Why Auditing External Service Providers Is A Must

Networks are often protected with security implementations that are developed using external service providers. So, how are you supposed to know if these providers have compromised your data? How do you go about auditing the security posture of external service providers? Here are a few best practices to help examine your risk exposure and, if necessary, take action.

Auditing External Service Providers

External service providers have become attack gateways. Consider, for example, the 2014 Target hack and the Verizon breach in early 2016. In both cases, attackers were able to sidestep tight security and gain access to personally identifiable data through a third-party vendor’s access point. You might have an extremely tight internal security posture; however, if your service providers aren’t as diligent, you’re just as vulnerable. From a compliance perspective, you are just as accountable for a data breach if the fault lies with an external service provider as you are with any other breach method.

How Do You Ensure Your Data Is Safe?

The only way to truly secure your data is to ensure you service providers are secure, and the best way to do so is through auditing. Compliance requirements, whether they are industry best practice, or government-mandated, often necessitate an audit trail for all parties that can access your data. You need to have a secure audit trail that captures any and all remote access activity. In addition, you need to keep this audit information backed-up to a secure location on your network and implement alerts for any suspicious or unusual activity.

How Do You Audit Your Service Providers?

Audit requirements for your service providers will depend on your company’s specific industry and compliance needs. As a rule, you should hold your external service providers to the same security standards you maintain internally, in addition to meeting PCI-DSS requirements or NIST Cybersecurity Framework guidelines if necessary. An experienced and knowledgeable IT audit provider can help you determine the needs that should be addressed and how to go about conducting the audit.

Ensure Every Link Is Strong

As the saying goes: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. At Security Pursuit, we design a comprehensive and objective analysis of your security posture customized to your specific business needs and compliance requirements. For instance, establishing an audit trail will help your organization create a best practice framework that can be applied to external service providers. We'll quickly identify strengths and vulnerabilities, and work with you to develop a detailed remediation plan focusing on critical external security threats.