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Protecting against supply chain attacks: how Continuous Controls Monitoring can provide assurance

Increasingly, businesses have two supply chains. There’s the familiar physical supply chain, along which physical goods flow—and then, in parallel, there’s an information supply chain, along which data flows.

But not always just data. Because connecting a business’s IT systems to those of its customers and suppliers can expose the business to threats, as well.

And as direct connections between buyers and sellers become more commonplace—supplanting connections traditionally made through intermediaries such as e-marketplaces and Electronic Data Interchange providers—the risk of being exposed to threats through supply chain connectivity is increasing.

No way back

The danger is very real. As recently as December 2021, for instance, retailer Sainsbury’s lost a week’s worth of payroll data, when its payroll processor Kronos was hit by a ransomware attack. American supermarket chain Wholefoods, and carmaker Honda North America were similarly affected by the same attack.

In short, seriously disturbing and potentially terminal for businesses linked to the IT systems of suppliers.

What to do? How can supply chain connectivity be made more secure? Because make no mistake, cutting back on supply chain connectivity isn’t an option: supply chain connectivity eliminates paper, increases efficiencies, provides instant insight into the whereabouts of orders and physical goods, accelerates supply chains, and helps to eliminate surplus inventory.

No one wants to go back to purchase orders sent through the mail, or hark back to the days of often-illegible fax transmissions which required typing into IT systems on receipt.

Technology-led assurance

The good news is that there is a way to increase the security of supply chain connectivity. A way delivered by the arrival of a new, technology-led approach to IT security, known as Continuous Controls Monitoring.

Deployed within an organisation, Continuous Controls Monitoring gathers—continuously, and in real time—all the data and evidence required in order to audit IT security, by continually monitoring all of the organisation’s risk management systems and internal controls, via automated telemetry.

It’s fast, it’s efficient, and it’s a far more robust approach to IT security than—say—questionnaire-based approaches focusing on qualitative data. If a part of the IT security apparatus isn’t activated, or isn’t operating within specified parameters, then Continuous Controls Monitoring finds it and reports it. In real time.

But here’s the interesting thing: it doesn’t have to be restricted to use-cases inside the organisation. Because it’s a technology-led approach, it can piggyback on supply chain connections in order to assess the status of the IT security apparatus at the other end of the connection. Suppliers’ IT security status, in other words.

An easy sell to the supply base

Would a business’s trading partners agree to such a thing?

Well, let’s turn that question on its head. Why would they not agree to such a thing?

Remember, the right to audit and assess suppliers’ IT security is written into many supply contracts.

If Continuous Controls Monitoring provides suppliers with a clean bill of health, then those suppliers receive a useful confirmation of the status of their IT security. And receive it without the disruption and inconvenience of a real, in-person audit.

And if Continuous Controls Monitoring doesn’t deliver a clean bill of health, then for the supplier in question, that’s vitally important information—for which they should be grateful.

Of course, if suppliers don’t agree to an audit but remain a critical supplier, at the very least the greater appreciation of the risk that they pose means the company can manage that risk with accurate facts and figures in order to make an informed risk‑based decision on the next steps. They could for example add in a layer of additional control, such as two-factor identification so as to ensure that they are the actual supplier and not a hacker. It’s a small step, but one that significantly reduces the risk.

But, as we say, why would suppliers not agree to Continuous Controls Monitoring?

A better way

Rightly, Continuous Controls Monitoring is being considered a gamechanger in IT security circles. And that’s when it is simply being deployed inside the organisation.

Deployed within the supply chain, though, and ‘gamechanger’ becomes something of an understatement.

A better way of assuring the IT security of supply chain connectivity? We think so.

To learn more, please call us on +44 (0)20 3962 2206 or request a call at a time to suit you.


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Liam Flavin

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Jason Wilkes

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Ian Waggott

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A very experienced and respected Senior Leadership Executive, with over 30 years’ experience in Information Technology, Information/CyberSecurity and Risk. Specialises in delivering business transformation, leading people through change and taking them on a journey to deliver and exceed company expectations. Highly regarded by his peers and colleagues across the globe. A very confident and effective communicator at CXO level, and valued as an expert presenter at numerous worldwide forums  . Across his career been in Senior CISO and leadership positions in Banking, Telco, Network & Utilities, Several UK Government Departments, 

Has extensive Cyber Security, Operational Risk, Compliance and Business Transformation expertise, gained across a broad range of industries. Former Director of Cybersecurity for CGI and CapGemini and Ex CISO for O2.

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Will has spent the last 9-years embedded in Cyber Security working with global, household names and innovative start-ups.

Passionate about bringing people and technology together, Will has worked in various settings, helping build high-growth organisations across multiple sectors. During this time, he has built an extensive network with access to some of the best talent out there.

Outside of QO, his young daughter keeps him well on his toes!

Shaun Barnes

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Mark Hudson

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Mark works with SMEs and charities to develop strategies to help them grow and access development capital. He is a NED, charity trustee and mentor to a wide range of people. His plural career started in 2017 after 16 years at pwc as a Deals partner working with large corporates and PE houses; at pwc he also ran the Retail and Consumer practice and was Chairman of the pwc UK Supervisory Board. Prior to pwc he was an executive director at Welcome Break and Iceland Group, and a partner at Bain and Company. He trained as an engineer at Imperial College and has an MBA from INSEAD. 

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Eamon Flavin

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Eamon is a highly regarded and massively respected technology career professional as well as serial entrepreneur. He has started, grown and successfully taken to market three technology business.

Genuinely expert in technology, Eamon has enjoyed long-term working relationships with many of the world’s top companies and organisations in finance, banking, government, manufacturing, engineering, technology and the charities sector.

He draws on unparalleled contacts and experience and provides advice, solutions and recommendations, as well as helping respond to emergencies. Eamon has grown in-house and client teams and has a gift for hiring great people.

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Peter has the ability to do what many fail to and that is to consistently bring together highly professional teams and build a business environment that is supportive, agile, professional and where everyone enjoys coming into the office.

Bringing a unique blend of business acumen and technical knowledge to the role of non-exec director, Peter has already demonstrated his ability to bring an exceptional flair for dealing with complex situations with a clear, considered approach.

Personally, Peter brings humility and a strong moral compass to the team. His disarming and self-deprecating approach wins everyone over.

Anwen Haynes

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Anwen has worked in B2B and B2C marketing for over 20 years. From transforming end-to-end customer journeys in retail with strategic customer-centric plans to target driven focused strategies for B2B sales. With extensive experience in digital marketing including SEO, as well as Brand development, she loves to develop a cohesive approach to brand image and communications to drive and develop the business proposition and perception.

Alice Walker

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Alice has worked in the IT industry for 20 years. Starting in Procurement, she moved into Software Asset Management before transitioning into Customer Success Management. Working across a variety of roles for different industries as both a customer and a service provider has given her a great understanding of what makes a great service. She has always been passionate about building and maintaining great customer relationships and helping her customers achieve their goals.

Owain Rowley

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Owain has spent nearly a decade building software solutions and products within the cyber security sphere for the likes of government entities, large telecommunication companies, banks and card transaction companies.

This level of experience allows him to swiftly identify business and security processes that can be streamlined with automation, increase the efficiency of existing processes, as well as generate insightful data visualisations and models for members of an organisation at each different level.

Ami Penolver

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Ami is a finance sector career professional, with many years’ experience working in financial services, both in London and throughout the UK. In addition to financial control, she looks after HR and legal for the company.

Being a mother of two also equips her with the basic skills required to manage a senior team of management and technology consultants.

Ami’s sense of balance and perspective is an essential ingredient of the Quod Orbis culture.

Alastair Dickson

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Alastair has spent the last 20 years working in Cyber Security and Risk Management. He is a passionate believer that security solutions should enable a business to take advantage of all the benefits of the digital world, while not putting the organisation’s data or productivity at risk.

Alastair has developed high-performing teams in some of the industry’s most competitive markets and launched new innovative technologies to market.

Being a rugby coach, and also having four sons at home, means he has lots of experience in keeping a passionate team in order but always has time for some fun!

Gary Penolver


Gary has 15 years’ experience in senior technology roles, and has already been closely involved in starting and taking two technology companies to market.

Totally comfortable with a fast-moving, state-of-the-art technical landscape, he helps his clients maintain and improve security and compliance.

He has a reputation for delivering pragmatic and easy to maintain solutions – business owners and managers enjoy knowing that the security and compliance is well managed and automated, properly instrumented and reported at a competitive cost point.

Honest, open, unflappable and very social, Gary is trusted by many household-name organisations to protect their, and their client’s data.

Martin Greenfield


Martin is an experienced technology and organisational transformation specialist and an excellent, proven leader and communicator in mission-critical operations, particularly in security technology.

Over the past 20 years, multi-billion pound commercial organisations, including global banks, utilities and major investment funds have trusted Martin to transform their operations to meet financial, operational and compliance targets.

Martin optimises operations, managing and transforming operational teams of between 50 and 500 people, to deliver the highest levels of audit compliance, risk management and financial efficiency.

Often working with other major consultancies and suppliers for new global corporate owners or management teams, Martin will help integrate and streamline operations on a global basis.

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