July 24, 2020//Tony HowlettLast Updated: January 19, 2021
Providing remote access for your third-party vendors is an essential part of doing business. Whether it’s Amazon’s AWS, Google’s G-Suite, or a custom platform, most enterprises have migrated their back-office, e-commerce, and other operations to cloud applications and remote services infrastructure. This outsourcing makes good business sense because it can save a significant amount of money. But, dependence on third-party vendors also comes with security risks and challenges.
Each vendor needs a different type of remote access depending on the function they perform. This makes it difficult to track connections and session activity. In order to identify third-party users and monitor their network sessions, certain functionality must be in place.
Traditionally, companies have turned to VPN solutions to authenticate users and provide access for sessions. VPNs are identity-based solutions that work well with employees and/or permanent contractors because they can access your company’s directory. But VPNs don’t really provide a solution for secure vendor access management. Your vendors’ employees are unknown and may be transient.
To reduce the risk of cyberattacks and other breaches, rules need to be defined and enforced for an ever-changing population of third-parties. Shared logins and passwords, VPNs, and desktop sharing tools are not the answer. Companies must have a purpose–built vendor access management solution that ensures vendor accountability and industry compliance.
In order for you to maintain a clear view of vendors on your network, a suitable third-party remote access management tool should be implemented with these capabilities:
When a vendor’s employees share logins and passwords, it puts your network at risk. Multi-factor authentication protects your network from unauthorized users by requiring a combination of authenticating factors to verify a user’s identity. Network managers can utilize MFA to identify vendors reps that no longer have a valid employment status at the vendor company and deny access.
Creating a policy of least privilege that restricts access is a key way to manage users on your network. This strategy allows you to understand and identify all the users with privileged permissions providing control and visibility into what systems and applications each user can access.
Knowing which vendor has accessed your resources at the moment it happens can prevent serious breaches. An email or text notification can tell you the specific vendor employee who accessed your resources, when they did so, and what files they accessed.
Rules-based access restrictions can restrict remote access for each individual based on time of day, system/application, function, etc. Variable access also includes managing access via various collaboration tools, desktop sharing, remote audio, and video conferencing.
Auditing tools should track all activity including files transferred, commands entered, services accessed, detailed log files, and video replay of sharing sessions. Auditing tools provide a history and record all sessions. This enables monitoring and reporting that creates 360-degree visibility for all parties.
Vendor privileged access management platforms that provide the features above must have user interfaces that are intuitive and simple and must integrate easily with normal business processes. The ease with which a network manager can reference the history of a session or adjust remote access privileges is critical to maintaining a secure network.
Implementing a secure vendor management platform allows businesses to understand who is connecting to their network and ensures their activity is controlled and monitored. To learn more about the importance of choosing the right remote access tool for vendors to connect to your network, check out our helpful brochure that maps out the typical remote access tools and what tool is right for your situation.