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Managing 3rd Party Cyber Risk In A Rapidly Evolving Landscape

Originally published by New Context.

Venturing into and then taming the unknown has always been a human endeavor. Over history, each expansion has usually included the incorporation of new peoples, entities, languages, and other means of communication. For example, during the global pandemic of 1918-19, we were severely handicapped by the inability to transfer and receive important, reliable information efficiently. However, when confronted with COVID-19, innovations such as satellite communications, telemedicine, and Industry 4.0 technologies have enabled us to distribute information quickly, provide medical care without exposing patients to infection, and rapidly manufacture PPE and vaccines that were developed in record time.

At the heart of these essential technologies, which have enabled our rapid response to the new Coronavirus(es), is the leveraging of the advantages of digital transformation by enterprises, SMBs, and other companies to efficiently communicate in cyberspace. Bridging cyberspace is no different from the countless other new horizons that humanity has transcended, but there are risks that require making security a priority. Let’s explore these threats with particular emphasis on managing 3rd party cyber risks that may pose the greatest challenge to your cloud security.

Sources of Cyber Risks

Just as there is risk associated with any medical procedure, there are cloud security risks associated with any digital transformation migration. Prior to developing an effective mitigation strategy, it is necessary to develop sound and up-to-date cyber threat intelligence. It is probably most common to list cyber risks in terms of the type of activity—for example, phishing or hacking. However, it may be more helpful to understand cyber risk sources based upon where they actually occur within your cloud deployment.

Internal Risks

The most important aspect of any cloud migration and deployment is the security of information or InfoSec. Due to its critical nature, there are many rules and regulations to ensure that sensitive information is not compromised. For example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is intended to protect information that would identify specific patients and compromise personal medical records.

Although adherence to pertinent regulations is mandatory, breaches can occur if adequate internal security measures are not practiced. Internal breaches may be unintentional or benign, as are employee errors or targeted and malicious insider attacks. In many cases, these risks are not given the same level of consideration as external threats, making organizations quite vulnerable to them.

External Risks

One—if not the greatest—advantage of cloud migration is accessibility to information from anywhere and by anyone with a legitimate need. This includes API management tools, partnerships with other organizations, clients, and registered users. However, providing this access comes with potential exposure to bad actors in cyberspace that may include competitors, criminal organizations, and individuals. And the source for most external breaches comes from 3rd party cyber risks, which are vulnerabilities introduced by interaction with external tools and service providers.

Irrespective of the perpetrator, the security of your exposed data rests to some degree with the service providers that you rely upon and the 3rd party tools, which are software programs from developers and vendors with which you do not have a service agreement, utilized by those to which you grant access. Whether for data storage or other integration, reliance upon 3rd party tools and providers—for infrastructure support, data integration, telecommunications, or other services—is virtually unavoidable in cyberspace. Therefore, it is critical to institute protocols and mechanisms to optimally manage cloud security advantages and disadvantages with a focus on mitigating 3rd party cyber risks, whether the source is the tools used by your service providers and platform users or the external services that you utilize for infrastructure and support.

Essentials for Managing 3rd Party Cyber Risks

Although managing 3rd party cyber risks requires that you delegate some responsibility to external parties, you can have great impact on this aspect of your cloud security. In fact, by incorporating the following essentials into your deployment security structure, you can maximize its effectiveness.

How to Best Institute 3rd Party Risk Management (TPRM):

Prioritize data security during and after cloud migration

Base your deployment on a thorough data security risk assessment

Develop a detailed plan that includes internal and external cloud security vulnerabilities

Employ compliance automation solutions

Utilize API management best practices and tools

Only rely upon external services that provide robust shared security model support

TPRM is essential to safe and secure operations in the cloud. And, the best way for you to ensure your resources are safe from internal and external threats is to partner with a company that is dedicated to keeping the connected world safe.