The ongoing pandemic has created stress points for the global supply chain for information and communications technology (ICT), in part because company’s lack of deep insight into their supply chains, according to a new report released last Friday by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

The analysis by CISA’s ICT Supply Chain Risk Management Task Force, which includes government and industry members, found three key areas where ICT supply chains have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic: over reliance on lean inventory models, companies not knowing who junior level suppliers are and where they are located, and over reliance on single source, single region suppliers.

“This report on the impact of COVID-19 on the global ICT supply chain further underscores the unique challenges companies face when transparency into supplier dependencies is not entirely clear,” said Robert Mayer, senior vice president of Cyber Security and Innovation at USTelecom, a broadband association. “The economic benefits of lean inventory models in a ‘business-as-usual’ environment fade significantly when a major pandemic-like disruption occurs. The task force partnership with industry and government is committed to striking the right balance between the cost of greater security and resilience and global competitive economic pressures.”

A survey conducted by the task force shows that 76 percent of respondents say COVID is their biggest ongoing risk, with cyber threats next at 44 percent, restricted or sanctioned entities at 36 percent, natural disasters 30 percent, and single supplier or country concentration risks at 28 percent. As for future risks, COVID remains at the top followed by cyber security, the report says.

As for onshoring production within the ICT industry, the analysis says 42 percent expect a major increase within the next year and 36 percent a slight increase, the report says. Looking five to 10 years out, the percentage of respondents expecting a major increase in onshoring fell to 36 percent and those forecasting a slight increase rose to 42 percent.