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5 Ways to Prevent Third-Party Data Breaches
Security Best Practices & Advice

5 Ways to Prevent Third-Party Data Breaches

By Yaffa Klugerman Feb 11, 20214 min read

We know that third-party data breaches are on the rise. According to one report, 83% of organizations suffered a breach at the hands of a third party within the past three years. And if the SolarWinds breach has taught us anything, it’s that third-party data breaches can be devastating, and they are not going away anytime soon. 

What can organizations do to avoid being a victim of a third-party breach? Here are five essential steps that you should consider. 

1. Assessment 

Before you decide to work with a third party, it’s important to perform a comprehensive evaluation to assess its cyber risk. This can best be achieved through an external attack surface assessment combined with automated security questionnaires to check the third party’s internal security policies. You should also consider the inherent risk of the third party; for example, a vendor that delivers paper will likely be less risky than one that has access to your IT systems. 

With all of these considerations, you’ll be able to get a complete view of supplier cyber risk. However, thorough assessments like these can take time, so it’s important that the process is automated so that it can be easily scaled. 

2. Training 

Some of the most notorious third-party data breaches took place because of a mistake made by a human being. Phishing and stolen credentials, for example, focus on employees as the initial entry point into a company. Since so many companies have switched to remote workplaces, these types of threats have only increased.

One of the most effective deterrents to these attacks is through security awareness training. For example, companies can run phishing simulation tests to see how people respond. They can also teach safe internet habits, proper use of social media, incident reporting and data privacy practices. Insisting that your third party implements such training of its employees is a necessary step for preventing data breaches.  

3. Communication 

Third-party security management typically involves numerous teams. There’s the procurement team that is looking to hire the third party, and the infosec team that must assess the third party. The legal team may be involved as well. And then there’s the third party itself, which may or may not have its own security team. 

Because there are so many moving parts, it’s essential to have a process in place that allows all stakeholders to communicate quickly and effectively with each other. This is particularly important if any cyber gaps need to be addressed: The supplier must be able to understand what needs to be fixed and the security team must be able to confirm that remediation has been completed. For these reasons, having a centralized platform for all communication is essential. 

4. Documentation

Keeping records of any third-party management is important for several reasons: First, it can help you track supplier cyber posture over time. Second, documentation can help you stay on top of necessary cyber hygiene such as patch management and periodic tests. Third, documentation is particularly important when considering compliance, because it can serve as an audit trail indicating that a robust third-party security risk management process is in place. 

Documentation will help you avoid a data breach by ensuring that necessary cyber maintenance has been completed, and will serve as proof that your organization did everything necessary to avert it. 

5. Monitoring

The cyber world is incredibly dynamic, and cyber threats keep evolving. In addition, companies are always introducing new software and technologies that could be vulnerable to cyberattacks. This ever-changing landscape is why it’s not enough to perform periodic cyber risk assessments of your third parties. 

Instead, to avoid third-party data breaches, it’s essential to continuously monitor your suppliers for any new cyber issues and receive live alerts about any changes in cyber posture.

How Panorays Can Help 

To help prevent third-party breaches, Panorays

  • Combines automated, dynamic security questionnaires with external attack surface assessments and business context to provide organizations with a rapid, accurate view of supplier cyber risk. 
  • Continuously monitors and evaluates your suppliers, and you receive live alerts about any security changes or breaches to your third parties.
  • Enables in-platform engagement for seamless collaboration, as well as the ability to upload important documentation to access at any time. 
  • Is also the only platform that considers the effect of human behavior when calculating cybersecurity ratings. Specifically, it checks the likelihood of employees to be targeted for an attack based on factors such as social media presence, employee security awareness and having a dedicated security team. 

Want to learn more about how you can prevent third-party cyber breaches? Contact Panorays today to schedule a demo.

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Yaffa Klugerman

Yaffa Klugerman is Content Manager at Panorays. She enjoys writing about the cyber world, drinking too many cappuccinos and arguing about the use of serial commas.

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