Using vendors is essential for many aspects of business to ensure you are harnessing the expertise you need. While you may assess your vendors for the service they are providing, it is equally important to understand and monitor the cyber security measures they have in place. Neglecting to do this can potentially put both your business and your customers at risk.
There are certain steps to follow when assessing the security of your vendors. First, you want to review your existing vendors and assign a rating to their security. Next, you should follow up on any security risks you uncover in this assessment. Defining vendors’ performance metrics is an important component to assessing their security, so make sure you take the time to determine a system. Finally, it is important to regularly examine your vendors' security performance. Consistency is key.
How do you identify high-risk vendors when reviewing your list? Before committing to any contracts or providing any sensitive data, investigate what measures the company has in place to prevent and respond to cyberattacks. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of the links you will have with the potential vendor so you can be cognizant of any vulnerable areas.
Gathering the proper information when assessing the cybersecurity of a vendor may seem daunting. Creating a questionnaire is a way to simplify this process. Some questions you may want to include are:
Once the necessary information is collected, assign a rating to each vendor. Not only will a rating help you select new vendors, but it will also aid in prioritizing how often to monitor existing vendors. You will have an indicator of where you should put more of a focus in monitoring security.
As mentioned, it is important that you have some sort of performance indicators set to easily communicate expectations with vendors. This will also help in the rating process as you will have clear measurements to determine performance. Your organization’s management should collaborate to define and agree upon the performance indicators.
In addition to having an assessment process in place, there are also companies that provide solutions for cyber risk management with software, consultation, and other services. This is another option to continuously monitor the cybersecurity health of your business and the vendors you partner with.
A complete analysis that includes thorough review for current and potential partners is key to keeping your business safe. Beginning this process might seem overwhelming, but it can seem easier to tackle if you have a designated method. Another step to safeguarding your business is making sure you have insurance coverage for cybercrime, such as that provided in Acuity’s Cyber Suite!