That’s logistics

My first proper job was in logistics, even if I didn’t realise it at the time. We called it distribution back then, yet on reflection it was there that sparked my interest in having the right product at the right place and at the right time. Even today I maintain the passion, despite having worked outside the industry for twenty years or so now and get excited when I get to think and talk about the subject. It’s a funny old world.

This is why I was so excited by the third of the ten events we have put on for #CyberFest this year. Working with the Port of Tyne (already exciting) the event was looking at the role of cybersecurity in onshore and offshore logistics.

We had two great speakers. Craig spoke about how complex onshore logistic operations have become and how the systems of each individual component organisation needs to be integrated, especially when you are dealing with goods that have a shelf life of hours rather than days or weeks. It is your weakest link in the chain that can let you down and is potentially the most vulnerable to online attack.

I was reminded of my days at Spicers when we would use EDI to log goods into the warehouse, allocating them shelf space or cross docking them to fulfill orders when they were still on the road and on their way to the premises. A shudder went up my spine when I thought of the added complexity that today’s marketplace would bring.

Andrew, the second speaker, told us of his experience working on ships and how everything is driven by electronics and I mean everything from controlling the lighting and TVS in the cabins to ensuring the ballast is level in the ship so it won’t topple over. Keeping the information technology separate from the operating technology is becoming more and more complicated and if you don’t know what you are doing, or indeed if you do know, you can cause significant damage.

The talks were followed by a great question and answer session including Ian and James. 

#CyberFest has three main elements, encouraging people into the cybersecurity industry, supporting the technical element and raising the profile of the problem, or opportunity, with businesses and the public. The last is probably the most important of the three as it creates the demand to draw more business and keep us safe, yet it is the hardest nut to crack.

Superb events like this one will help enormously and, if you weren’t fortunate enough to be there, it will soon be on the Dynamo YouTube.

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