Many organizations in today’s digital landscape are heavily reliant on third-party vendors who help carry out delegated operations. A third-party vendor could be a company or entity that provides certain services to your organization. Vendor cybersecurity assessment helps to improve operational efficiencies in a cost-effective manner.
Third-party vendors act in accordance with a contract to provide products or services to your customers on your organization’s behalf. For ease of delivery, they typically have access to sensitive data such as company, customer, and employee information.
However, as much as these vendors have become an essential part of many organizations’ business operations, they also pose a significant cyber risk. Vendors, as earlier stated, have free access to vital company data and critical systems which, if mismanaged, can expose your organization to serious cyber threats. This is why it’s crucial that you conduct vendor cybersecurity assessment.
A third-party cyber risk assessment can help safeguard your entire technology ecosystem. Here’s why a vendor cybersecurity assessment is critical.
What is Vendor Cybersecurity Assessment?
According to an Opus and Ponemon Institute study, 59% of companies have experienced a data breach due to one of their vendors or third-parties. Given the huge implications of a possible breach— and the fact that phishing attacks and other cyber scams have increased because of the Coronavirus pandemic — it’s more important than ever that you consider a potential vendor cybersecurity posture before you sign on the dotted line.
A third-party cyber risk assessment works by providing an in-depth review of your vendors’ network security. The assessment is an evaluation and approval process that organizations use to determine if prospective vendors and suppliers can meet laid down standards and procedures once under contract.
The assessment helps your organization understand the level of risk associated with using a certain third or fourth-party vendor’s product or service.
Monitoring your organization’s internal cybersecurity posture is mandatory, but companies often overlook their vendors’ cybersecurity posture. It’s important to identify your vendor’s potential vulnerabilities just as you examine yours.
According to a 2019 eSentire survey, nearly half of all organizations that experienced a data breach was caused by a third-party vendor. Therefore, it’s important to monitor your vendor’s cybersecurity position to avoid data breaches caused by poor risk management practices.
However, it’s crucial that organizations understand that when a third-party vendor experiences a data breach, the responsibility falls on the organization — not the vendor — to take on related costs and reputational damage.
Therefore, organizations have the responsibility to manage vendor risk and their cybersecurity profiles on a regular basis to ensure they maintain a healthy IT infrastructure.
3 Best Practices for Vendor Relationship and Risk Management
In the digital world, relying on business partners or vendors to provide critical services is not strange. But you must note that your cybersecurity is only as strong as your weakest vendor.
Unfortunately, third-party data breaches are occurring more frequently than ever before. The results of a third-party data breach can be disastrous for your business, customers and business partners. In vendor relationships and risk management, here are 3 best practices to keep in mind:
1. Conduct a cybersecurity risk assessment
Working for a new vendor for the first time? One of the most important things to do is conduct a cybersecurity risk assessment. The purpose of a risk assessment is to identify and weigh the risks new third-party vendors bring in so that they can be prioritized. This allows organizations to allocate the proper funds and resources to mitigating the possible threats that may surface through these vendors.
2. Establish a vendor risk management framework
One of the easiest ways to align third-party vendor security programs with your organization’s risk standard is to establish a vendor risk management framework. Common frameworks including NIST and ISO will help to provide standards across the organization. This will be done by identifying which third-party vendors pose the greatest risk and require an immediate response.
3. Continuously identify, monitor, and manage risk
Regular monitoring is key to maintaining an effective third-party cyber risk assessment program. Just as cyberspace threats are constantly evolving, due diligence must be consistently performed.
Even if your organization performed extensive due diligence at the beginning of the vendor relationship, new risks are likely to pop up from time to time. Instant and continuous visibility into the cyber health of your third-party vendors ensures you have the most up-to-date security intelligence at all times.
Below are key areas to monitor when it comes to vendor cybersecurity assessment:
- Supplier and vendor information management.
- Corporate and social responsibility compliance.
- Supplier risk management.
- IT vendor risk.
- Anti-bribery/anti-corruption (ABAC) compliance.
- Information security (infosec) compliance
- Performance measurement
- Contract risk management.
Benefits Of Vendor Assessment
Although the vendor assessment process can be challenging, the benefits outweigh the demands and efforts required.
Vendor cybersecurity assessment is important because managing risks is foundational to ensuring cybersecurity, business continuity, and maintaining regulatory compliance. A robust vendor cybersecurity assessment can help your organization quickly mitigate third-party and fourth-party risk rather than relying on incident response.
Vendor cybersecurity assessment is essential for the following reasons:
- It helps you identify third-party vendors and their associated cybersecurity risks. Vendor risk assessment is the first step to identifying and mitigating risks posed by vendors.
- Vendor monitoring ensures that compliance requirements are being met and to enhance third-party vendor contracts.
- It aids development of a prioritized and actionable plan for vendor risk mitigation following proper assessment that will expose shortcomings.
- A third-party cyber risk assessment can help safeguard your entire technology ecosystem including finding low-risk sources for high-quality goods and services.
- It also helps in the development of mutually beneficial, long-term business relationships.
Securing your critical data and systems isn’t just a one-off event. Hackers are working around the clock to find ways into systems to access financial, health, or government data. That’s why you need to know where the weaknesses and vulnerabilities are in your system, so you can quickly nip them in the bud.
However, professional cybersecurity assessment companies are needed to properly coordinate and carry assessment on your vendors.
Take the first step by signing up for a free vulnerability scan from RSI Security. After assessing your systems for potential weak points, you’ll then receive your own custom Cyber Risk Assessment Report. Your Cyber Risk Report will include network vulnerability, web vulnerability and dark web scan.
RSI Security’s free vulnerability assessment is a limited-time offer. This is part of our core mission to empower businesses and organizations of all shapes and sizes to protect themselves and their customers from constantly evolving cyber-threats.
In addition, an expert at RSI Security will help you develop a tailored cybersecurity improvement plan based on any gaps detected during the vulnerability scan. Don’t wait until a hack to find out where your weak points are.
Fill out the form today to get your free vulnerability scan and Cyber Risk Assessment Report.
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