Cybersecurity has become a key issue to consider for all sectors in the wake of the growing connectivity between physical and digital systems. The sensitive nature of defence data and the consequential national security concerns elevate the importance of data security for defence manufacturers. Suppliers in the chain often work with multiple companies. This makes several companies in the supply chain more vulnerable to just one fatal cyberattack, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Cybersecurity in Defense – Thematic Research’, reveals that small companies are often seen as sitting ducks for hackers, working as gateways to access the larger companies and defence companies are aware of the increasing threat landscape.

The number of mentions of cybersecurity by defence companies in their filings almost tripled between 2016 and 2021 to over 30,000, reveals GlobalData’s Company Filing Analytics.

Emma Taylor, Associate Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Cybersecurity is of great importance for every sector. However, the sensitive nature of defence data and consequential national security concerns elevate the importance of data security for defence manufacturers. Defence companies, although aware of the cybersecurity threat, need to be aware of the weakest link of their cybersecurity defences. Unfortunately, that is often outside their own company.”

Smaller companies often do not have sufficient bandwidth to effectively monitor, correlate and respond to breaches in a cyber secure fashion. Limited resources and a severe industry-wide shortage of trained cybersecurity experts only add to this pressure.

Taylor continues: “To counteract the threat of cyberattacks seeking sensitive defense data, companies are becoming increasingly collaborative in their approach, sharing information about attacks and breaches. They are also adopting a zero-trust security model that eliminates the concept of trust from an organization’s network architecture.”

Cyberattacks can severely disrupt supply chains. If operating systems (which any company in the supply chain is using) are compromised by cyberattacks, it will delay processes significantly.

Taylor concludes: “Supply chain disruption causes a knock-on effect that creates serious issues for both companies and militaries. More and more technologies used in defence need semiconductors to operate, including some missiles. This demand has outstripped supply, hitting the defence industry hard.”

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