Companies today are re-evaluating how they manage supplier relationships, for a number of reasons. Many organizations have experienced unexpected interruptions in their supply chains over the past few years, whether due to natural disasters or political unrest, because the global financial crisis forced key suppliers to close their doors, or because tight liquidity prevented suppliers from scaling to meet the company's new levels of demand.

At the same time, businesses have become increasingly aware of the potential impact of cyber risks on their supply chain, thanks to incidents such as the data breach at a Target supplier, which put the personal data of 70 million Target customers at risk and damaged the retailer's long-standing reputation.

In the past, senior executives might have asked, "How likely are we to experience a supply chain disruption, and how much would it cost?" Today they're also asking, "How quickly could we recover from such an event?" And rather than focusing the bulk of their attention on the risk that a particular disruptive event might present, senior executives are now looking broadly at the resilience of their supply chain. A growing number of companies—cognizant that no measures can fully assure them of preventing a supply chain disruption—have sharpened their view of risk management over the past 18 to 24 months to focus more on understanding their path to recovery if and when crisis does strike.

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