Why third-party remote access is the biggest security threat to enterprise networks

May 17, 2018//Ellen Neveux

Last Updated: November 19, 2020

Think back to the Target breach—do you remember how the bad actor gained access to the network? Unfortunately for Target, many don’t. A bad actor was able to get into Target’s network from a third-party that Target used and it resulted in millions of credit and debit card information being stolen. At the end of the day, Target’s reputation took a hit while the third-party vendor was able to fly under the radar.

This real-life example speaks volumes for data breaches that affect enterprise organizations. Rarely does anyone remember who the third-party was, or that the breach even happened from the access given to a third-party. People will only remember that a data breach occurred to the well-known company, like Target, not the HVAC provider or payroll vendor that the organization used. It’s the enterprise organization’s name, reputation, and success that are on the line if vendors are not properly regulated with secure remote access. Without this regulation, a survey found that nearly 87 percent of 2,000 respondents stated that they were “not at all likely” or “not very likely” to do business with an organization that had suffered a data breach involving credit or debit card information.

The threats

It’s known as the Equifax data breach, not the Mandiant data breach for a reason. Even if a third-party vendor was at fault, a consumer often doesn’t place the blame on the vendor. A consumer doesn’t usually take the time to research a breach, they just hear that a breach occurred to a well-known name like Target or Equifax. So, if the third-parties used by an organization are granted too much access and bad actors can get in, that liability falls back onto the organization. This makes sense when looking at a report from Deloitte, a company that offers audit and assurance in highly regulated industries, that said consumers view an organization as being the provider of a solution and if a problem occurs, the consumer holds the organization responsible. In other words, an organization’s reputation is threatened when they don’t properly manage their vendors.

It is well known and widely accepted that third-party relationships pose a significant threat to organizations. We live in the day-and-age where these relationships are necessary for an organization’s success, but they are still risky. The Institute of Internal Auditors report on managing third-party risks states that 80 percent of organizations understand the risks of third-parties, but only devote a small chunk of resources to assessing the risks associated. So where is the disconnect? Like Deloitte stated, an organization seems to think they’re safe until they have gone through a breach and it’s too late. All of a sudden they have to contact consumer’s about the breach, their name is being broadcasted on national news, and their reputation is in shambles.

Whether it be healthcare, retail, or another highly regulated industry, ransomware is also a huge threat. Unlike other breaches where sensitive information is taken to be sold, the goal of ransomware is to cause disruption while making some money in the meantime. There a ton of threats that revolve around third-parties for organizations in highly regulated industries because much of what is held is sensitive and important for the entity to keep private from both the public and bad actors. So, what can organizations in highly regulated industries do to fix this glaring issue? The most immediate fix that will also be beneficial in the long run, is to be preemptive—get the right secure remote access that can do everything necessary on a singular platform while protecting yourself from a third-party data breach.

How SecureLink helps

Although there is an obvious risk associated with third-party relationships, organizations rely on software applications to keep everything running smoothly. Deloitte also reported that the problems (e.g. data breaches or ransomware attacks) that stem from third parties are often only addressed after they have occurred and the damage is done. In other words, organizations are being reactive instead of proactive when it comes to secure remote access for third-parties.

That’s where SecureLink comes in to help. One of the biggest risks, if not managed properly, is implementing remote support for third-parties. SecureLink is the only third-party remote access platform built to serve the needs of your organization and your technology vendors. Not only does it eliminate risks, but it’s all on a singular, user-friendly platform.

The right secure remote access

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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