Cyber resilience: making your third-party vendors part of your security environment

Updated: Dec 23, 2020



We live in an era where there’s a need for real-time visibility of an organisation’s security posture. Without this kind of clarity, we wouldn’t know if our efforts today will also work tomorrow. It takes only a single moment for an organisation’s defence strategy to come crashing down.


Today, we need to shift to a more dynamic, real-time cyber defence.


That’s not all. Even though we are aware of cyber risks, we aren’t prepared to respond to them at any given moment. Risks or hackers don’t schedule attacks; they work around the clock to steal your data. Incidents are becoming more sophisticated and persistent.


This is why organisations now need to move from cybersecurity to cyber resilience.


The more pressing need is to develop a cyber-resilient vendor management process. The Blackbaud incident is one great example of why we need to create cyber resilience when it comes to third parties. The ripple effect this breach created and is continuing to create is a fair warning: cyber resilience in third-party risk management is an absolute necessity.


What is a cyber resilience strategy?


A cyber resilience programme needs to include a programmatic approach to withstanding cyber-attacks. You can even model it based on the three Ps: predict, prioritise, and practise.


The goal is to build a defence strategy that can anticipate a breach rather than react to it. It is also to keep delivering goods and services at all times.


It also needs to have a governance framework centred on the relevant policies, procedures, and accountability. This framework needs to be integrated into your business strategy. It also needs the right technology, the right people, and a schedule for ongoing maintenance.


This way, cyber threats can no longer impact your confidentiality, integrity, and availability.


Traditional security measures are now redundant. This is why the concept of cyber resilience emerged. These traditional measures aren't enough to defend organisations against the spate of persistent attacks. Mimecast State of Email Security 2020 Report even reveals that 31% of organisations experienced data loss due to lack of cyber-resilience preparedness.


If organisations are cyber resilient:


  • They can defend themselves against cyber threats

  • Their cybersecurity risk management is effective

  • They can guarantee business continuity during and after cyber incidents


The four elements needed to achieve cyber resilience


  1. Manage and safeguard

This involves the development of skills and processes to identify, assess, and mitigate cyber risks. These are risks that are affecting your network, information systems, and the vendor ecosystem.

  1. Recognise and detect

This involves the use of processes to detect gaps and potential data breaches and leaks before any significant damage. The processes used can be continuous security monitoring and attack-surface management.

  1. Respond and recover

This involves the implementation of incident response planning. This ensures business continuity even when you are facing a threat.

  1. Govern and guarantee

This calls for the involvement of top management to oversee the cyber resilience programme. This ensures that it is regarded as a part of the usual business process.


Cyber resilience and third-party vendors


Cyber resilience allows organisations to build trust among vendors and other business associates. This helps them maintain secure relationships. Cyber resilience also looks beyond securing supply chains, enterprises, and operations. It safeguards the cyber environment.


The more recent trend in maintaining cyber resilience among third-party vendors is to adopt a zero-trust approach. It’s based on the principle that businesses shouldn’t automatically trust anything inside or outside their perimeters.


The zero-trust policy requires all users of an organisation to be authenticated and authorised. This must take place before they are granted access to applications. Use the four elements of cyber resilience to deliver the zero-trust approach. This way, attackers won’t have a chance to exploit your third-party relationships to gain access.


Streamline cyber resilience across your third-party vendor ecosystem


Implement a cyber resilience strategy across all areas of your organisation and ensure its continued survival despite ongoing attacks. Contact RiskXchange to integrate our real-time cyber risk score today.


RiskXchange is a company founded and led by recognised experts within the security industry who have held leading roles in companies like IBM Security.


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