4 tips for vendors who support clients via remote access

November 23, 2020//Ellen Neveux

Last Updated: November 24, 2020

Data breaches caused by the access that vendors and external third parties have continues to be the easiest way hackers have into a network. So, let’s talk about how if you provide support to clients, you can be as safe as possible and ensure you can continue to hit SLAs, provide the best support, and keep customers happy. In other words, it is in your best business interest to ensure your technicians do not unwittingly leave a back door open.

It’s important to remember that the security of a network is only as strong as its weakest connection. Third-party remote access is an attractive target for bad actors because vendor IT companies typically serve many enterprise organizations. And the best part is, for hackers at least, is that this can be the golden key into a ton of different networks in different industries. Typically vendors aren’t specialized to one industry, so when you get access to one, you get access to all of their customers. 

Save your reputation and protect your clients

As a vendor who has clients in financial, banking, retail, healthcare, or any other highly regulated, compliance-minded industry, a slip-up by one of your technicians could create a nightmare of liability and reputational damage.

And don’t just take our word for it. Let’s look at one of the biggest examples in recent history-– AMCA, a vendor, files for bankruptcy after a data breach that impacted up to 20 million patients of Quest Diagnostics, LabCorp, and BioReference. Now the 3 different companies that used this vendor will forever be associated with a data breach that stemmed from a vendor that had to file for bankruptcy. 

It’s always easy to say that the scenario would never happen to me. That’s something other companies deal with, not my company and not me! But, it’s important to plan for anything that could happen, right? Sure, you think you’re going to be safe and secure, but let’s make sure your confidence around safety and security is backed with knowledge, procedures, and policies. Consider these 4 tips to protect your clients—and your business:

  1. Understand your growing surface area: As you provide IT services to more clients, your own exposure grows. As your clients move to cloud environments, you must securely manage and maintain responsibility for an increasing number of entry points. A vendor’s remote access to a network is regularly seen as the point of access for hackers, especially when thinking back to Target being the ones that made headlines in 2013, and 7 years later we’re still seeing companies (and their vendors) not take this threat seriously. As a vendor, you want to meet the challenge by demonstrating your proactive security measures to potential clients.
  2. Consider your platform environment: Operating within a secure platform demonstrates frontline responsibility for data and network security. Using a standardized, secure remote support and access platform is a great selling point and reduces your risk of inadvertently contributing to compromise or breach of a client network.
  3. Deliver fast support: Third-party vendors get access from client networks to provide support. Security is critical, but time to resolution is a significant measure of partnership success – for both you and your client’s business. Using tools that allow for secure and quick collaboration should always be the goal. The last thing you want is to be waiting around for access.
  4. Credentials: Demonstrate how you confidentially manage privileged login credentials provided by clients and define your response plan in the event a client network is compromised. Do you discuss levels and methods of privileged access with clients when you onboard—or during an IT crisis? Proactive planning with password policies boosts your credibility and operating processes. If a client network is breached, can you help or will you be the cause? Note, about 80% of all hacking-related breaches leverage compromised privileged credentials– don’t be the cause of a breach. 

The bottom line is that a strong approach to third-party remote access security is a selling point for any IT tech provider. Take time to evaluate your risk of contributing to a client data breach and decide how you are going to protect them—and your reputation. To see exactly how technology vendors can easily protect their reputation with a standardized remote support platform, check out our helpful solution brief that shows you how to: 

  • Shore up the gaps in VPNs and other remote support tools to increase security.
  • Meet compliance requirements you and your clients are subjected to.
  • Increase efficiencies with quicker time to resolution.
  • Lower IT support costs.
  • Protect your reputation and your customer’s revenue.
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