Third Party Vendors Pose Big Risks To Businesses

by CXOtoday News Desk    Apr 14, 2016


An average company’s network is accessed by 89 different vendors every week. As per the new research by Bomgar on Vendor Vulnerability report, there are more than 600 IT decision makers of medium to large enterprises but only a third knew the exact number of vendors accessing their systems.

Matt Dircks, CEO at Bomgar, which sponsored the research stated that the number of partners, vendors, contractors and temporary workers who require access is only increasing.

Three quarters of those polled stated the number of third-party vendors used by their organization has increased in the last two years, and 71 per cent believe the numbers will continue to increase in the next two years.

“It’s becoming an exponentially contentious problem. It is not that companies are not aware of the potential risks, but it has become an exponential contentious problem,” he said.

In fact, 81 per cent of respondents admitted that high profile data breaches, such as the 2013 attack on Target, have increased their awareness of the need for better third-party vendor controls. Yet only a third (35 per cent) are confident they know the exact number of vendors accessing their IT systems.

56 per cent of companies have some degree of ability to track or limit what outsiders are doing on their networks. Whereas, 44 per cent have an all-or-nothing approach to vendor access management.

As a result, while 92 per cent said they trust vendors completely or most of the time, two-thirds admitted that they tend to trust vendors too much, and 69 per cent reported that they had definitely or possibly suffered a security breach resulting from vendor access in the past year.

77 per cent of respondents said they expect to have a breach within the next two years based on the vendors in their networks.

“I was surprised,” said Dircks. The risks are likely to increase, he added, as a result of the growth of the IoT and of sub-contractors.

74 per cent survey respondents said they were concerned about IT breaches originating from connected devices during the next year and 72 per cent see vendors using their own sub-contractors as a further risk.

As per Bomgar, two main factors are contributing to the lack of oversight of vendor access.

i) The difficulty of keeping up with the changing cyber threat landscape 

ii) Making sure all their third-party access policies and up-to-date and adequately enforced.