Managing Vendor Risk & Cybersecurity in a Remote Work Environment

  • February 25, 2022
  • Quantivate

The rise of remote-first organizations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic introduced new challenges. With personnel working from home, the demand for strategies and frameworks to manage new risks and vulnerabilities left teams responsible for governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) feeling the pressure.

As organizations navigated operational resilience management in a remote environment, vendor risk and cybersecurity emerged as particular concerns. A 2021 report on third-party security found that more than 50% of organizations have experienced a data breach caused by a third party.

“Findings revealed that organizations are not taking the necessary steps to reduce third-party remote access risk, and are exposing their networks to security and non-compliance risks. As a result, 44% of organizations have experienced a breach within the last 12 months, with 74% saying it was the result of giving too much privileged access to third-parties.”

Effectively addressing procurement, supply chain, and third-party risks — and the potential threats they pose to your organization — is crucial in an evolving risk and compliance landscape.

Understanding the Third-Party & Cyber Threat Matrix

Firms with remote or hybrid work models must now consider the network of users and devices outside of a controlled, location-based IT ecosystem, along with policies and protocols to govern both employee and third-party access.

Related Reading: Assessing Work-From-Home Risks >

Vendor Risk

Bringing on a service provider makes that vendor’s risk your risk. Organizations often overlook the full scope of risks that third parties present, and many neglect to implement proper guidelines, frameworks, and controls to manage and monitor potential threats.

Particularly when a third-party impacts critical business processes, organizations need to define and assess the level of exposure they are inheriting. Due diligence and regular monitoring of vendors’ data handling practices and access to sensitive information should be part of any vendor relationship management plan.

Cybersecurity Threats

The frequency of data breaches, ransomware attacks, and phishing attacks has never been higher. Organizations must proactively forecast cybersecurity threats by following industry best practices and the guidelines set by regulatory bodies. Cyberattacks are unpredictable in their scope, but organizations that take proactive measures to secure their operational systems and assess emerging risks will enhance their ability to mitigate and respond to risks and threats.

Read Next | Understanding the Third-Party Risk Landscape >

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