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Breaches and ransomware happen, but until an attack detonates, all predictions about breach damage and fallout are educated conjecture. One can’t be completely certain of the consequences of an event until it plays out. During in-depth risk modeling, however, security teams identify their systems’ dependencies and interdependencies with other systems, providers, clients, and so on. What this means is that at any given time, organizations carry the risk of potential events that could affect their operations, or even an entire supply chain, depending on the nature of each threat. This scenario is termed a cascading or correlated failure, as a breach or other kind of threat spreads from ground zero to clients, partners, and suppliers.
The Whole Supply Chain is Affected
Your organization doesn’t even have to be the source of the problem in this scenario. You may just be part of someone else’s cascading failure. Supply chain risk moves in every direction that data moves in a business process flow and may even have tertiary risks or outcomes. Often, organizations view their risks as unique to their own environments, failing to think through bigger scenarios or potential future outcomes. For example, it’s hard to imagine that Starwood Hotels had any concept of the downstream impact their corrupted systems would have on the future acquirer who integrated with their systems. On this side of the breach and failures, however, Marriott Corporation (the eventual acquirer) would undoubtedly encourage organizations of all sizes to think through your supply chain risks very carefully at every stage. No one wants their brand debilitated by the mire of regulatory violations, lawsuits, fines, and loss of consumer trust for years to come.
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