What is third-party remote access?
Risk management is critical for any company looking for growth and profit instead of liabilities and reputational damages. So let's answer an important question: What is third-party remote access, and why should you care? Networks can be attacked from all sides. The surface area of your network is determined by the points of entry to your network by people (both internal employees and external third parties) and things. With a third-party connection, it is not only a potential security risk, but the risks that are associated are huge. Depending on the enterprise or company, employees can come in many forms, like those who work in the office, or those who work remotely. You may also have contractors or consultants who work at the same company, or even employees that are entirely offsite. Many companies work with third-party vendors that provide valuable technology, or other services. Third-party vendors often provide specialized services that are more cost-effective. Since most third-party vendors work offsite, they need remote access to your network in order to support their technology. If you do not securely manage this third-party network access, your vulnerable surface area gets bigger. In other words, you're leaving doors open that could lead to a breach of confidential data or a ransomware attack. It’s critical to have complete control over every vendor connection, tight credential management, and audit for all user activity.
Third-party remote access definition
Third-party remote access is the system in which external users are able to connect with a defined network. The best third-party remote access platform will make sure that the connection is secure, controlled, and monitored at all times. Sadly, many enterprises still give their third-party vendors credentials that often provide privileged access. Frequently, this third-party connection is taken advantage of by bad actors because they can easily use a third-party vendor's credentials to get onto an enterprise's network.
Front door locked, windows open: An analogy
An advanced third-party access platform, internal risk training, and robust vendor security policies are important to create a secure operating network. While many companies and their IT personnel focus on secure internal company access, these same businesses may not have a secure third-party remote access solution. Credentials are often shared among vendor support reps, and this puts enterprises and their networks at higher risk. No matter how many locks you put on the front door, if a side window is unmonitored and open, bad actors can slip into your space without setting off an alarm to steal sensitive information, or they can even create additional backdoors into your network. The best secure remote access platform will make sure the doors and windows are closed, and all cracks are sealed.
Third-party best practices: securing your access points
Now is the time to get your vendors and platform aligned. The best way to protect your most valuable assets and make sure your vendors stay safe in case of a breach is to practice critical access management. Made up of three pillars (access governance, access control, and access monitoring), employing the best techniques to practice third-party access management is the best safeguard against a third-party cyber attack.
Best practices for securing third-party access include:
- Creating a tightly enforced access policy through role-based access control.
- Utilize least privilege access for granular user access rights.
- Audit third-party connections periodically with user access reviews.
- Employ access control methods such as access notifications, time-based access, or access approvals.
- Proactively and reactively monitor and analyze user access with access monitoring tools.
Third-party access control
Access control, or having precision and control over when and how a person can exercise their access rights, can apply to both internal and external users. It's especially important to apply types of access control to third parties, as they carry with them the biggest risk. Access control is an additional layer of security on top of access governance that helps protect those assets that qualify as “high risk” at an organization, and it's entirely possible a third-party may need to access those high risk assets regularly. More access control over third parties equals more security and more assurance that, if there is a breach, the field of attack will be narrowed considerably. Make sure your organization is practicing access management for your third-party vendors with our access governance and access control checklists.