Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

11/26/2011
12:02 PM
Commentary
Commentary
Commentary
50%
50%

Partner Management: Compliance Program Is Essential

Understanding the risk associated with a partner relationship and managing it accordingly is key

If you look at almost every regulation or contract, from HIPAA to state privacy laws to PCI DSS, every one has provisions for managing partners that have access to protected data. However, many organizations new to compliance (or with immature compliance programs) have a difficult time determining how to “manage” their vendors.

The key to effective management of vendors is to understand the risk that each vendor poses, and to manage that risk over the long term. This means assessing risk, establishing controls, and monitoring the effectiveness of the controls periodically for the life of the relationship.

Regulations require organizations to monitor the state of the relationship and take responsibility for the practices of the partner. These relationships require assessment, legal agreements, and regular communication. At the heart of this practice is the idea that organizations need to view a breach at a partner as just as dangerous as a compromise in their own enterprises.

The first step in effectively managing partners is to understand what data is shared with a partner and to determine the inherent risk. The inherent risk is the worst-case scenario in which the data is compromised. This means imagining the compromise without factoring in the likelihood of it occurring. Understanding inherent risk allows an organization to understand the criticality of the vendor and determine to what degree it should invest in analyzing its security practices and protecting the data.

Once you understand the data shared, you should ask yourself whether all the data needs to be shared. Sometimes this analysis and some creative thinking can eliminate sensitive data fields and substantially reduce the risk of compromise. However, it could be that critical information needs to be shared. If so, you’ll need to ensure that the organization is going to protect the data in a compliant manner.

If the data is extremely sensitive (e.g., includes Social Security numbers, protected health information, or payment card data), you will need to find a cost-effective method for analyzing the vendor’s security and compliance controls. The options are to conduct your own assessment, contract someone to conduct an assessment, or trust someone else’s assessment.

In a future post, I’ll describe ways to assess whether the vendor is capable of meeting your requirements and the pros and cons of various assessment methods. The important point to remember is that you need to be confident that the vendor’s business model, technical controls, and legal commitments will allow you to comply the particular regulation or regulations that require you to protect the data.

Richard Mackey is vice president of consulting at SystemExperts Corp.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Florida Town Pays $600K to Ransomware Operators
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  6/20/2019
Pledges to Not Pay Ransomware Hit Reality
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  6/21/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-12280
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-25
PC-Doctor Toolbox before 7.3 has an Uncontrolled Search Path Element.
CVE-2019-3961
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-25
Nessus versions 8.4.0 and earlier were found to contain a reflected XSS vulnerability due to improper validation of user-supplied input. An unauthenticated, remote attacker could potentially exploit this vulnerability via a specially crafted request to execute arbitrary script code in a users browse...
CVE-2019-9836
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-25
Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV) on Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Platform Security Processor (PSP; aka AMD Secure Processor or AMD-SP) 0.17 build 11 and earlier has an insecure cryptographic implementation.
CVE-2019-6328
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-25
HP Support Assistant 8.7.50 and earlier allows a user to gain system privilege and allows unauthorized modification of directories or files. Note: A different vulnerability than CVE-2019-6329.
CVE-2019-6329
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-25
HP Support Assistant 8.7.50 and earlier allows a user to gain system privilege and allows unauthorized modification of directories or files. Note: A different vulnerability than CVE-2019-6328.