How to Prevent Becoming the Next Breach Story in the News

June 21, 2021

Having everything connected to the internet is a blessing and a curse. It speeds up and automates many activities that were once manual and time-consuming, making it easier to navigate life. But every one of those connections is also an opportunity for hackers and other bad actors to infiltrate your business and wreak havoc.

It seems like every other week you hear about another company that’s been breached. This week, Volkswagen is in the news for having 3.3 million customer records exposed after a vendor left a cache of customer data unsecured on the internet.

Earlier this year, it was SolarWindsMicrosoft Exchange, and the much-publicized ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline. Next week it could be you.

That’s because these hackers are relentless. Nicole Perlroth put it this way in her book, This is How They Tell Me the World Ends, “[Hackers are looking for] a weak password, a misplaced zero, pirated or unpatched software, a hastily erected firewall anything that could be exploited for digital mayhem.”

And unfortunately, they usually find what they’re looking for. As a result, businesses need to be just as vigilant as the individuals they’re battling against—or face the steep consequences. 

According to research by IBM, the cost of a data breach involving a third-party vendor is $4.29M and can take nearly 300 days to clean up. And as we mentioned before, it could happen to anyone as there’s an almost 30% chance your business will experience a breach in the next year.

 

Assess yourself before your vendors

At Whistic, we believe vendor security assessments are a foundational element of any effective cybersecurity and third-party risk management program. And the first step you should take to protect your business and its data is conducting a self-assessment.

Don’t subject your vendors to something you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself. Whistic’s platform makes it easy for you to assess yourself against a wide range of standard questionnaires and industry frameworks to ensure you have all the proper controls to mitigate risk, identify potential weaknesses, and put a plan in place to remediate those risks.

The good thing about conducting these self-assessments in Whistic is you can take all your work and use it toward building a Whistic Profile that can be shared with your potential vendors. You’re killing two birds with one stone—documenting your security posture and showcasing that posture to your customers to help you close deals.

 

Read the Vendor Security Assessment Checklist

In 2021, businesses are expected to spend $1 trillion USD on cybersecurity. To help you get started with your cybersecurity strategy, we've put together the Vendor Security Assessment Checklist that will give you everything you need to set up a best-in-class vendor security program.

Download now

 

Assess vendors regularly

When it comes to your vendors, you want to make sure that you’re keeping an accurate accounting of their security posture and conduct assessments based on the inherent risk they pose to your organization. We cover this process in-depth in our latest ebook, Vendor Security Assessment Checklist

For this post, we’ll go over what you need to do to implement a successful vendor assessment process: 

  1. Develop a vendor security policy. This includes all of the requirements, criteria, and penalties associated with your vendor assessment program.  
  2. Determine your data classification model. Doing this will help you determine which data needs the most protection.
  3. Implement a standard vendor intake process. This ensures you have all of the information you need to begin the assessment.
  4. Determine the inherent risk for each vendor. Depending on your risk tolerance and where you’re at in your program will impact how you classify inherent risk.
  5. Decide on an assessment methodology. This includes how often you assess the vendor and how in-depth that assessment will be. That determination is based on the vendor’s inherent risk.
  6. Send the assessment request to the vendor. Using a tool like Whistic makes this process easy because much of it can be automated.
  7. Conduct the security review. Review security controls based on the assigned inherent risk. 
  8. Remediate issues. Based on your predetermined issue management process, identify problem areas, ask for clarification from the vendor, and fix the issues when possible.
  9. Time for reassessment. Vendor security doesn’t happen in a vacuum. These assessments are point-in-time snapshots of the vendor’s security posture, so it’s essential to conduct reassessments in predetermined intervals.

How Whistic can help

All this work might seem daunting at first, but when you have the right technology in place, you can automate many of the steps outlined above. That’s where Whistic comes into play. Whistic allows companies to assess new vendors, publish their own security information, and share information, to meet security assurance requirements.

To learn more about how Whistic can help your business, request a demo today!

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Whistic
Whistic

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

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