10 Ways to Reduce the Cybersecurity Risks for Your Vendors and Third Parties

BLOG 3 MINS | August 21, 2020
10 Ways to Reduce the Cybersecurity Risks for Your Vendors and Third Parties

With cyber attacks becoming more common, reducing cybersecurity risks is vital to keep your organization secure. Businesses need to strategize and plan accordingly to protect themselves and their clients.

Unfortunately, vendors and third parties are a point of vulnerability for cyber attacks. Companies are using more and more third parties each year, leading to concerns over cybersecurity risks. Below are 10 ways to reduce the cybersecurity risks for your vendors and third parties, leading to a more stable and protected future for your company.

1. Training

Training employees across departments and authority levels – both internally and externally – can go a long way in helping to prevent a cyber attack. Don’t keep your risk management program just to IT, InfoSec, or another dedicated department. Train employees across the organization to identify cyber attack methods, such as phishing emails, as well as to look out for areas of weakness or concern within an already existing program.

2. Response Plan

It’s important to plan ahead for how your team should react to a cybersecurity threat. Factors such as who exactly will respond in what way to minimize harmful impact needs to be decided beforehand. Still, the task of responding to and managing an attack or threat needs to be a team effort.

An important note to make about your response plan is that it needs to be implemented for long-term use. So even if key stakeholders are replaced – or even a whole team – you’re always prepared for the worst.

3. Framework

A vendor-focused framework outlines the regulations that must be followed in processing and monitoring sensitive data by third parties. The most important aspect of a vendor-focused framework is constant vigilance on your third-party risk. Many vendor and third-party risk management programs only focus on risk mitigation when contracts are signed. But cybersecurity risks can fluctuate greatly between due diligence and renewal, so keeping your vendor risk management framework updated is essential.

4. Cyber Risk Exchange

Knowing what information your vendors and third parties have access to and how they’re using that information can be one of the most vital ways to reduce cybersecurity risks. Using a cyber risk exchange gives organizations a way to access a community of shared vendor risk assessments, as well as detailed security, privacy, and compliance information with updates ongoing for more than 60,000 third parties and vendors around the world. The information from a cyber risk exchange gives insight into the ongoing security, privacy, and compliance posture of your third parties, enabling you to be in-the-know at all times.

5. Contracts

Contracts are a helpful medium to hold your vendors and third parties accountable to your cybersecurity expectation. Including clauses specifying the data protection expectations you have for your third parties can push them to update their processes and limit cybersecurity risks for the company.

6. Vendor Risk Assessments

A vendor risk assessment is essentially the process of identifying potential weaknesses in vendors and analyzing how those weaknesses could become threats. In a vendor assessment, both the vendor and the product or service must be evaluated in order to gain a clear picture of the risks involved. If a business decides the risk is too high for a third party, they can renegotiate terms during the recertification phase or terminate the contract. By doing either of these steps, the business has reduced the change of a cybersecurity breach.

7. Compliance

Being in compliance with common regulations will ensure you’re doing everything you can to minimize risk. The whole point of these requirements is to protect the company, employees, and consumers from cybersecurity threats.

Employee onboarding and payroll are just a couple examples of areas with high vulnerability. Departments that have access to and process sensitive personal data are likely targets for attacks. Keeping in compliance will limit the risk of that sensitive data being exposed.

8. Ongoing Improvement

Constantly updating and improving cybersecurity based on pinpointed areas of concern is critical for success. When you update your risk management program, you’re identifying holes and creating solutions to fix those holes. This in turn will help reduce the risk of a cyber attack. With technology expanding almost every day, constant security improvements is the perfect way to initiate better cybersecurity with your vendors and third parties.  

9. Technology

There is so much technology out there to help you reduce your cybersecurity risks. As a result, it’s difficult to discuss it in one short paragraph. That said, it’s important to always keep the simple things in mind: roles-based access controls to limit access to certain information to specific employees and multi-factor authentication to make it harder for bad actors to gain access to sensitive information. 

10. Insurance

Cybersecurity insurance is a growing trend. Court cases over this issue have proven time and again a need for cybersecurity insurance to protect companies from the fallout of cyber threats. So to mitigate risks, an insurance policy to cover cybersecurity should be strongly considered. 

Prepare for Cybersecurity Risks Now

Concerns for cybersecurity will drive additional spending for 40 percent of companies in 2020

Reducing cybersecurity risks for your vendors and third parties will be a prominent part of that spending. If you’re looking for a powerful and easy-to-use technology to streamline vendor risk assessments, the OneTrust Vendorpedia Third-Party Risk Exchange may be right for you. Schedule a demo today to learn more.


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