Strategies to Secure IT Infrastructure from Ransomware Attacks Stemming from Third-Party Vendors

Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware attacks are becoming very sophisticated, and cyber attackers are able to successfully deploy full-blown attacks on IT infrastructure with ease.

Today’s business network has various internal and external threats that the tech stack is exposed to. As multiple third-party vendor applications and tools are integrated into the business network to streamline the information and data flow, it exposes the IT infrastructure to various serious cyber threats like ransomware.

According to a recent report published by ZDNet and Crowdstrike published in 2021, nearly 84% of survey respondents think third-party attacks could be a major cyber threat over the next three years. The malicious actors leverage the potential vulnerabilities of third-party vendors to infiltrate the business network. CISOs should consider implementing the best governance policies and robust security tools to strengthen the cybersecurity of the enterprise.

Following are a few strategies that SecOps teams can consider to protect the IT infrastructure from ransomware attacks stemming from third-party vendors:

Set a risk threshold

Organizations cannot treat every third-party vendor with the same approach. Businesses today have to collaborate with multiple vendors to get a competitive edge and streamline their operations. CISOs should consider determining the threshold of acceptable risk for every vendor depending on their contribution to accomplish the business objectives. For instance, an office maintenance vendor should not have the same level of network access as the payroll or compliance vendor. Enterprises can have more risk thresholds for vendors with lower stakes and concentrate on monitoring risks for vendors with high stakes.

CISOs should consider implementing robust cybersecurity tools that analyze the vendor’s existing level of risks that offer an external viewpoint of the enterprise. SecOps teams can effectively set risk thresholds by segmenting vendors into risk-related monitoring groups and setting acceptable threshold levels of risk for each tier. The vendors with higher risks of ransomware attacks require constant monitoring and robust threat detection and mitigation tools to minimize the impact of the attack.

Evaluate the third-party vendor risk while onboarding

Securing the IT infrastructure against third-party vendor ransomware attack risk starts even before they become a part of the business network. It is crucial for the SecOps teams to evaluate the risks that the third-party vendors will expose the organizations’ tech stack to post-implementation.

CISOs should consider designing and implementing third-party ransomware defense policies to secure the business network from various cyber threats.

Analyzing the vendors’ patching capabilities and other critical risk vectors during the onboarding evaluation phase will help businesses to manage risk effectively and choose third-party vendors that are less likely to expose the IT infrastructure to various ransomware threats.

Also Read: Ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) Industry is Booming: Ways Enterprises Can Stay Secure

Track the entire vendor in real-time

One of the most significant cybersecurity strategies to secure vendor ransomware attack risk is to constantly track the third-party risk posture. Enterprises that have quarterly or yearly vendor threat assessment procedures might increase the attack surface areas. CISOs should consider integrating robust threat monitoring tools in the cybersecurity tech stack to track the performance of each third-party vendor. If the ransomware attack goes undetected in the business network, including the vendor’s network, it can have a disastrous impact. Implementing continuous threat monitoring tools is the most effective way to defend the IT infrastructure from various ransomware threats stemming from a third-party vendor.

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