Dark networks have provided a measure of security to supply-chain operations for a couple of decades.

These networks are closed to the outside world, only accessible via the connections between enterprise systems – think warehouse management, enterprise resource planning, etc. – and the rugged mobile devices carried by workers within these environments.

And, everything is managed by on-premises device management products that never connect beyond the business’s facilities.

Over time, more and more third-party participation has been introduced to your operations. Vendors connecting and sharing in business transaction data are one example of where third-party risk has been introduced. There are many other examples.

As a result, dark networks, or even modern private 5G networks alone, don’t mitigate as much risk as years ago. An expanded strategy of prevention and remediation is necessary.

Is now the time to make your move?

Headlines decry the increased vulnerability of supply-chain operations. Naming them isn’t necessary, because you know them, but the trend is real as evidenced by a 26% increase in supply chain breaches last year.

You have held out for years – but is it time to start embracing the cloud?

Perhaps you have had the conversation that would justify cloud migration based solely on the financial benefits. While many businesses benefit from a SaaS-based cloud model purely because predictable operating expense (OpEx) is lower on an annual basis compared to the capital expense (CapEx) of a single, larger license purchase.

The financial arguments are valid, but they don’t directly correlate to your team’s day-to-day. Still, we have all seen what can happen when a security breach brings operations to a grinding halt. Cloud solutions help mitigate that risk. Consider app patching: achieving 100% patch coverage across on-premises systems is a big effort consuming a lot of time and the risk of missing a single system or location could leave the business exposed. A cloud-based solution helps you deploy a patch much faster, more efficiently and comprehensively.

Of course, preventing a breach is the most desirable outcome of your operational security strategy, but what happens (not if but) when there is a breach? A breached cloud-based system might shut down that service, but not necessarily your whole operational tech stack. By comparison, containing a threat that has penetrated on-premises systems could mean shutting everything down to contain and remediate.

Start your transition with endpoint management

It might be best to start your cloud journey with endpoint management: MDM or UEM, whichever level makes the most sense for your operations. Zero-trust cloud solutions with geographically regional hosting help keep your data local – a firm requirement for organizations ranging from healthcare to critical infrastructure. This also helps reduce geopolitical risk to your operations.

It’s a big step to consider migrating to the cloud, especially from the comfort of the dark networks we’ve trusted in supply-chain operations for a generation. The security enhancements are just one area where it may yield advantages for your operations. Benefits to your IT bandwidth and opportunities for innovation are others – but more on those to be delivered in future blog posts.