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Do You Really Understand Your Vendor Security Risk?

September 29, 2020

The roles and responsibilities of InfoSec leaders in 2020 are continually changing, which can present quite the challenge for teams working to mitigate vendor security risk. As SaaS organizations continue to grow and partner with vendors – and as many organizations shift to remote working environments—new cloud-based vendors can muddy the already murky waters of vendor risk management.


The Growing Challenges of the SaaS Era 

Every single connection your organization makes that shares employee or customer data with another company is considered a vendor partnership. In the modern SaaS era, where nearly every business function requires some cloud-based tool or connection, the number of vendors accessing your team’s data could be in the dozens or even hundreds.

Although many InfoSec teams take serious precautions to stay apprised of new vendor risks, it takes one employee clicking ‘I Agree’ on their corporate server to compromise their organization. Understanding the inherent risk presented by the modern SaaS environment is the first step in understanding your overall vendor security risk.


Understanding Third-Party Risk

Once an InfoSec team knows exactly how many vendors they’re working with and what value these vendors are providing, it’s time to look at the potential risk. While your team may protect your on-premises and cloud-based data with stringent security protocols, the technical aspect of sharing or receiving data from another organization opens up a gap where a malicious attacker can access this information.


Getting Started with Proactive Vendor Security

What can your team do to proactively address current vendor security risk and make it safer to partner with new vendors in the future? The first step is to run a full audit of your current vendors. In many cases, InfoSec teams running an audit will realize that there are probably more vendors accessing your company’s protected data than expected. 

Next, it’s time to put a secure, scalable vendor risk management process in place. This starts with finding a solution for your team’s single source of truth for all things vendor security. When your internal team is on the same page regarding vendor security risk and information security in general, your employees can turn into effective security watchdogs for potential risk.

Finally, your team must be explicitly clear with your current and prospective vendors on your security protocols. By building a Whistic security profile and sharing it with your vendors, there will be no room for misunderstandings around what security protocols are required. Although it may open up new conversations (and perhaps a few new vendor negotiations), visibility into the security protocol process is one of the most critical parts of ensuring 100% compliance and risk-free partnerships.


Connect with a Whistic representative to learn more about understanding and monitoring your vendor risk management.

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