When it comes to the safety and security of your business, you want to make sure that the people you work with are just as interested in protecting your company’s assets and data as you are. This is where third-party security comes into play: making sure that any vendor or contractor that touches your business is up-to-date on cybersecurity best practices and has adequate resources in place to protect their own systems. Here are some ways you can help ensure this happens:
Review your third-party contracts
- Review your third-party contracts.
- Understand what you’re getting into and make sure it’s worth it. If the contract is vague or incomplete, ask questions until you feel comfortable with it.
- Avoid contracts that include clauses that allow the third party to keep your data indefinitely or share it with others without permission–for example, a clause stating “third parties may be given access to [your] Personal Information as required by law.”
Require multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an additional layer of security that requires a user to provide two or more pieces of information in order to gain access to a system. This can include something you know, like a password or PIN; something you have, like your phone; and/or something you are, like your fingerprint.
Multi-factor authentication helps prevent data breaches by requiring users to prove their identity before they can log into a system. For example, if someone tries to access your email account without MFA enabled on it–and they don’t know your password–the system will ask them for another form of verification before allowing them in. If this person doesn’t have either factor available (e.g., no phone), then they won’t be able to access any emails from this device until they enable multi-factor authentication or reset their password through another method such as creating an app-specific password for just one mobile app instead of all apps on all devices connected with those credentials
Make sure your third parties have a strong cybersecurity program
A third-party security program should be in place, and it should include a dedicated team working on the third party’s security. The third party should also have a clear cybersecurity policy that outlines their approach to protecting sensitive information and data.
Third parties must have an incident response plan in case there is an issue with their cybersecurity or if they experience a data breach. This includes timeframes for reporting incidents, who reports them and how they’re reported (e.g., via phone call or email), who will respond to incidents (e.g., internal vs external resources), what happens when someone reports an incident (e.g., escalation process) and more important details like whether the third party has insurance coverage for cyber attacks or other related expenses associated with dealing with these situations effectively and efficiently
Monitor access to your data
Monitor access to your data
Data access management software is a powerful tool for monitoring who has access to what, when and where. It can be used proactively to prevent security breaches by detecting unusual activity or patterns that indicate an attempted breach in progress. If you use this kind of software, make sure it also provides a review function so that you can see exactly what’s being done with the data and by whom. If you don’t have such software in place yet but want one for third-party security purposes, consider looking into some options before hiring any new employees or contractors who will have access to sensitive information on your behalf (and remember: there are other ways besides hiring someone directly).
Conduct regular audits of third-party data practices
Auditing is an important part of the security process. You should be conducting regular audits of third-party data practices, whether you’re a small business or a Fortune 500 company. Here are some tips for setting up and executing an audit:
- Start by identifying what needs to be audited. This may include:
- Your company’s policies and procedures around third-party data collection, storage and processing;
- The types of information collected from customers;
- How long this data is stored;
And anything else relevant to your operations.
Create an incident response plan for third-party security incidents
Now that you have an understanding of the problem, it’s time to start thinking about solutions.
The key here is goal-setting: defining what success looks like and how you’ll know when you’ve achieved it. You should also make sure your goals are realistic and achievable–if they’re too ambitious, chances are high that they won’t be reached. And don’t worry about other people’s goals; instead, focus on what matters most to YOU! Here are some examples of tangible fitness goals that could be achieved in 3-6 months:
- Run 5 miles at least once per week
- Complete a triathlon (this takes longer than 6 months)
Your business needs to ensure its third-party partners are secure.
In today’s business environment, third parties are an essential component of your company’s operations. They can help you save time and money by providing services that your employees don’t have the expertise to do themselves. But while they may be helpful in many ways, third parties also pose a threat to your data security.
If you’re not careful about who you trust with access to sensitive information like customer records or financial data, hackers could gain access through them instead of directly attacking your network. And even if no one hacks into these systems directly (which is unlikely), there’s still plenty of risk involved: If one of those third-party companies has poor security practices or gets hacked itself–and then shares its customers’ personal information with other firms without permission–it could put everyone at risk for identity theft or worse consequences down the road.
The future is a scary place, and it’s easy to feel like there’s no way out. But if we want to be prepared for what comes next, we need to take action now. And that means making sure your business has strong third-party security in place.