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As more and more cyber threats present themselves in the digital landscape, companies need to be more careful about how they exchange information and who gets to access them. This is crucial if you don’t want to experience any data breaches that could easily destroy your company’s reputation and even result in bankruptcy.

One vulnerability that many companies fail to realise is working with third parties like vendors, partners, and suppliers. Working with these agencies and companies can be a likely target by cyber criminals, especially if those third parties don’t have stringent cybersecurity measures in place. Since third party vendors usually have access to at least some of your important data like trade secrets and client information, you are taking on the associated vendor risk of a data breach. This article will explore vendor risk assessment and how you can protect yourself from possible data breaches through third parties.

System Credentials

System credentials are the data that grants access to other resources or capabilities in your network. The impact of a credential breach is typically high, and so is the associated risk level. Basically, a credential breach is like opening the floodgates for hackers and cyber criminals, giving them the means to access everything your third-party vendor can and more.

As a company, you need to better understand what types of system credentials exist, why they matter, and the potential consequences of their exposure. This allows you to effectively take action to control this information and prevent possible data breaches. If you let your credentials be exposed, you’re opening yourself up to a number of attacks that could easily undermine any security measures you may have.

Supply Chain Attacks

A supply chain attack targets an organisation by infiltrating or attacking through a third-party vendor. You should realise that you don’t exactly have complete control over how that vendor handles your information every time they access it. This is where the risk comes from, and the problem is, it may not be apparent until there is already malicious activity in your system.

Third-party risk has always existed even before cyber-attacks become a common occurrence. That’s why nowadays, many cyber security consulting firms offer vendor risk assessments to see if whoever it is you’re working with has the potential of being breached by outside threats.

Standards for managing risks related to suppliers/vendors

There are a number of international cyber security standards that have listed the vendor risk assessment as one of the key requirements. Annex A.15.1 of ISO 27001 is about information security in supplier relationships. The objective here is protection of the organisation’s valuable assets that are accessible to or affected by suppliers. Annex A.15.2 is about supplier service development management. The objective in this Annex A control is to ensure that an agreed level of information security and service delivery is maintained in line with supplier agreements.

Similarly, the National Institute of Standards and Technology( NIST) Cyber Security Framework has listed supplier management as a requirement in the Identify phase.

ISO 27036 is dedicated to Information Security for supplier management. SO/IEC 27036 is a standard for providing guidance on the evaluation and treatment of information risks involved in the acquisition of goods and services from suppliers.

What Steps Can Be Done to Reduce the Risk?

Since you have very minimal control over third-party vendors, they could be exposing your business to risk in a number of ways. If they leak data via their own systems or, worse, have access to your system and leak information there, the consequences could be catastrophic. In fact, there is a pretty broad spectrum of risk involved here. One of the best ways to reduce or even eliminate that risk is by initiating a vendor risk management strategy that involves:

  • Proactively monitoring your own company’s technology and cyber security measures.
  • Using a formal process to onboard all your third party vendors and educate them about the importance of data security in your organisation.
  • Continuously monitor their risk levels to your business through a combination of automated security ratings and vendor security questionnaires.
  • Probe even deeper to learn if your vendor has fourth-party vendors, their associated risk, and your exposure to them.

SIMPLE IT GRC Software is equipped to manage third-party risks.

Our IT GRC Software Solution is a comprehensive GRC solution that is equipped to manage risks related to vendors and suppliers.

Our online assessment module can build customised portals for vendors. The questionnaire for vendors can be added to the portal. Vendor Risk assessment workflows are built in our GRC software.

The risk identified in the third-party risk assessments can be listed in our Third-party risk management module.

Our GRC software can provide a dashboard displaying the overall risk posture related to third parties/vendors.

Conclusion

The threat of cyber-attacks is always evolving, whether it be for companies or individuals. The risk of being attacked and your data exposed is even higher whenever you’re working with any third-party vendors, given that you have very little control over them. By recognising these risks, you’ll learn what it takes to protect yourself from them and to make sure your vendors are not exposing themselves and you to any potential data breaches. Additionally, it is highly recommended to manage these risks in an innovative way to keep real-time track of the vendor/supplier/third-party risks.

Rabbon is a cyber security services and solutions provider that focuses on identifying and mitigating and critical cyber risks to your business. We provide a holistic approach to cyber security through our cloud security services, enterprise security, GRC compliance consulting, and vendor risk assessment. Contact us today to learn more about how we can protect your data and your business from possible threats.

Cybersecurity is what we do

Rabbon is a Cybersecurity company based with offices in Sydney and Melbourne. We lead a team of Cyber security Consultants and GRC Consultants, who help organisations become cyber resilient by providing access to effective and affordable cybersecurity services. We believe that “Cybersecurity is for everyone

You can contact our Cyber Security Consultants for an obligation free consultation.

Phone : +61 2 80513207

Email: [email protected]