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What to Do When Your Vendor Is Susceptible to Cybersecurity and Data Incidents

Jul 17, 2019 by Lisa-Mae Hill, CTPRP

In today’s tech environment, it’s common to outsource a product or service to a vendor who specializes in that area. Typically, it makes the most economical sense for a business, too. But what about when you find out that a vendor you’ve outsourced to is more susceptible to cybersecurity/data breaches and incidents?

An incident can be anything that affects the confidentiality, integrity or availability of information or an information system. Incidents happen. It’s inevitable. The key to minimizing the impact is discovering them quickly and having a plan to address them fast and effectively.

7 Steps to Protect Your Organization from Cybersecurity Breaches

We recommend you take the following 7 steps to protect your organization:

  • Increase    vendor oversight. Even if the vendor is well-known, if they’re vulnerable then you need to increase your due diligence efforts. Monitor them more frequently, request more information, request they strengthen controls, etc.

  • Write a breach notification clause into the contract. This way the vendor has to notify you immediately of a breach.

  • Review their Incident Management Plan. You want it to be detailed and include intrusion protection, firewalls, confirmation that anti-malware products are in place, etc.

  • Confirm they have cybersecurity insurance coverage. Errors and omissions, cybercrime and sabotage are just some insurance coverages that offer a level of risk transfer and protection against cyber exposures.

  • Continue to perform security tests. These tests include vulnerability testing, penetration testing and social engineering.

  • Review the vendor’s data retention and destruction policies and data classification and privacy policies. Ensure they meet your expectations, particularly the level of data protection that the vendor can guarantee.

  • Ask them if they’re keeping your data encrypted. This helps to prevent unauthorized access.

Today, many companies are investing heavily in their cybersecurity programs but often forget to invest in ensuring their vendors are doing the same. By taking the necessary precautions and understanding your vendor’s cybersecurity posture, you can reduce the risk of your vendors and contractors becoming your weakest link.

Remember, by failing to properly manage your vendor cybersecurity risk, you could become vulnerable to a breach and the regulatory, reputational and financial consequences that come with it.

What happens if your vendor suffers a data breach? Be prepared. Download the eBook. 

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Lisa-Mae Hill, CTPRP

Written by Lisa-Mae Hill, CTPRP

Lisa-Mae is an experienced cybersecurity analyst with experience in both the private and public sectors. She has held the role of Subject Matter Expert and Information System Security Officer for a government based contractor and has extensive experience in Certification & Accreditation, CIS Critical Control Implementation and Auditing, Security Assessments and cybersecurity Policy. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology Management from State University of New York Delhi paired with many hours of additional cybersecurity and industry related training. She is also a Certified Third Party Risk Professional (CTPRP).

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