Best practices to prevent data breaches for technology vendors

As a technology vendor, your number one goal is to provide the best service possible to your customers. The enterprises you support likely rely on you for pretty critical business functions, like operating machinery or storing confidential patient or client information. You’re a large part of why an enterprise can operate on a daily basis; essentially, your success is their success.  So, as a technology vendor, it’s understandable why your number one concern is any issue that could disrupt the service you’re providing to your customers. You promised quality work. You promised return on investment. You promised secure services that wouldn’t negatively impact your customers. When it comes to your business, you know you’ll do whatever it takes to make sure you come through on those promises. After all, it’s not just your customers you’re looking out for: It’s also your staff, their work, and their security you need to keep in mind.  One of the biggest and most threatening risks to technology vendors is a cyberattack. The amount of cyber criminals using technology vendors as a means to infiltrate organizational networks is rapidly increasing, and vendors need to protect themselves from this imminent threat. Just take a look at the SolarWinds hack - the technology firm was unknowingly victim to a cyberattack for months while malware reached thousands of its customers, like Microsoft and US government agencies. If a technology vendor trusted by Fortune 500 companies and the government was the victim of a cyberattack, it means all technology vendors are possible targets. Implementing best practices to prevent data breaches is a necessary step for technology vendors attempting to avoid these cyberattacks.

How can vendors avoid and prevent data breaches?

When it comes to cyberattacks, it’s practically a matter of when - not if - your technology company will be targeted and attacked. However, it is possible for third parties to prepare and get in front of cyber threats before they gain access and pose real danger. Here are some best practices to prevent data breaches and stop cyber attackers from making their way into your remote access connections:

  • Streamline your remote connections. Implementing a platform that can manage all your remote access connections not only makes things easier on you, but it also streamlines your support processes on a single platform and works across all operating systems so you can adequately and efficiently meet the needs of each customer.
  • Educate your employees. If something fishy (or should we say “phish-y”) is happening, your employees should know how to detect suspicious online behavior. Whether that’s a spam email from your “CFO” or weird system errors after a software update, be sure they know what to look out for, who to report suspicious activity to, and how to properly alert your customers if it also impacts them. 
  • Assess your current security practices. Some companies put cybersecurity policies in place but don’t update them as time goes on and as cyberattacks advance in skill and methodology. Ensure your security protocol is up-to-date and meets the needs or damage that a cyber threat can impose. Also, as a part of employee education, make sure your employees know what these security protocols are, so they know how to move forward should an incident occur. 
  • Make sure you know your customer’s security practices. Not only does this position you favorably in the eyes of your customer, but in the chance something does go wrong, you know exactly what to do, how to report it, and how to help solve the incident. 
  • Don’t widen the attack surface by using work technology for personal usage. Work computers are for work use only and any personal computer work should be done on a personal computer.  If an employee innocently goes to an external site, it opens up another avenue for a hacker to intrude the network space. The less secure a site, the more the chance a hacker could find an easier way into a company’s system. 
  • Reduce your time to resolution. That’s the goal of every technology vendor, right? A standardized platform can help do that by lessening the time needed to troubleshoot issues or juggle multiple remote access systems. It also means you’re in and out of your customer’s network more quickly, reducing the time frame a hacker could use to access a network. 
  • Out with the old and in with the new. If you are still using VPNs and desktop sharing tools for your remote work, think about the risks that come with these options. VPNs are one of the most common ways hackers enter networks, and desktop sharing tools lack the security controls needed for highly regulated industries like healthcare, legal, and finance. To be as secure as you can be, you need a remote support tool that adheres to industry security requirements and ensures protection from sophisticated hacking attempts that could compromise your remote connection and your customer’s network.
  • Audit and track your activity. What's the best way to know if there's suspicious network activity happening? Watching it happen! That's why audits and activity logs are critical for preventing data breaches. Visibility into network sessions limits liability and reduces the risk of unauthorized access into your customer's network. Auditing also holds your company accountable for an enterprise's network activity so if any behavior goes rogue, you can trace the source of the unusual activity and prove with audit logs and recordings that your team was performing business as usual and nothing more.
  • Standardize remote access. As a technology vendor, you are already responsible for the security and operations of an enterprise customer, which comes with all kinds of responsibilities. Adding regulatory practices, secure connectivity, network session monitoring, and activity logging to your daily to-do list is unrealistic and extremely inefficient. By standardizing your remote support and implementing a remote access management software, the heavy lifting is done for you. You can go about your duties knowing that the platform is already monitoring and logging your network behavior, implementing least privileged access and authenticating user identity for your customer's security, and capturing all the information needed for audits and compliance. 

If you already have a remote access system in place, whether that’s via VPNs or desktop sharing software, it’s not too late to replace those with a more secure remote support platform. While it seems like a heavy lift up front - taking what you have and replacing it with a new system - it’s well worth the time and effort when the results include more secure connections, reduced time to resolution, streamlined remote access connections to all your customers, and more peace of mind. And with Imprivata’s remote support platform, you can count on our team to help with the heavy lifting, providing integration and training for all your customers.  Imagine not having to worry about data breaches and possible hacks. Think about how much more value your company could bring to your current customers and more customers as your business begins to grow with this new, standardized way of working. There are all kinds of benefits to implementing a standardized remote support tool, for both your company and your clients. To see Imprivata’s remote access management platform in action, request a demo with our team and see if it’s the best fit for you and your technology services company.