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Charles PoffVP of Information Security, FourKites

When it comes to data sharing and collaboration, the supply chain ecosystem still has some weak links.

Within each mode of the supply chain – from the yard to ships to air freight and everything in between – data is siloed. And it is rarely standardized across these siloes, meaning interoperability between various stakeholders is limited or nonexistent.

To make matters worse, the industry is also plagued by hesitancy and even defensiveness around data, with companies viewing their data as a competitive edge or a security vulnerability, to be protected at all costs.

While these fears are natural, they are also standing in the way of the tremendous benefits of data collaboration, which can be done safely and securely today.

Data Sharing: Everyone Benefits

Breaking down the silos between various supply chain modes has downstream advantages for everyone involved.

The Benefits of Secure Data Sharing:

1. Build Resilient and Agile Supply Chains

The end-to-end visibility and intelligence facilitated by data sharing allow companies to plan more strategically and accurately than ever before – as well as mitigate any issues they see coming a mile (or a thousand miles) away.

2. Improve Customer Satisfaction

Customers, who have come to expect swift and precise shipping experiences, will be happier as they become more proactively informed.

3. Increase Employee Productivity and Satisfaction

Employee satisfaction can also enjoy a boost as workers can spend less time on the phone and email tracking down shipments and more time on efforts that benefit the business and their professional growth.

The benefits are clear. So, how do we engender the trust that will help companies adopt this level of collaboration? It requires a multi-tiered approach, encompassing partnerships and policies designed to make data sharing safer and still within each stakeholder’s control.

Establishing Trusted Partnerships

Do Your Due Diligence

At the partnership level, due diligence is key. Companies should ensure that all data sharing partners are legitimate to guard against bad actors looking for any weak links in their supply chain.

Create a Privacy Agreement

The next step is trust. A helpful starting point for establishing a trusted data-sharing relationship is a privacy agreement – which should meet or exceed the minimum security requirements for every stakeholder’s comfort level.

Security Requirements to Consider

So, what should those requirements be? A good place to start is the Minimum Viable Secure Product (MVSP) checklist – a baseline set of criteria for secure products, updated annually, that can apply to any size company. Companies should evaluate any potential partners on their data privacy, encryption, controls, monitoring, and incident response, among other capabilities.

Ideally, data-sharing partners would go even further, both administratively and legally. For example, FourKites adheres to European Union (EU) data privacy standards, including safe harbor model clauses on data privacy and protection. Especially for our European partners, this is a key differentiator in an industry marked by apprehension around sharing.

Investing in Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is an essential ingredient of trustworthy data collaboration – ideally, one that all partners will embrace equally.

At FourKites, we recommend that our customers use one of several secure integration methods that keeps data safe, including direct application programming interface (API) integration with our platform.

Even more, FourKites has an encryption mesh layer across all our products. All our microservices communicating internally are heavily encrypted, both at rest and across the wire – meaning if a bad actor tries to steal our data, the data will be useless because it’s encrypted.

Certifications such as System and Organization Controls (SOC) 2 and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards on data privacy and cloud security also raise the bar, demonstrating to our customers, partners and competitors how seriously we take security.

Supply chain companies can also demonstrate their commitment to data security by hiring for it. Any company with information security experts in the C-Suite – a CSO, CISO, or even a VP of information security – has made a tangible investment in protecting themselves, their partners, and their customers.

Ensuring Transparency

The last piece of the trust equation is transparency.

In addition to the Data Privacy Addendum (DPA) FourKites signs with each of its customers, we also provide FAQs on the guidelines we follow, including an FAQ on our adherence to the EU’s Schrems II ruling. And our legal agreements are available right on our website.

Supply chain partners who are open about their privacy and cybersecurity practices can participate in data sharing and collaboration with confidence – and reap the benefits.

Embrace the Exchange (of Data)

No man is an island – and in today’s increasingly connected world, neither is any company. By embracing safe administrative, legal, and cybersecurity practices, every partner along the supply chain can enjoy greater business efficiency, higher employee satisfaction, and stronger customer loyalty.

It’s time to tap into the power of data sharing and raise up the entire ecosystem, together.

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Contact us to learn more about how FourKites can unlock your data’s potential.

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