Many modern businesses use Managed Service Providers to handle all their IT needs and ensure their cybersecurity is up to scratch. However, as we learned from the Kaseya supply chain attack, even these MSPs can be hacked. Though an MSP hack is rare and unlikely, it can be devastating because it allows the criminals access to your system via a channel you trust.
To protect yourself from these and other third-party attacks, keep the following five facts in mind:
1. You probably won’t see it coming
The beauty of a third-party attack from the criminal’s perspective is that they can easily slip past even the most robust cybersecurity by targeting a company’s employees, supply chain, or vector.
Your business may be impenetrable via direct means, but all it takes is for an employee to access a compromised website from a work computer for your whole system to be infiltrated. Similarly, a company you do business with may have lower security standards than you, allowing attackers to infiltrate their system and then reach yours via what looks for all the world like a safe update or email.
2. Supply chain transparency is more important than ever
Given the above point, it’s essential to have clear and open communication with every link in your supply chain. This means knowing every link in your supply chain, meaning there’s no room for ambiguity.
Not only must you have clear communication channels with your suppliers and customers, but you must also be able to talk openly with them about security issues. You have a right to know what your suppliers are doing to protect you from third-party attacks, and if they aren’t forthcoming with this information, it may be wise to consider other options.
3. Preparation is half the battle
Supply chain attacks are on the rise, which means the onus is on businesses to prepare for the worst-case scenario. By having an action plan prepared ahead of time, you can catch these attacks before they spread through your network and erode your reputation (and profits). This action plan is best constructed in cooperation with your MSP and the businesses in your supply chain.
4. Make cybersecurity part of your contracts
As mentioned, your vendors are potential weak links through which a cyberattack could be deployed. For this reason, it’s worth building some accountability into your contracts. This could mean making it an obligation for them to have a transparent cybersecurity strategy that has proven efficacy in swiftly detecting and effectively responding to breaches. You may, for example, also ask for confirmation that they have a secure code signing system in place to protect their keys from theft or misuse.
5. Eliminate single points of failure
This is another task that may be best handled by your MSP. Task them or your in-house IT team with identifying and eliminating any single points of failure in your IT infrastructure. For example, a second firewall can ensure you’re not compromised if the first one goes down. By addressing these weaknesses, you can limit the risk to your business, even if one of your suppliers is compromised by hackers.
Supply chain attacks have become an inevitable part of modern life, but that doesn’t mean all businesses will be affected by one. Consider the information above, prepare for third-party attacks in advance, and your business will be so well fortified that you will likely never have to go through the agony of discovering that your systems have been compromised.