CRMG Perspective: Why your vendors could pose the greatest cyber risk to your business

It’s common for businesses to work with a wide range of suppliers.

From outsourced payroll management to accounting software, organisations of all sizes rely on vendors and the services they provide for business-critical processes, solutions and activities. But did you know that these suppliers can pose a significant risk when it comes to cyber security? 

Third-party providers can act as a hidden back door through which attackers can access and take down your business. Without the right products and processes in place, your supplier’s cyber risk becomes your own, and that leaves you vulnerable not only to a cyber attack but also to other consequences of poor vendor cyber security hygiene. 

This lack of awareness means that small to medium-sized businesses are not ascertaining the level to which their vendors are cyber resilient, nor taking the steps required to close any gaps that attackers could and will exploit given the opportunity. 

Of course, most businesses are unsure how to assess a vendor regarding the cyber security protections and processes they have in place, or how to identify areas of exposure and how to address them. 

This is where CRMG’s Vendor Cyber Risk Manager service comes in. 

It’s important to gain a clear picture of all of the vendors you work with and the services they provide to you (as some services will be business-critical and others not). 

So the first step is to undertake a full supplier review as this helps us to understand the relationships you have with your suppliers – and the services they provide – which in turn allows you to prioritise where cyber risk exposure is most likely to exist.

Based on the vendor’s risk profile, the next step is to carry out a supplier cyber security assessment based on the specific product or service offered, the data sharing required and the contract terms. This is done via a tailored questionnaire that ensures the right level of depth without overburdening the provider.

We understand the importance of the relationships between a business and its vendors, so our questionnaire has been carefully crafted to be as easy to complete as possible while also generating the insights required to objectively determine the level of risk exposure.  

Using the answers to the questionnaire, we create a supplier assessment report for each third party you work with. Each report highlights the degree of cyber risk exposure and any weaknesses for the vendor to address, plus the security measures that will be most effective in addressing them. 

In addition, we can provide actionable outputs that equip the Procurement and Legal functions to undertake contractual negotiations that genuinely reflect the risk profile of the relationship. 

Ultimately, our Vendor Cyber Risk Manager service gives you a clear picture of supplier control gaps, indicating the level of risk they pose, and provides you with recommendations for remediation, directing you to apply appropriately rigorous measures.  

This also helps when it comes to working with new suppliers. Moving forwards, you have all the data you need to make informed decisions for onboarding vendors, renegotiating current supply contracts and, if needed, terminating high-risk relationships.

Of course, your suppliers are just one of the ways in which your organisation could be exposed to a cyber attack, but it is a ‘route in’ that slips under the radar more than most. But with our Vendor Cyber Risk Manager service, we not only help you close the back door between you and your suppliers, but we also ensure that it’s securely locked. 

Do you have a cyber security project to discuss?

Speak to our team now.