Risk increases for IT supply chains

23 October 2012

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23 October 2012 | Anna Reynolds

IT supply chains will pose a major risk to businesses in future and will be one of the top three security-related concerns by 2017, according to research by global IT advisors, Gartner.

Living in a world without trust revealed that changes in the IT marketplace mean supply chains are now more complex and globally distributed, which leaves them increasingly open to compromise.

Many companies specialising in computer hardware are outsourcing manufacturing and design to suppliers and contractors located in emerging economies, including Brazil, Vietnam and Indonesia. The report said this could lead to problems because hardware systems are made up of components purchased from several individual providers.

Ray Valdes, vice president of research at Gartner, said: “IT supply chain integrity issues are expanding from hardware into software and information. They are growing more complex as IT systems are assembled from a large number of geographically diverse providers and, now, of mainstream concern to enterprise IT.

“These issues are not just about defence and intelligence. 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.”

Risk is further increased in the software supply chain, according to the report. It highlighted that software components, such as virtual machines, can easily be cloned. Now that information is available from a variety of sources, including Twitter, Facebook and Google Maps, this can be incorporated into connected applications, which could affect the security of the data.

The report urged companies to make changes to protect their IT systems by adopting strategies such as cloud computing.

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