You found your vendor management solution: What’s next?

June 24, 2020//Nicholas Darbonne

Last Updated: October 28, 2020

The term “onboarding” is typically known in the HR world in regards to onboarding a new employee, but in the vendor privileged access management (VPAM) world it takes on a whole new meaning. Your organization will want to safely grant remote access to vendors to access exactly what they need in order to get their job done, and a lot of the time, they need to be able to access some of the most sensitive systems in your environment. Onboarding all of your vendors in one centralized location will cut down on time, money, and insecurities in your network while ensuring that the vendors have the access they need to be efficient. In fact, companies with a vendor management platform in place saw an 80% reduction in the time spent managing and tracking vendor access. 

Since vendors get to access some of the most sensitive information you have, they should be treated as a trusted partner and not just a third-party. In the past, the relationship between enterprises and vendors has been rocky when it comes to remote access. Both entities envision remote access in a similar light, but their concerns are not always aligned. 

As you start out on your journey of deciding on a vendor management solution, you should evaluate what type of resources are in place at the provider to help you with the onboarding process. A few key services include consulting, support, or even a dedicated team who can assist with rollout. The onboarding discussions should be started while in the implementation stage to get a jump on the process and having product experts on your side can go a long way once you are ready to rollout. 

You’ll also want to ensure you have onboarding resources on your end which will play a major part in rolling out your vendor remote access solution as quickly and efficiently as possible. These include application managers/owners, firewall teams, and a primary sponsor who can track all the moving parts. 

Discovering your vendors

The discovery process is something you’ll want to jump into early in implementation. Start introducing the idea of your new remote access solution internally to application owners, IT, and executive leadership to get their buy-in early. Creating an escalation path is also a good idea as it will give you the resources you need if and when your vendors are unresponsive or give push back. Communication is key in the early stages and the faster we get ahead of that the easier it is to push vendors to adoption. 

You will want to start identifying who will own the different aspects of the project such as communication, network configuration, and deploying the solution. Creating a form for application owners to fill out during implementation can set you up for a quicker onboarding experience when your vendor remote access solution is live. Some great questions to start asking include;

  • Who are your vendors who have remotely accessed your computer and/or application in the last year?
  • What systems are they accessing? IP/hostname?
  • What is the vendor doing when they access your network? Are they: updating, consulting, accessing databases, and/or proprietary software?
  • How would you describe our relationship with the vendor?

As you start building out your remote access solution it’s always a great idea to test connections through the product to ensure things are working properly before attempting to onboard the vendor. Here at SecureLink, we see an easier adoption when the vendor experiences a smooth connection on their first attempt. 

Key takeaways

One key thing is to start off with momentum and do not let up until you meet an adoption rate you are satisfied with. At SecureLink specifically, we’ve seen projects fail because there was not enough engagement across the organization. Get the buy-in early and ensure all teams are doing their part in rolling out your new solution. 

To learn more about how to implement a full vendor management program download our brochure that highlights the importance of having a software platform specifically to manage vendors’ privileged access to systems, networks, and applications.

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