A Quick Guide to Mitigating Third-party Security Risks

Companies still relying on their on-premise infrastructure setup will need to bring in a third-party supplier, at one stage in their business, for various reasons, from new app implementation to software optimisation and other external consulting services.

However integral third-party services become to the success of the business operation, the exposure to threats and risks is likely to increase. As it often happens in on-premise server environments, there is a serious risk of compromising data security and integrity from external and third-party suppliers accessing the system.

Threats arising from third-party engagements require enterprises to adopt a risk management approach for assets, and even more so when outdated on-premise systems need additional security.

By contrast, a cloud-based approach will enable easier system scalability and the integration of third-party applications while enforcing built-in security from the beginning. Most cloud ecosystems are built to integrate well with major trustworthy third-party apps and services.

Virtualization can increase IT agility, flexibility, and scalability while creating significant cost savings. Workloads get deployed faster, performance and availability increases and operations become automated, resulting in IT that’s simpler to manage and less costly to own and operate.

The consequences of not mitigating third-party risks for a vulnerable infrastructure may include unauthorised access to critical systems, data breaches, loss of confidential data, unwanted downtime of critical systems and network resources due to the outsourcing infrastructure, loss of client trust and reputational damage.

Creating a risk mitigation strategy for a third-party product or service can be a tedious task without an automated system in place. It consists of a comprehensive approach to identify, assess, and mitigate third-party risks.

It’s important to identify risks when engaging with a third-party and accounting for all tools or services used on-premise or hosted on an external network. After identification, proceed with risk ranking and prioritisation, followed by an assessment to evaluate the impact of multiple risks. Finally, all threats must be mitigated in a cost-efficient and time-effective manner and communicated to the third-party for remediation.

It’s critical to implement security controls for on-premise infrastructure and have the capabilities to monitor third-party assets, allowing the detection and mitigation of risk concerning non-compliance, unethical practices, exposure to systems and resources, legal issues, and access to confidential data.

Moving to a cloud environment may assist companies with not only the required flexibility and scalability, but also to minimise redundancies and inefficiencies, in addition to improving visibility into risks, performance, and compliance of third-party activities.