Managing the Security Risks in Third-Party Applications
by Michelle Krasniak
While the average cost of a data breach, $3.86 million, is alarming, another statistic also raises eyebrows: 43% of data breaches impact small or medium-sized businesses, meaning those with less than 500 employees. Many of these smaller companies don’t generate enough revenue to recover from a $3.86 million attack—or even one significantly less damaging. However, every person, business entity, individual, system, and network that interacts with your digital infrastructure expands your attack surface.
Considering the widespread adoption of third-party services, the size of most organizations’ attack surfaces is steadily increasing. The great news is that there are ways to mitigate this risk—and continue to grow and thrive, regardless of the threat of cyber attacks. Read on to learn what third-party risks entail, how to mitigate them, and how working with a third-party cyber risk management (TPCRM) provider can safeguard your digital ecosystem.
What Are Third-Party Application Risks?
Third-party application risks involve interactions with apps from third parties that come into contact with your network or data. It includes suppliers, vendors, partners, service providers, and contractors who have a level of access to your processes, systems, customer data, or other kinds of sensitive information.
For example, if you use a customer relationship management (CRM) system, this may represent a level of third-party application risk. Suppose your CRM stores sensitive customer data in the cloud. This may include names, addresses, bank or credit card information, and other data that could be used in identity theft. Unless you have concrete information regarding your CRM provider’s approach to security, you have no idea the kinds of risks they could introduce to your network or customers.
How Do You Mitigate Third-Party Cyber Risk?
Mitigating third-party Cyber risk involves three steps:
- You first identify the risk posed by a third-party service provider.
- Assessment involves figuring out how this risk could impact your core business systems, employees, or customers.
- Mitigating the threat varies based on the third party you’re dealing with, but it often involves collaborating with the vendor or partner and openly pinpointing and addressing vulnerabilities that result from your partnership.
How Can a TPCRM Solution Protect Your Third-Party Ecosystem
A qualified third-party cyber risk management (TPCRM) provider helps you assess and address your risk by:
- Using data-based risk assessments based on real-world attack scenarios
- Incorporating real-time threat intelligence across your entire portfolio of third-party partners and providers
- Prioritizing the threats and vulnerabilities that can have the most significant impact on your operations or data
- Leveraging data to create benchmarks and identify trends, then use this information to predict future risk
An effective TPCRM program not only gives you intel regarding the safety of each third-party provider, but also gives you the data you need to work together with these providers as teammates to reduce the risk for everyone involved.
By using a TPCRM solution to identify, assess, and mitigate third-party cyber risk, you can buck the cyber attack trend, protect your organization, and enhance the security of customer data. To see how third-party cyber risk management works firsthand, schedule a demo today.