Trusting Vendors With Your Data: The Importance of SOC 2 Compliance

Trusting Vendors With Your Data: The Importance of SOC 2 Compliance

Kory Underdown
December 14, 2022

Your cybersecurity strategy should begin with DNS filtering, but it definitely shouldn’t end there. In fact, your strategy needs to include more than just the security platforms and safeguards your own organization uses— it needs to include your vendors as well.

Third-party vendors are a requirement for any business to run smoothly, but in utilizing vendors, you’re also sharing your data with them. How much access do they have? The average organization utilizes somewhere between 250 and 500 third-party vendors. If each of those vendors also uses 250 vendors, you can see how your data can quickly be caught inside a very messy web.

Do you trust that vendors are keeping your data secure? 

Or are they putting your data at risk of being part of a breach?

It takes an average of 277 days for an organization to find out that their data has been breached via a third-party. Bad actors have it easy when they’re able to breach a vendor — why gain access to only one organization’s data when you could gain access to all of their customers?

How do these breaches happen? A few ways:

Phishing— Lack of employee security awareness training and DNS security leaves an organization open to phishing attacks. From here, bad actors gain employee credentials or access to the company’s network.

Malware— Lack of anti-virus and DNS security on endpoint devices leaves you open to malware and allows malicious access to your network.

Lack of encryption— Leaving data unencrypted, either on a drive or in the process of transmitting to a vendor, can lead to stolen credentials and internal threats because sensitive data is easily accessible

Poor password management— Storing passwords in plaintext, reusing passwords across websites, not using multi-factor authentication, and post-it notes, oh my! Hacking software can guess billions of password combinations in seconds. Once they have yours, bad actors are able to log right into your network.

How do you ensure your third-party vendors won’t fall victim to a breach?

The short answer: Vet their security strategy.

As you can imagine, vetting 250-500 vendors’ security strategies is a major task. However, some compliance certifications show that an auditor did that vetting for you.

SOC 2 Compliance 

SOC 2 (Systems and Organization Controls 2) is a security framework that organizations should follow to ensure they’re protecting customer data and mitigating vulnerabilities.

SOC 2 compliance ensures that an organization has defined their security policies and processes under the 5 Trust Services Criteria, and that they actually follow them.

5 Trust Services Criteria:

  • Security
  • Privacy
  • Processing Integrity
  • Confidentiality
  • Availability

All 5 criteria do not necessarily apply to every organization, but every SOC 2 report includes the Security criteria. If others are applicable, those must be included in their report as well.

Utilizing SOC 2 compliant vendors should be part of your cybersecurity strategy

Your cybersecurity strategy should not be limited to the policies you have in place. It shouldn’t end with how you handle your own data or how you train employees.

It’s growing increasingly important to consider how your third-party vendors are handling your data, as well.

Committing to utilizing vendors that can prove they’ve done the work to create and follow effective security processes and policies reduces the ease of bad actors looking to gain access to your data. When layered with a DNS filtering service, firewalls, least-privileged data access, and employee training, this step helps keep your organization safer than most.

Obviously this is not a guarantee that your data will never be compromised, but it is an important piece of the puzzle. 

Learn more about the importance of SOC 2 in this on-demand webinar, Trusting Vendors With Your Data: The Importance of SOC 2 Compliance.

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