The Defence Industry Security Program (DISP) serves the purpose of assisting businesses in addressing the risks associated with providing services, products, or capabilities to the Australian Defence Organization (ADO), whether directly or indirectly involved.
Managed by the Defence Industry Security Office (DISO), the program aims to guide and assess businesses that may play a role in the intricate supply chain for Defence. DISP guidance and assessment cover a spectrum of areas including processes, procedures, information technology (IT), cyber security, physical security, and personnel security.
Integral to broad risk management, DISP contributes to navigating the complexities and challenges within which Defence operates to achieve its objectives. It leverages Defence's experience and expertise in managing complex and security-conscious environments to assist Australian businesses in enhancing their security measures.
Through the security measures implemented across the supply chain, DISP contributes to enhancing the resilience, security, and assurance of Defence's sourcing arrangements. This collaborative effort helps create a more secure and robust foundation for Defence's operational requirements.
The importance of a protected supply chain
Given the multifaceted interactions involved in acquiring, producing, storing, and delivering defense goods and services, any disruption at one point can have a cascading impact globally. The interdependence of various components and the increasing threat of cyber-attacks further compound the risks associated with the Defence supply chain.
Recognizing the complexity and associated risks, especially with the growing cyber threats, the supply chain becomes a critical factor influencing sovereign capability and national security. The Australian Productivity Commission (PC) released an Interim Report in March 2021, focusing on Vulnerable Supply Chains on a global scale and assessing Australia's resilience to disruptions in these chains. While the report addresses global supply chains, the principles outlined are equally applicable to any sector of the economy, including the Defence supply chain.
The resilience and robustness of the supply chain are crucial for the effective protection of national interests by the ADO. Managing the risks associated with potential disruptions or compromises within the Defence supply chain is imperative for sustaining national security.
Many different cybersecurity-related issues exist in the Defense supply chain. Lack of integration, both internally and externally, between buyers and suppliers can result in frustration and may lead to less secure and less efficient means of communication. Storing supplier, inventory, and procurement information in different systems can lead to inefficiencies and errors.
The exchange of information between suppliers and buyers often involves large files, posing challenges with attachment size limits in email and potentially compromising supply chain efficiency when using automated systems not designed for collaboration. The rise in the number of cyber actors, their effectiveness, and their motivation to disrupt or attack supply chains pose a significant challenge. Small supply chain members may find it increasingly challenging to defend against advanced threat vectors.
These and many other issues take a significant toll on the Defense supply chain, creating a multitude of potential issues for both the government and the companies. This is the reason why DISP exists in the first place, producing various guidelines and benefits for its users who are involved in business with Australian Defence.
DISP membership levels and categories
DISP defence has four different member categories to choose from, as well as four different membership levels. The categories are Physical Security, Security Governance, Personnel Security, and Information/Cybersecurity. The membership levels range from Entry Level up to Level 3, with the higher level dealing with more sensitive and secretive information.
DISP membership is mostly mandatory, but there are also circumstances where it is strongly recommended but not required. If an Australian business working with Australian Defense provides security services for Defence facilities, has contracts with Defence, transports or stores weapons, and/or works with classified assets/information, then the DISP membership is mandatory.
Membership in the Defence Industry Security Program (DISP) offers substantial benefits to Defence supply chain organizations, including access to Defence Security services, access to valuable training and advice in terms of current security trends, and even the ability to sponsor government-level security clearances for personnel.
The comprehensive and rigorous nature of the Defence Industry Security Program (DISP) membership application process reflects the program's commitment to ensuring that businesses can meet stringent cybersecurity requirements. Organizations must undergo a thorough evaluation to demonstrate the adequacy of their processes and systems in meeting cybersecurity standards.
All things considered, DISP is a rather sophisticated compliance standard, and trying to meet it on your own can be extremely difficult. As such, there are solutions such as Kojensi that offer a validated and accredited Software as a Service (SaaS) platform designed for the collaborative sharing of sensitive and classified information. It has obtained the necessary endorsements to meet the compliance and security standards mandated by the Defence Industry Security Program (DISP).
This platform provides a secure and compliant environment for the collaboration and storage of files and documents, extending its capabilities to handling information classified up to and including Australian Government PROTECTED status. It can offer extensive auditing capabilities, comprehensive logging, data compartmentalization, customizable data access controls, and plenty of other advantages.