Bringing in a New Third-Party Vendor: Key Questions to Address Supply Chain Risks


Global supply chains are always vulnerable to many types of risk, even with the cutting-edge technologies that supply chain businesses use. Cyber-attackers are one such significant threat that these companies are currently facing.

With businesses moving their secure data online because of the pandemic, cybersecurity vulnerabilities have become worse. Many companies have strengthened their cybersecurity defenses in response. However, many often overlook a critical component – supply chain risks. Threat actors can breach an organization because of weak security measures taken by supply chain vendors. Therefore, even with all the necessary safeguards in place, the organization may still be at risk.

Three Key Supply Chain Risks

Here are key supply chain risks businesses need to know about to best secure themselves:

  • Data Security

Even when companies implement stringent security processes, threat actors are aware that they exploit vendors to access the data.

Cybercriminals can easily find out what vendors a certain company works with by conducting some fairly basic online research, and they can then utilize these vendors as entry points into the company.

They have access to both the vendor’s data along with any private information companies have given the vendor.

  • Integration of Technology

Today, many companies are accelerating their digital innovation, often by integrating technology that was provided by a third party. Every time a company upgrades its hardware or software, it increases the number of potential points of entry for cybercriminals to break in.

  • Vendor Fraud

Adding new third-party providers has risks, just like introducing new software or hardware into the company. When a company uses a new third-party vendor, threat actors can utilize social engineering to persuade them to change their payment information. This is one of the most popular schemes used by cybercriminals. The outcome? Even though they may believe they are paying the vendor, they are actually paying a hacker. This can damage business relations in addition to eroding security.

Important Cybersecurity Questions for New Vendors

Leaders go through a fairly rigorous vetting process whenever they are thinking about adding a new third-party provider to their company. But are questions about strategies for cyber security mitigation on their list? They can evaluate their level of readiness for any kind of malicious attack using the following questions:

1. Which MDR or EDR are they running?

Endpoint protection can be achieved through the use of Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR). Managed Detection and Response (MDR), on the other hand, integrates human expertise and technology to automate threat-hunting tasks. Ideally, vendors would incorporate MDR and EDR strategies into their toolkits for cyber security.

2. When was the latest vulnerability and risk analysis performed?

Organizations should, at the very least, examine their external and internal systems every three months. Penetration testing and risk and vulnerability assessments should be a part of these activities to ensure every potential port of entry is covered and hard to exploit.

3. How big is their current security team?

The size of the team, the management of threat assessments, and staying updated with the state of cyber security in the industry all play a significant role in responsiveness and readiness.

4. For Multi-Factor Authentication, what do they use?

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a crucial security tool for many organizations, and how vendors implement it reveals a lot about their readiness to deal with attacks.

Are they insured against cybersecurity risks? Businesses will be better able to understand the requirements they must fulfill to receive insurance if they know the answer to this question. This by itself will reveal a great deal about how they will decide to react to any threats.

Also Read: 3 Measures for XIoT Cybersecurity

5. How Current Third-Party Vendors Fare When It Comes to Cybersecurity

Businesses can take the following actions right now to make sure they are maintaining high-quality security practices:

  • They can enquire about their latest vulnerability analysis, risk analysis, and penetration test results. When did they take place? What was the outcome?
  • They can enquire as to when their current cybersecurity procedures were last audited by a third party.
  • If they are not already doing so, businesses must utilize data encryption whenever they share data with their vendors. This is a crucial step in the process because it will improve the security of the data being sent from the company to them.

No single tool can address all the issues with leveraging vendors or ensuring the organization is safeguarded against cyber criminals. Having said that, these steps can minimize the risk of a breach or a hack.

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