May 01, 2020//Tony Howlett
Using outside vendors can be a godsend for many organizations. These third parties provide the ability to scale a business, bring new and vital expertise to bear on problems, and let you concentrate on core competencies.
However, vendors can also bring a great deal of risk, especially when it comes to how they access your network and sensitive data. Since vendors are often given the ability to connect to a network through many different outlets, they may be hard to track, and that can leave you vulnerable to a network intrusion by bad actors. Without the right due diligence and cybersecurity solution in place, you can’t really tell how your vendors are connecting to your network, application, or server – and you won’t have the ability to track or audit them properly.
For the sole purpose of risk management, it’s important to implement internal audits that identify and monitor all third-party vendors who have access to your network. Here’s how you can get started.
Your business should receive the secure support you need while maintaining control, ensuring industry compliance, and creating audit trails. At the very minimum, your vendor risk management solution should have tools that authenticate, audit, and control access by employees and third-party vendors. You should look for a solution with tools that:
In order to mitigate the risks of remote vendor access, and gain better network access control, your organization should take steps to monitor third-party activity in greater detail. In vendor risk assessment, a good first step would be to create a third-party monitoring checklist, which might include actions such as:
Once a third-party monitoring checklist has been agreed upon and put into practice, the next challenge is the day-to-day monitoring of your network and the vendors who have access to it. When it comes to your company’s crown jewels – its data – you want a network that is not just OK; you want the best of the best. Auditing both new users and vendors should be implemented into your onboarding process in order to keep your network (and all of your data) safe.
That is, the goal of a truly secure remote access solution should be to achieve a state of “All-Activity Awareness” – because your data will be the most secure when you can boost the visibility of all remote activity occurring on your network.
How do you achieve a state of being the best of the best? By properly auditing third parties who are given remote access to your network. The best way to do this is to enlist the help of a vendor management solution that can automatically track each vendor user’s activity with videos and logs of files transferred, commands entered, and services accessed.
There is an old saying: “Trust, but verify.” While the 20th-century use of this quote was in the context of international relations, it can be applied to 21st-century cybersecurity as well. You may trust your vendors enough to give them access to your network, but you need to verify what they are doing on your network, making sure they are only accessing the resources they require and not exhibiting any signs of suspicious or strange activity.
Again, the best way to do this is to have a vendor management program that would verify vendors across multiple levels, roles, and departments. The vendor due diligence process would happen at the beginning of the relationship in which your vendors create usernames and passwords (unique to each vendor user, of course!), which greatly decreases the operational risk of inviting vendors onto your network. This should be added to the vendor onboarding process to simplify things while also ensuring peak cybersecurity.
Proper auditing of remote vendor access achieves three vital goals:
In order to achieve these goals, implement the following into your third-party remote access checklist:
Real-time monitoring: when compliance is a must, you must know which vendors are on your network at all times.
The advantages of an advanced remote access platform, like the one offered by SecureLink, include the ability to record all sessions with a high-definition audit. Some features of a secure audit include:
A platform should offer network/IT security audit tools designed to give a total picture of all third-party remote access activity at the individual level. With its detailed audit functionality, organizations can ensure vendor accountability and compliance with industry regulations – and tech vendors can prove the “who, what, where, when, and why” of any remote support session.
A truly aware platform, such as SecureLink’s solution, will always let you know which vendors are accessing your precious company resources and how they are spending time on your network, which is the only way to ensure you’re truly secure.
With the platform’s vendor privileged access features, enterprises can manage their vendors’ remote access efficiently and securely, while giving tech vendors just the right amount of access to the applications and systems needed to complete their job – and nothing more. You don’t have to be in the dark any longer. Now you can shine a light on who’s doing what on your network, at all times, to get a complete picture of all third-party activity.
To learn more about remote access platforms and how to choose the right platform for you, check out our brochure that helps you better understand which is the best for you.