Are Your Business Partners and Vendors Potential Security Weak Links?

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A modern supply chain consists of people, systems and technologies that enable the delivery of goods and services to end users. However, this dependency on third-party business partners opens doors to many security risks.

A lot can go wrong throughout the supply chain operation, which is why you should pay close attention to risks associated with third-party partners. Since many of them have varying degrees of access to your organization’s systems and sensitive data, they could potentially be the weak link that jeopardizes your entire security strategy.

According to a survey conducted by Opinion Matters for BlueVoyant in June 2020, a whopping 80 percent of organizations have suffered a third-party related breach.

Supply Chain Challenges and Security Risks

It is common for modern-day companies to outsource core functions to improve efficiency and save costs. To thrive in a competitive business landscape, working with multiple vendors that address your unique needs is vital. However, managing different types of vendors can not only be daunting, but can also expose your organization to several threats. That’s why understanding the challenges and risks that come with third-party vendors or suppliers is critical for the safety and security of your business.

Listed below are some of the challenges and risks that organizations constantly face in a supply chain ecosystem.

  • Inadequate Visibility and Lack of Direct Control: According to the survey commissioned by BlueVoyant, 77 percent of respondents said they had limited visibility into the functioning of their third-party vendors. Multiple tiers of vendors and lack of resources limit organizations from continuously monitoring the entire vendor ecosystem and maintaining control of the supply chain. Without adequate visibility and control into third-party networks, it can be extremely difficult to identify potential risks or respond to threats appropriately.
  • Lack of Data Integrity: Today’s organizations are data driven and as such, data integrity is crucial for informed decision making, improving operational efficiency and gaining a competitive advantage. Since a supply chain involves a mix of multiple third parties who have access to sensitive information, such as customer details, financial data, trade secrets and more, ensuring the integrity of the sheer volume of data on hand can be a challenge. One mistake from a third-party business partner could lead to a potential security breach, which could have a devastating impact on both your business and the entire supply chain ecosystem. Having a comprehensive third-party risk management strategy, backed by a robust backup and recovery solution, is vital to better manage and secure your organization’s data when unexpected disaster strikes.
  • Poor Security Practices: Over 75 percent of organizations have been victims of a data breach as a result of security vulnerabilities in their partners’ networks. While your IT security posture may be strong, bad actors can easily infiltrate your third party’s weak network. It is hard to control the security practices of supply chain partners, which makes it even more difficult to identify potential threats that might be lurking in their unpatched servers or systems. Since a supply chain is deeply interconnected, a weak link can sabotage the entire network. Working with a diverse portfolio of supply chain vendors also translates into increasing third-party access to your organization’s IT infrastructure, applications and data. Therefore, defining roles and controlling user access to sensitive data is key to mitigate security and compliance risks.
  • The Human Factor: While companies rely heavily on technology to improve efficiency and service delivery, human error is one of the main causes of data breaches. From browsing infected websites to failing to maintain password hygiene, an untrained and unaware workforce can leave security gaps throughout the supply chain and within your own organization as well. Although these actions may be unintentional, they open doors for cybercriminals who are constantly looking for opportunities to infiltrate your company’s network.

Protect Your Business and Data

When it comes to protecting your business and data, you must not ignore the threats posed by your supply chain. Not only should you secure your IT infrastructure and data, you should also ensure your third-party systems, data and applications are appropriately backed up and protected.

Contact us today to find out how you can securely back up and protect your company’s assets against growing cyberthreats.

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