How to better manage third-party remote access

February 23, 2018//Ellen Neveux

Last Updated: November 18, 2020

If managing your network security seems like a game of Whack-a-Mole, good practices can reduce your risk and potential for liability.

Part of the reason it is difficult to effectively and securely manage third-party remote access is because third-party vendors usually have many technicians who need access to your network in order to do their job. Vendors are not like individual employees who are remote users on the other end of a hopefully secure one-to-one connection. With vendors, login credentials to your system are stored and shared in order to provide service to your employees and network.

Following best practices can help you manage third-party remote access and ensure you remain compliant in regulated industries and under increasingly tight data security requirements. Consider these five tips:

  1. Awareness is important: Understand that your vendors accessing your network remotely have a different impact on your system. With vendors, employees, and customers in mind, create a formal business continuity plan for use if you are attacked. Multi-level awareness of your network risk is important. Among other things, a continuity plan defines the surface area of your network, labels high risk and vulnerable areas, and identifies security gaps.
  2. Good practices at the outset: When you are negotiating the purchase of software, discuss in detail how IT staff will securely access the system. There are many ways to gain access to a system and unwittingly leave the connection open to a bad actor. Use purchase or renewal discussions to define good security practices in writing and ensure you can remain compliant and secure.
  3. Use the right platform: Using a grab-bag of security workarounds, allowing IT vendors to share screens, and failing to use multi-factor authentication for third-party remote access mean you will likely suffer a business-damaging cybersecurity incident soon. Use a standardized third-party remote access platform built specifically for your industry that locks down credentials and provides granular tools to audit activity at the level of individual users.
  4. Work with your vendors: Catalog technology vendors that require access to your system and assign levels of security and privilege. Many vendors have their own access tools, but requiring remote IT vendors to work in your secure platform reduces your vulnerability and risk of data loss.
  5. Be vigilant: Make sure that your third-party remote access platform has comprehensive monitoring and auditing features. In addition, make sure you have real-time alerts about unusual activity.

Take steps now to reduce your risk of non-compliance later by downloading our white paper on ensuring compliance in regulated industries.

About SecureLink

Our sole focus is secure third-party remote access. For highly regulated enterprise organizations, SecureLink Enterprise has pioneered a secure remote access platform. SecureLink for enterprise allows an organization to identify, control, and audit third-party vendors. For vendors, SecureLink is the gold standard remote access support platform because it is easy, efficient, and ensures compliance and reduces liability when supporting customers.

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