Cyber-Security Risks Posed by Suppliers Highlighted by Financial Group
Almost all companies rely on third-party suppliers, but few consider the IT security risks that these providers inadvertently deliver along with their services and software.While cyber-attackers are increasingly targeting third-party suppliers as a way to get access to their clients, most companies do not evaluate the security readiness of their partners and software providers. A group of 10 financial firms aims to remedy this lack of oversight with the release of guidelines advising companies on the best ways to evaluate the risk posed by their third-party suppliers. Security managers from Aetna, Capital One, Citibank, Morgan Stanley and Thomson Reuters formed the Third-Party Software Security Working Group, part of the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, (FS-ISAC) and published the guidelines last month. While the security assessment of third-party vendors is a common requirement for various compliance regimes, those evaluations typically boil down to self-assessment questionnaires and are only completed annually, Jim Routh, chief information security officer at Aetna told eWEEK. "The controls that have been well established to evaluate third parties do not really reflect the change in the attack surface and are not comprehensive enough to have kept up with advances in security practices," Routh said.
Suppliers are a real source of security risk for companies, but one usually overlooked by businesses. In its 2013 Global Security Report, security services firm Trustwave found that 63 percent of compromised firms had outsourced a significant part of their information-technology operations.