When doing business with third parties, you need to be aware of the risks you may be facing. Although third parties may have access to sensitive information, many companies believe vendors wouldn’t notify them if there were a data breach. Therefore, it’s important you have your own cybersecurity system in place for vendors. Follow these steps to create a comprehensive third-party cybersecurity system for your business.
Develop a Program
Start by defining and establishing policies, procedures, controls and owners of each for all aspects of your business. Specify in each third-party contract who, how and why the party may access your data. Ensure the third party indemnifies your business against a security breach or loss. By developing your own cybersecurity program, you ensure vendors are protecting your data from fraudulent access, use or disclosure.
Build and Operate Controls
Implement your policies, procedures and controls into your company’s operations. Ensure you know where your data sets are, which third parties may access confidential information, and what privacy and security measures you’re putting in place to protect your data.
Screen your third-party providers to make sure they’re legitimate and sustainable. You’ll be better able to communicate with and build trust in your vendors, which will lessen the risk of not being informed if the third party has a data breach.
Ensure one department, such as legal, finance or compliance, is responsible for managing third parties. Look at your results and investigate any issues that come up. Stay on top of where your data sets are, where the data is being transferred and what your vendors are doing with your information.
Monitor and Report
Create reports to show you’re actively monitoring your cybersecurity program. Have IT use data mapping to show where your data resides in your organization and to track which third parties may access your information. Plan regular data security reviews with your third-party providers. Continue monitoring for potential risks.
Review and Align
If you see threats against your cybersecurity plan, take corrective action immediately and discipline all parties involved. Continue evaluating and adjusting your plan according to changes in your risk assessment.
Train and Educate
Continue raising awareness of the threats that may be carried out against third-party providers. Everyone in your organization needs to do their part in helping prevent cyberattacks.
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