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5 Vendor Vulnerabilities You Need to Watch For

September 22, 2020

Looking at a list of some of the largest security breaches in recent memory, one can start to see similarities between a few of these cases. A large majority of these breaches were caused by gaps or vulnerabilities in third-party vendor connections. Simply put, every time your organization works with a new vendor, you’re opening up your data and protected information to risk.

One survey of IT and InfoSec professionals found that 69% of organizations experienced a security breach resulting from vendor access in the last year. 

 

Watch for vendor vulnerabilities

Whether you’re currently going through the security management process with a new vendor or if you’re auditing your current vendor list, it’s essential to keep your eyes peeled for common vulnerabilities that can occur. Here are a few specific concerns to watch out for: 

  1. Downtime. During the vendor security screening process, your team should look into your vendor’s history with downtime or outages. If a vendor’s security infrastructure is offline for even the briefest few seconds, this is a gap in which hackers can take advantage of the system and access your organization’s data.
  2. Ransomware. While it might not dominate the headlines, ransomware is still out there and is always a threat to data security. Although your internal team may understand phishing and spam risks, you have no control over a vendor’s team. Working with vendors who do internal security training for all of their employees can help mitigate this risk. 
  3. Compliance. Although a vendor may have passed your security questionnaires with flying colors, take a closer look at how they handle compliance regulations. If your team requires HIPAA, CCPA, or GDPR compliance, your vendors are also legally required to follow these guidelines and be compliant as well.
  4. Uncontrolled data access. Your organization is likely to work with dozens of vendors across multiple departments and focuses, and all of these vendors have access to specific parts of your network. Knowing which vendors have access to which data can help identify vendors who might have a little too much access and allow your team to better control your network data. 
  5. Lack of disaster plan. While planning for an eventual security breach is never fun, they do happen, and InfoSec teams need to be prepared. If a vendor doesn’t have a disaster recovery plan, it means they aren’t planning logically for the future. For vendors that do have a disaster plan, make sure you ask for a copy of this procedure to have on hand. 

 

How Whistic can help

Staying on top of vendor vulnerabilities is extremely important for a few reasons. A data breach can impact your business and your customers, and it can also redefine your company’s reputation for years to come. One recent study found that 87% of consumers would cease doing business with an organization if they are connected to a security hack or data breach, even if a vendor was responsible for the breach.

With the Whistic vendor risk management platform, your team can effectively and efficiently manage all facets of the vendor security process from top to bottom. This means that you can keep tabs on vulnerability risks, audit at-risk vendors, and identify potential gaps in the vendor security process. Staying on top of vendor vulnerability is a key part of proactive vendor security management.

 

If you’re ready to make sure you’re working with the most proactive, future-proof vendor assessment platform on the market, the Whistic team is here to help. Our organization is full of security gurus who can help make sure that your platform is up to speed and identify any vulnerable areas or gaps that need to be filled. You can learn more and get started here.

third party risk data breach security assessments data privacy third party risk mgmt proactive vendor security

About the author

Whistic
Whistic

The latest insights and updates on information security and third party risk management.

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