How well do you know your third-party vendor?

Most companies in today's economy rely on third-party vendors to help support their business model. There are many benefits when it comes to outsourcing certain aspects of your business to a third-party vendor. They can offer you their expertise on solutions to enhance business workflow or offer specialized products that can be branded and sold to your clients. Outsourcing to a 3rd party vendor can save you both money and time depending on who you choose to partner with. On the downside, they also typically have access to your sensitive data which, if not properly vetted, can be a huge risk. We live in such an interconnected world that a breach of one business can lead to a breach of hundreds or thousands of others, including you.

There have been increasing amounts of ransomware attacks on businesses this past year. One business that underwent a ransomware attack is Kaseya VSA, a remote monitoring and management, endpoint management and network monitoring solution. Their breach not only affected them, but it also had the potential to affect 1500 other global businesses.

Although it is impossible to eliminate the risk of your business or your third-party vendor getting breached, there are some ways that you can reduce the likelihood.

Reduce your chances of a third-party breach

Thoroughly evaluate the vendor before partnering

When choosing between third party vendors it is important to make sure that they know their expectations when working with you and you know theirs. Think about it like this you would not give some random person the keys to your house, you would make sure they are trustworthy first. Your vendor will gain some access to your sensitive information, so you want to make sure that they have reliable security measures in place to keep your data safe.

Keep a list of all the vendors you are using

Keeping an active list of all your vendors is very important. By keeping a list, you can easily check in on specific vendors you are working with and what access that they have to your sensitive information. For very large companies this can be very useful to help keep track of all the vendors and keep measurements on risk assessment. This way if any vulnerabilities arise with your vendor, you know which information of yours could be at risk.

Continuously monitor your vendors for any new security risks

Although you may look into the security measures of a vendor when you first partner with them, security risks are constantly changing, and new ones arise quickly. By performing audits and penetration tests on your network regularly you can track vulnerabilities both on your end and your vendors. This is a more proactive strategy that can help you to recognize a flaw early on and get it secured.

Establish a Least Privilege Policy

A least privilege policy will only allow your vendor to receive privileges needed to complete their task. They will only receive access to information that will enable them to complete their role, and anything outside of that will not be given. This policy is a great way to ensure your sensitive information isn't in the hands of a vendor who may not have the same security standards as you.

Third-party breaches take place at an alarming rate every year. An eSentire Survey found that 44% of all firms have experienced a third-party breach. This is why it is important to be aware of the risks involved and form a vendor risk management strategy to prepare for any future situations. For any questions about third-party breaches, contact Usherwood at 800.724.2119 or click here!