Businesses can and should demand high-quality security results from their vendors especially when it comes to preventing supply chain attacks. After all, increased security-related transparency, not the duration of a relationship, is what earns a supplier the reputation of a trustworthy one.
Supply chain attacks are becoming more frequent, and many companies don’t appear to know how to deal with the problem. Businesses must discover potential weak spots with their suppliers’ assistance and regularly check their defenses and those of their vendors. They can eventually mitigate the dangers of supply chain attacks by developing this trust.
Here are the top methods that companies can adopt to reduce the possibility of a supply chain attack:
Full Assessment of the Tech Stack
Businesses must begin with a thorough assessment of their IT environment and any unapproved shadow IT to lessen any unknowns. They must be aware of the hardware, software, and SaaS products used, the security flaws, and the vendors and partners the company relies on. They must also be aware of the nature of those interactions, including the types of data they process, system interfaces, and different levels of integration.
It is vital to address any redundant relationships or other unnecessary relationships. Depending on the kind of service they provide, every vendor entering or leaving the enterprise needs to be tracked in a system of records.
The first step in identifying and reducing inherent risks is maintaining an up-to-date list of providers and centrally monitoring those relationships.
Tiering relationships also enable companies to expedite procurement for low-risk vendors.
Asking the Necessary Questions
Businesses should prioritize those vendors that are the most essential when they have security conversations. The partners whose compromise would significantly impact the company’s operations must be their primary focus.
Businesses must assess the dangers their partners may be subjecting them to and the steps they take to fill in any gaps. Each vendor should be able to describe how they are defending both themselves and their clients from attacks, including the methods they use to encrypt data and restrict access to systems. Do they at least adhere to industry standards? Can they provide evidence that their clients’ data are being protected in terms of integrity, confidentiality, and availability? When asked, vendors should be able to provide audits of their security performance.
Clear Expectations for Business Continuity
Setting clear expectations is crucial for Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR). Firm SLAs must be included in the contract if availability is a concern, and the partner must have a well-documented and sufficient incident response plan. Businesses must be ready to collaborate to create a structured, tried-and-true BCDR strategy if they don’t already have one. Keeping the answers on file will help them be prepared for the forthcoming security evaluation.
The Cyber Security Culture
Although this has been said frequently, users continue to be the weakest link. Establishing a robust security culture based on extensive employee training and supported by adequate monitoring systems and threat prevention is necessary for companies to reduce this risk. Users should always actively report anything suspicious, no matter how insignificant it may seem, and they should be taught how to identify suspicious activities, such as phishing emails.
Holding Suppliers Accountable
Businesses should devise a suitable method of continuously evaluating their vendors. They can evaluate vendors in a manner that conforms to the internal standards of their company. Maintaining open communication with vendors is essential since managing them is a continuous process, not a one-time checkbox activity. The partners should be able to prove that their security plan is working as planned and that they can change it to respond to emerging risks.
The level of focus and security standards must also increase along with the number of vendor partnerships. Every contractual arrangement entails some level of responsibility. Contractual security language can establish the tone for the whole partnership and will safeguard the enterprise by requiring vendors to follow best practices. It will require both parties to adhere to certain standards in the case of an incident. Prior agreement should be made regarding data ownership, data retrieval, incident response, and rights to an assessment.
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