Like any business overall, or just a team within one, your procurement department has to be highly aware of its data security posture on an ongoing basis. Mopst organizations simply aren't doing enough to protect themselves on this front and your team may need to be far more proactive about dealing with these issues.

How can you do that? The following suggestions should help:

1) Make sure everyone knows about new purchases before they're completed

Especially if you are bringing a new supply chain partner into the fold for your operation, it's critical to make sure all other departments at your company are set up to deal with them appropriately, according to ISACA. In most cases, being extra-cautious about this sort of thing is just due diligence, but sometimes through no fault of their own, supply chain partners can increase your risk of a data breach, and everyone should be apprised of how the partnership could change the landscape.

Is your supply chain data sufficiently locked down?Is your supply chain data sufficiently locked down?

2) Put together a list of everyone who will be involved

Along similar lines, it's always a good idea to make sure everyone who will be a stakeholder in your supply chain and procurement operations is logged in a shareable online document so there's no confusion about who's dealing with what, and when, ISCACA added. With this information in hand, it becomes far easier for people to manage the data security risk.

3) Understand your vulnerabilities

When you know the various companies with which you may be sharing data, it's easier to identify risks both internal and external, and to react to them appropriately, according to CSO Online. Of course, this is not a set-it-and-forget-it proposition; you will need to ensure you are constantly assessing threats and taking steps to mitigate risk on an ongoing basis.

4) Make the right security investments

With the above in mind, you will be able to get a clear understanding of where you may need to make changes to your internal software setup, around things like data sharing, antivirus programs, firewalls and so on — all of which should align to ensure cybersecurity concerns are kept to a minimum, CSO Online said. When you have the right programs in place, even major threats can be kept to a minimum.

5) Get as much visibility as you can

Once you have addressed your own potential security shortcomings, you should also reach out to your supply chain partners and work with them to do the same for their operations, according to IndustryWeek. The greater your understanding of security up and down the supply chain, the better prepared you will be when risks do arise.

6) Have contingency plans

It's important to keep in mind that no security plan is foolproof and even if you've invested millions, just one small misstep or overlooked detail can bring about a costly data breach, IndustryWeek advised. For that reason, you need to have a response plan for all kinds of different breach contingencies so you are always reacting appropriately.

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