Companies of all sizes in every industry need to take extra precaution when it comes to protecting themselves against cyber-attacks. A few years back, many Americans fell victim to an attack on a well-known store called Target. Unfortunately, many Americans didn’t have a full understanding of what happened. Target was not the company that exposed so many people’s sensitive data. In fact, it was a third-party vendor that Target had hired. Yet, many people have a view of Target that is less than spectacular because of the third-party vendor’s mishap. This is a compelling reason that business owners need to take very seriously the security precautions of their third-party vendors.
If a third-party vendor that your company does business with unintentionally exposes the data of your customers, your customers are not going to care whether it was you or the third-party vendor; in the minds of your customer, it’s your fault. Your company owns the data, therefore it’s your responsibility to protect it from the day that it’s collected to the day you destroy it. Business functions can be outsourced, but the responsibility of protecting that data is still yours.
An integral element that should be known when it comes to third-party vendors is the understanding of what is being done with your data that you have provided to them. Where does the data reside? If the data is highly sensitive, maybe this is data that you shouldn’t put into another company’s hands. Knowing what types of data you’re sharing with the vendor will help you and the vendor set expectations on how the data should be handled and secured. These security expectations should be included in the contract, so it is known who is liable if anything were to happen.
Before you choose a third-party vendor, it’s incredibly essential to do your due diligence on potential vendors. Asking for a detailed Service and Organizational Control (SOC) report is a good place to start. Basically, this is a voluntary audit by an external reviewer that vendors may go through to show what they are doing to protect the data that is given to them by their clients. Reviewing this audit should be a non-negotiable step taken with every potential vendor. Remember, when it comes to a third-party data breach, your customers don’t care – IT’S STILL YOUR FAULT.
Third party vendors can make doing business easier and, in many cases, the right vendor can help your business grow by reducing the complexity of doing business. Performing the extra due diligence on a potential third-party vendor is a crucial part of any business’s cybersecurity plan.
LibertyID is the leader in identity theft restoration, having restored the identities of tens of thousands of individuals without fail. If you retain personal information on your customers, now it is the time to get data breach planning and a response program in place with our LibertyID for Small Business data breach preparation program. With LibertyID Enterprise you can now add value to existing products, services, or relationships by covering your customers, employees, or members with LibertyID’s fully managed identity theft restoration service—at a fraction of our retail price—with no enrollment and no file sharing. We have no direct communication with your group members–until they need us.
Call us now for a no obligation proposal at 844-411-LIBERTY (844-411-5423).