Partnering with supply chain service providers is a little like inviting strangers into your home, putting all of your most prized possessions out on the table for them to see and then leaving the room. Can you trust them? Will they be as compelled to protect your valuables (i.e. your business) as you are…even when you’re not looking? Your success in ecommerce relies on the security of your data and the continuity of your business. Where are the weak links in your chain?
3 key things to know when looking for good supply chain partners:
1. Consumer Privacy Legislation is no joke
2018 was a pivotal year in consumer privacy legislation and we should only expect the topic to grow in importance as our phones, smart home speakers, intelligent personal assistants and other connected devices become the norm in managing our daily lives. Failing to comply with these new policies leaves online merchants financially exposed even if the breakdown in data protection was with one of their 3rd party service providers. Make sure your partners are prioritizing privacy legislation and implementing procedures to protect your customers and ultimately your business.
DID YOU KNOW…
- Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which took effect in May of 2018, not only protects European Union (EU) citizens living in the 27 member states, but also those purchasing U.S. products living in the U.S. or anywhere else around the world.
- The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) is one of the broadest online privacy laws in the U.S., affecting companies across the country that do business with California residents. Many states will propose new legislation in 2020 following California’s lead and in some cases with more stringent guidelines.
2. When they are down, YOU are down
When data stops flowing, regardless of where it happens along the chain, your reputation and revenue are at risk. Service providers should have an established disaster recovery and business continuity plan as the basis of their reliability. The complexities of modern systems means 100% uptime is harder to come by; however, a high-quality, high-availability infrastructure should be somewhere between 99% and 100%. Many cloud vendors set their Service Level Agreement around 99.9% availability, also known as “three nines uptime”. The more nines you add, the more reliable the system. Here’s how it breaks down:
It’s important to know that some providers will exclude scheduled downtime for system maintenance which would skew the numbers.
3. Seek a culture of security
Just as job seekers search for a positive workplace culture, merchants and manufacturers should be on the lookout for partners who foster a culture of security within their business. Protecting customer data and the supporting infrastructure goes far beyond the IT department. The entire organization should be receiving ongoing training and testing on security best practices as it relates to their specific roles and responsibilities.
According to security software firm Trend Micro,
Take the time to find partners you can trust with your valuables and eliminate any weak links from your supply chain. Your business and, more importantly, your customers are counting on it.