Organizations must commit serious resources to protecting platforms integral to supply chain continuity and develop internal programs to promote data security best practices among users.

Warehouse management software can support next-generation shipping and receiving processes such as automated palletization and sorting. However, like most web-based enterprise tools, these solutions are vulnerable to hacking. Such activity has increased in recent years as nefarious coders search backend systems for vulnerabilities that will allow them entrance. Hackers executed more than 1,000 high-level attacks in 2016 and made away with over 35 million sensitive files, according to research from the Identity Theft Resource Center. Such assaults are bound to grow in volume as these cybercriminals develop newer, easy-to-deploy digital vectors.

With this in mind, organizations must commit serious resources to protecting platforms integral to supply chain continuity and develop internal programs to promote data security best practices among users. Fortunately, there are some tried-and-true methods for achieving these goals, some of which come at little or no cost.

Secure endpoint devices
System users normally gain access through endpoint devices such as desktop computers, laptops or smartphones. Warehouse workers and management staff might also use barcode scanners in addition to these items. To ensure total system security, businesses must keep a close watch on endpoint devices, according to InformationWeek. How? Stationary devices such as desktop computers should have login requirements and be subject to strict company usage restrictions. For instance, the chief information officer might require users to sign out of the WMS after entering data so as to avoid piggybacking. 

Of course, organizations with mobile workflows or bring-your-own-device policies will have to take extra steps. Again, device management systems can come in handy here, allowing information technology staff to track active smartphones or scanners with WMS access. More fleshed out device protocols are also usually required. These could include penalties for disciplinary actions for instances of device mismanagement, along with detailed directions for dealing with items owned by departing employees.

Focus on password design
Passwords are the first line of defense against hackers. Yet, many users show them little regard, sacrificing security for ease of use. Data collected on the subject confirms this conclusion. Last year, analysts for the Verizon Security Research evaluated all of the data breaches recorded in 2015 and discovered that almost two-thirds were the result of ineffective credentials, Dark Reading reported.

Companies can avoid suffering such breaches by simply giving employees the knowledge they need to put together a strong password. What does one of those look like? Lengthy passwords with evenly distributed capitalized letters and special characters work best, according to Wired. Additionally, users should never repurpose credentials from an existing portal, as this not only puts the business at risk but also compromises their private information, allowing hackers to seek out other accounts and gain entrance via the common password.

IT leaders would be wise to cut back on password update requests as well. Why? First off, there is no evidence that shows regular updates improve system security. Secondly, the practice encourages negative user behavior, as employees fly through the password creation process knowing they are just going to have to change their credentials in the near future. Instead, administrators should force changes sparingly and encourage users to really engage with the process and come up with confounding keys they can use for months or years to come.

Promote general data security awareness
In addition to lending advice on password creation, organizations should promote data security awareness by hosting regular training sessions on the subject. These courses should include instruction on the various infiltration methods most hackers employ, according to the data security firm Kaspersky Labs. This way, workers can spot possible intrusions and help maintain best practices on the floor.

Businesses using WMS solutions in open shipping and receiving facilities are encouraged to touch on the issue of foot traffic, according to Explore WMS. Why? A large number of attacks can be attributed to unauthorized individuals who enter warehouses and other sites and steal company data directly from available devices. Employees who are aware of this problem can help police the premises and look out for new faces with harmful intent.

These security strategies can rescue the supply chain from breach-induced collapse, saving enterprises considerable resources. Of course, companies that partner with F&A Data Systems can count on tried-and-true digital defenses, as we collaborate with data security standard-bearers such as Dell, Microsoft and Oracle when crafting our warehouse management software. Want to learn more about how our secure WMS solutions can transform your warehouse operations? Connect with us today.