking to supply chain leaders, they emphasized the critical role Procurement plays in mitigating digital risk factors. Procurement's presence across the supply chain means its perfectly positioned to take a leading role in promoting more secure practices. The department can also easily align itself with IT to develop the appropriate strategies.

Want some help building a strong, secure Procurement department? Reach out Source One's Procurement Transformation experts today.

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