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Cybersecurity

6 Tips for Managing Vendor Cyber Risk

May 1, 2019 by Josh Steil
According to Venminder’s 2019 State of Third Party Risk survey , one of the biggest hurdles organizations foresee this year is assessing third party cybersecurity. This comes as no surprise given the increased focus on cybersecurity, in recent years, due to many data breaches and system attacks. Therefore, it’s important to understand how to best manage vendor cyber risk.

How to Manage Vendor Cyber Risk


Here are six tips for managing vendor cyber risk:

1. Establish a list of your vendors which have access to your information or systems. It’s impossible to manage what you don’t know, so maintaining an up-to-date list of vendors is the first step. 

2. Remember, cyber risk  isn’t one size fits all. Categorize your vendors according to sensitivity of the information and systems they have access to.

3. Establish levels of review and monitoring in line with the risk the vendor  poses. A vendor’s access to your information or systems, and the sensitivity of that information, should determine the depth of review and how frequently reviews occur.

4. Know that there should be ongoing reviews. Managing cyber risk is a forever moving goal and ongoing monitoring is the only way to stay on top of it. Keep in mind, threats and methods of attackers change to overcome new defenses; therefore, ongoing reviews ensure that your vendors are staying on top of these emerging threats.

5. Establish a list of fourth parties, also known as your vendor’s vendor, that process or have access to your data or systems. Here are 3 reasons why:

  • It’s increasingly common for companies to outsource parts of their processes. As the list of entities that have access to your information increases, so does your risk.
  • Ensuring that your vendors monitor their vendors is critical.
  • If the sensitivity of the data or the access to your systems and infrastructure is high, then it may make sense that you verify the cybersecurity measures in place for fourth party vendors.

6. Have cyber risk insurance. Cyber risk insurance provides protection for cyber risk and cyber-related events. Two things to keep in mind:

  • If things go wrong, cyber risk insurance is often your last line of defense.
  • There are several types of cyber risk insurance. Contact your insurance carrier to determine the right type and amount for your organization.

By following these six tips, you’re on track to help protect your organization from vendor cyber risk.

Do you know how to handle it if your vendor has suffered a data breach? Download the infographic. 

10 best practices when handling a vendor data breach

Josh Steil

Written by Josh Steil

Josh is an experienced network administrator with a driving passion for logical and physical security with an ever-growing knowledge of compliance. Prior to his role with Venminder, he administered the entirety of North American IT operations for a multinational corporation. He brings over seven years of hands-on experience with day-to-day planning, implementation and execution of IT operations covering multiple, disperse offices with an emphasis on information security knowledge. He has earned a technical degree in Network Administration and Engineering and paired it with multiple certifications such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) and Associate Business Continuity Professional (ABCP).

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