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Ruth Snowden (CIFFA) and other Supply Chain/Logistics Experts Share Their Expertise
by Jane-Michèle Clark
Jun 02, 2020
Last week we were featured on a podcast that was listened to live by hundreds, and was streamed to over 45,000 supply chain and logistics experts, over 10 streams, around the world. Our panel consisted of:
- Vicky Bagwalla, Managing Partner at Cloud Managed Networks
- Craig Gaulton, Director of Operations at Ingram Micro
- Stuart Pearson, Vice President, Contract Logistics at Think Logistics Inc.
- Ruth Snowden, recently-retired CEO and Executive Director of the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA)
Some of the key points raised:
- One of the biggest challenges faced by freight forwarders today is employees working from home on their personal computers having to connect to company and client networks. It puts the network and all client data at risk of a security breach. It may be a COVID-19-19 challenge today, but things are not going back to the way they were anytime soon and we need to be prepared in terms of policies, practices in better security from the edge to all endpoints, some of which are now devices shared with family members.
- The rate it takes to ship goods has not really changed much over the past 30 years. Although there have been incremental improvements, it still takes a freighter a certain amount of time to cross an ocean or a plane to fly cross country. What has changed dramatically, however, is the amount of data freight forwarders are required to retain and transmit and this – and the speed at which that data needs to be transmitted.
- There has also been exponential growth in the amount of data that needs to be transmitted from customer to freight forwarder to carrier, to government regulatory bodies and back. For example, the Canada Border Services Agency has an e-manifest program for goods coming into Canada. Shippers have to provide security data, customs data and content detail right down to the part number, before the goods leave overseas with marine cargo – and that is just at the house bill level. And all of that data needs to be accurate, timely and secure… at a time when hackers are realizing the value of intercepting such data.
- Most of that data originates with the customer. Everyone is still heavily invested in EDI even though all shippers are not ISO compliant yet. For instance, there are still firms using scanned waybills that think they have gone digital. This unevenness of data transmission can cause problems if data has to be re-keyed – after all, humans have been known to make the occasional mistake.
- The other thing that has changed is customer expectations in terms of information related to that data. Transparency requirements have increased dramatically. Today customers expect to know where their cargo is at any given point in time – right down to that proverbial part number.
- As more data moves to the cloud, there still a lot of fear around data security. Trusting a third party with proprietary data is a real hurdle for some companies to overcome; for some this prevents transitioning to a cloud-environment.One of the concerns for clients migrating to the cloud, is the ability to access that data immediately, whenever needed. Cloud providers will get redundancies, bandwidth, accessibility on demand. 40 – 50% of companies have implemented some kind of cloud environment, whether that is from a backup perspective, hosting certain applications, certain financial solutions etc. What that means, however, is that the other +50% have not. That begs the question, “Why not?” Beyond scalability and availability, is fear – the fear of that data being guarded and housed by someone else.Cost is also big factor, but the costs have come down – but companies also need to consider the cost of storing the data themselves and managing servers and networks to house and protect that information.
- Regardless, there needs to be some investment and encrypting data, using different authentication models, even securing the transmission of data for inputs and outputs. That being said, one of the big challenges seen in supply chain today is underinvestment in network and security infrastructure. There needs to be more open dialogue between the supply chain managers and the CFOs and the CISOs so that all risks and mitigation strategies can be considered within the company’s broader strategic direction and imperatives.
- The National Institute of Technology (NIST) in the US created the Cyber Security Framework to give organizations a roadmap to follow to help prevent, detect and respond to cyber attacks. Many companies use this as a path for moving forward, recognizing that investment in secure networks that will facilitate the smooth flow of information, goods and funds is every bit as much a journey as the one made by the products themselves.
- One thing all panelists had in common was a belief that network robustness and cyber security are key concerns – and can make the difference between goods flowing or things coming to a standstill. A key step that company should take regularly is to invest in network assessment and security audit. (Note: This is something that we do regularly for clients and would be happy to help you with, too.)
These are some of the key points raised in this webinar. If you like to learn more, please click here to listen to the full recording, or feel free to contact us.
In the meantime, we hope you are able to enjoy happy and healthy Canada Day whether you celebrated that yesterday or have the long weekend ahead of you.
Happy Canada Day from everyone at Cloud Managed Networks!