As a business owner, it is your responsibility to ensure the security of customer data. While you may have robust security measures in place internally, if you rely on third-party vendors to support your business, it is essential that you also perform due diligence on their security and disaster practices. Failing to do so can lead to profound consequences, including data breaches and loss, downtime, and civil lawsuits.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to perform operational due diligence on your vendors, and your process should go beyond a template word document with 7 - 10 "fill in the blank" questions.
First, trust but verify. Schedule a zoom meeting with each service provider. Ask them to explain their security measures and how they can validate what they told you. Do not just take their word at face value. If needed, hire a security consultant to ask the right questions. When you collect your information, make the service provider put what they said in writing.
Second, review their incident response plan to ensure that they are prepared to deal with a data breach should one occur. How frustrating is it to lose your cell signal on your mobile phone for 2 minutes? Now imagine losing access to a mission-critical application for multiple days. That is not frustrating, that can derail a business.
Finally, ask for references. Specifically, customers that have worked with the service provider for a minimum of five years. Hop on a call and ask those customers about their experience with the service team and how the company has updated its security policies over the last five years.
By taking these steps, you can help protect your business from the devastating consequences of system failures, data breaches, and data loss.
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