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September 21, 2023 - Today’s complex global supply chain has a heightened risk of potential security breaches at every stage of the value chain. In 2022, the number of supply chain attacks surpassed malware-based incidents as more than 10 million individuals were impacted from supply chain targeted cybersecurity events. As this risk continues to rise, it’s imperative that organizations proactively prioritize measures such as supplier due diligence, cybersecurity, and risk assessments to mitigate vulnerabilities.
In our third installment titled CTPAT risk assessment: Why it matters, we cover the importance of conducting and implementing a risk assessment for organizations interested in participating in Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) program including identifying potential security vulnerabilities in the supply chain, evaluating the likelihood of a security breach, and developing a comprehensive risk mitigation plan.
As we continue with part four of our series, we focus on the mandatory CTPAT security training requirements employees must undergo, including security awareness training, instruction on adhering to CTPAT security guidelines, and familiarization on the organization's security policies and procedures.
The CTPAT program is a joint initiative between the US government and the trade community that aims to strengthen supply chain security and reduce the risk of terrorist attacks on US soil. The program provides several benefits to participating organizations, including expedited processing of cargo and reduced inspections at the border. However, to become a CTPAT member, organizations must meet several requirements, including the implementation of a comprehensive security training program for their employees.
CTPAT security training requirements
Training is a critical element in any organization because it results in fewer mistakes, better employee-management relations, and a better final product or service. Having a well-trained team ultimately leads to a more profitable and efficient workplace.
The CTPAT program requires participating organizations to provide security training to all employees involved in the supply chain. The training program should cover several areas, including security awareness training, training on CTPAT security guidelines, and training on the organization's security policies and procedures, including cyber and agricultural security.
Security awareness training helps employees understand the potential risks to the supply chain and teaches them how to identify and report suspicious activities. The training should cover topics such as the importance of security, the role of employees in maintaining security, and the warning signs of suspicious activities.
CTPAT security guidelines
CTPAT security guidelines are a set of best practices developed by the US government and the trade community to enhance supply chain security. These guidelines cover several areas, including physical security, personnel security, and information security. Organizations must ensure that all employees involved in the supply chain are aware of these guidelines and understand their importance.
Organization’s security policies and procedures
Organizations must develop and implement comprehensive security policies and procedures to ensure the security of their supply chain. The security policies and procedures should be tailored to the specific needs of the organization and should cover all areas of the supply chain, from the point of origin to the point of destination. Training should also cover different subject areas, including newer CTPAT requirements such as cybersecurity, agricultural security, and forced labor. Employees must receive training on these policies and procedures to ensure they are followed consistently.
Effective security training development
Developing an effective security training program is critical to meeting the C-TPAT security training requirements. Here are some recommendations for organizations:
- Conduct a needs assessment
Before developing a security training program, organizations should conduct a needs assessment to identify the specific training needs of their employees. The assessment should consider factors such as job roles, responsibilities, and the level of involvement in the supply chain.
- Comprehensive plan
Once the training needs have been identified, organizations should develop a comprehensive training plan that includes all the necessary training components, such as security awareness training, training on CTPAT security guidelines, and training on the organization's security policies and procedures.
- Use a variety of training methods
Effective security training programs use a variety of training methods to engage employees and maximize learning. Methods such as classroom training, e-learning, videos, and simulations can be used to provide different learning experiences for employees.
- Monitor and evaluate
Organizations must monitor and evaluate their security training program regularly to ensure that it remains relevant and effective. Feedback from employees can be used to identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments to the program.
Providing security awareness training, training on CTPAT security guidelines, and training on the organization's security policies and procedures, organizations can ensure that their employees are equipped to identify and report suspicious activities, follow best practices for supply chain security, and maintain the security of their supply chain.
In part five of our CTPAT series, BSI’s Security & Resilience experts will highlight maintaining and improving CTPAT compliance. Catch up on the entire series with part one: Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism Series Part 1: What is CTPAT and what are its benefits.
Also read our Supply Chain Risk Insights Report series as Tony Pelli weighs in on the benefits of supplier diversification to reduce risks within your supply chain. For more BSI insights on other EHS and digital trust topics, visit our Experts Corner. For real time updates on top supply chain issues, register for BSI’s Connect SCREEN tool; this platform provides daily analysis on the latest and most relevant global supply chain trends.