Third party risks remote support solution

What is Third Party Access and why is protecting external access important?

Security at the outer ends of the infrastructure is critical for enterprises to protect themselves from the risks associated with third parties and service providers. Until now, enterprises have typically invested time and money in protecting their own systems rather than focusing on vendor security practices. That needs to change to protect companies from potential threats.

Many companies work closely with service providers, and in many cases, these providers gain authorized access to customer or employee data or integrate third-party services into the company's systems. In addition, service providers often have their own vendors, which can pose additional risks to the enterprise.

Why is third party and service provider access security so important?

Remote maintenance of IT and OT infrastructures

As a result of COVID-19, many organizations have adopted telework policies and guidelines. This transition has created significant cybersecurity issues. One of the main difficulties is verifying and granting access to outside vendors, as face-to-face is impossible in this new environment. As a result, there is an urgent need for multi-factor authentication techniques, tightly monitored access controls, and robust password generation and management procedures. The shift of work activities to the Internet via email and remote access solutions such as heterogeneous VPN tunnel infrastructures or RDP sessions also significantly increases threats from phishing attacks or malware infection. On top of that, third-party providers are tapping into corporate networks with their own private devices, which may not be secure enough for adequate protection against these threats.

Small service businesses that lack the resources to implement adequate security measures present an opportunity for cybercriminals who can leverage their privileged access to enterprise systems to significantly increase the risks of compromise.

Data privacy violations by third parties

The Ponemon report on the cost of data breaches in 2021 found that the average cost of a data breach in the UK was £3.14 million, with third-party software vulnerabilities increasing costs by £68,000. The actual figure may be higher, as third-party attacks are very evasive and can take months or years to detect. The highest fine imposed due to a data breach in Germany in 2022 was €76,310,455.

The study conducted found that 44% of organizations have suffered a security breach, with 74% of these cases due to granting too much privileged access to third parties. This is a worrying trend that needs to be addressed.

Cloud risks on the rise

As more and more software is moved to the cloud, the potential for data breaches caused by cloud configuration incidents increases. We have seen this in a number of high-profile cases where sensitive data has been stored on unsecured third-party servers. Organizations need to be very careful with any data they store outside of their direct control, whether it is stored in the cloud or not. There is a growing need for solutions that can verify cloud security, as it is impossible to avoid misconfigurations in a rapidly changing, complex cloud environment.

Data protection and information security regulations

Companies today face immense pressure to protect consumers' personal data from internal and external threats. It's critical that companies comply with these regulations, not only to avoid hefty fines, but also to ensure they build and maintain consumer trust. Regulations like GDPR and CCPA provide a great framework for doing just that - and applying these regulations globally will help organizations keep up with the latest privacy concerns around the world. The rules established by GDPR and CCPA have a ripple effect beyond the borders of their original jurisdictions. Global companies must now consider these guidelines when handling the personal data of individuals in Europe and California - regardless of whether they have a physical presence in those regions. Failure to comply could result in hefty fines:

Under GDPR, companies can be fined up to 4% of their annual global turnover or €20 million (whichever is greater), while under CCPA, companies face penalties of up to $7,500 per breach.

It's not just the financial implications that companies need to fear if they fail to comply with the GDPR or CCPA; there's also the risk of reputational damage. In our digital age, news travels fast and far, which means that even a small data breach can quickly make headlines around the world - as in the case of British Airways last year, when hackers managed to steal customer data from half a million bookings on its website in two weeks. The U.K. regulator then fined the company £183 million for failing to protect its customers' personal data. With stringent new regulations being introduced on both sides of the Atlantic, it is clear that companies can no longer afford to ignore data protection compliance. Companies need to take action now to ensure they meet all required standards - failure to do so could prove costly, both financially and reputationally.

Types of Third Party Risks

Current types of third party risks, all of which can manifest themselves through insecure third party access and should be given attention, include the following:

Operational risks - Risks can arise from the possibility of business interruption due to the actions of third parties. When a company's critical systems are dependent on a supplier, any event that affects the supplier's business represents an immediate risk.

Inadequate cyber hygiene - Today's attackers target third parties and their access to corporate infrastructures more than anyone else. They can infiltrate the supply chain, infect systems and devices undetected, and then use the third party as a launching point for attacks on higher value targets, and after the fact, the third party is responsible.

Compliance risks can result from a third party failing to put security controls in place, leading to data breaches. This can lead to data breaches, liability and compliance penalties for large companies. Violations of environmental or labor laws by third parties can also pose a compliance risk.

Financial risks - Third parties can jeopardize a company's finances by, for example, introducing defective materials or products into a process, which affects sales and revenue. If suppliers do not deliver on time and do not meet their contractual obligations, this can also lead to financial losses. Strategic risks can occur when third parties collide with the customer company's business strategy. For example, a supplier could use its privileged knowledge and access to compete with the company's business.

Best practices for the management of risks by third parties and service providers (Technical Third Party Risk Management)

Follow these best practices to manage third-party access and mitigate risk.

Restrict access and grant only just in time

Deploy a privileged access management solution to ensure that only authorized users can access your organization's sensitive data. Protect your critical data with two-factor authentication (2FA). This approach makes it harder for attackers to compromise your network, even if they've stolen someone's credentials. Manual access approvals and one-time passwords can also prevent attackers from accessing your network.

Establish security guidelines for providers

Establish cybersecurity rules for your third-party vendors and all employees who work with them. Create an internal policy that defines the responsibilities of all parties involved and the standard measures for different cases and procedures. Familiarize your subcontractors and employees with these rules.

Ensure constant monitoring of user activity.

Laws, IT regulations and standards require regular monitoring of user activity. Track what your third-party vendors are doing on your network so you know who is accessing your critical resources, what they are using them for, and when.

Plan for incident response with third-party vendors

It's important to be prepared for any incident that may occur with a subcontractor. By analyzing cybersecurity risks and threats, you can decide which risks are relevant to your business and then put formal procedures in place to mitigate them. A dedicated solution for timely detection of cybersecurity events is critical.

This solution should be used to configure notifications and alerts in case of suspicious activities or events related to your subcontractor's activities. It is also important to select responsible individuals to be notified in the event of a cybersecurity incident involving a third party. Include their names and contact information in your company's cybersecurity policies. Make sure they have the necessary skills and knowledge to contain and remediate a third-party data breach.

Grant access to external and service providers with VISULOX Remote Support

Secure third-party access to your corporate resources with VISULOX Remote Support and its isolated virtual workspace, VISULOX Workspace. Without the need to install agents on contractors' endpoints, you can grant them restricted access to your systems, while all data remains stored in your own infrastructure. Pre-prepared applications and security controls, such as multi-factor authentication, session recording, secure file transfer or cooperation, save time and hassle during commissioning, while you are able to stop deployment immediately and grant access automatically or just-in-time.

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