Data Privacy Week: Minding Your Third-Party Risk Management with AI
It’s Data Privacy Week, a time to reflect on the importance of protecting our data – whether it be personal information or business intelligence, in an increasingly digital world. While we often focus on securing devices, e-mail, and cloud apps, there’s another crucial aspect of data privacy that can easily be overlooked: third-party risk management and vendor risk management.
In a digital-first world, organizations rely on a vast network of third-party vendors and partners, from cloud service providers and marketing agencies to software developers and HR and payment processors. Each of these partnerships introduces potential vulnerabilities, as our data often flows through their systems and networks.
Why are third-party cyber risks so important to assess?
Expanded attack surface: Every third-party you work with or are connected with creates another potential entry point for malicious intent. A breach at one vendor can expose the sensitive data of all its clients, vendors, and employees.
Limited visibility: You don’t have full control over the security practices of your third-party vendors. Weaknesses in their systems can leave your data and business exposed if you don’t take the necessary precautions to assess a vendor before working with them.
Compliance challenges: Many data privacy regulations, like GDPR and CCPA, hold organizations accountable for data breaches that occur through their third-party vendors.
AI-powered third-party cyber risk assessments: Your shield against hidden threats
An AI-powered third-party cyber risk assessment is an automated and systematic process of evaluating the security posture of your vendors with the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning models. It helps your third-party risk and cybersecurity teams understand potential vulnerabilities in their systems and processes, allowing you to:
Make informed decisions: Choose vendors with robust security practices and mitigate the risk of data breaches with continuous monitoring.
Negotiate contracts: Include data security clauses that hold vendors accountable for protecting your information.
Monitor and manage risk: Continuously assess your vendor relationships and address any emerging security concerns.
Data Privacy Week is a perfect time to prioritize third-party risk management. Here are some actionable steps you can take:
Develop a third-party risk management program: Establish clear policies and procedures for evaluating and managing third-party vendors.
Conduct in-depth AI-powered cyber risk assessments: An assessment should never be a point in time practice. Your organization should be regularly assessing the security posture of your vendors, utilizing automation and AI to complete more assessments in a shorter period of time.
Deepening risk assessments with security artifacts: Still using checklists and spreadsheets to conduct cyber risk assessments? Requiring security artifacts like SOC 2 reports and ISOs can dramatically decrease the chance of working with a risky vendor.
Require security certifications: Look for vendors with recognized security certifications like SOC 2 or ISO 27001.
Communicate expectations: Clearly communicate your data security requirements to your vendors and hold them accountable.