October 3, 2023

As per the recent research report, 54% of businesses suffered a third-party data breach during the last one year’s time, The average cost of a data breach has risen to $4.45 million in the US, an increase of more than 15% over the past three years, and an alarming thing is that the involvement of third-parties.

The term “third-party breach” refers to potential partners and vendors and their security practices. Organizations need to effectively secure and manage non-employee identities to avoid putting themselves at unnecessary risk.

As the volume and severity of third-party breaches continue to grow, implementing effective non-employee risk management practices will become increasingly critical for modern business.The volume of identities in use by the average organization has skyrocketed over the past several years, and non-employee identities are no exception.


Today’s organization businesses work closely with partner organizations, supply chain vendors, consultants, and other outside entities, all of which require varying degrees of access to the organization’s digital environments.

To work within an organization’s digital environment, these non-employee entities need properly provisioned identities, and those identities need to be effectively managed throughout their life cycle to reduce their risk and avoid becoming a potential threat.

Onboarding and managing non-employee identities still remain one of the biggest challenges. Principles of least privileges need to be followed. The more permissions to an identity have, the more damage an attacker can do if that identity is compromised.

The transient nature of non-employee workers also makes managing the identity life cycle difficult. Orphaned accounts are a significant problem: If no one tells IT or security that a contractor has left, their account complete with all of its permissions, and entitlements can remain active indefinitely. Equally dangerous are legacy permissions or duplicate accounts. It’s important to regularly reassess the permissions a contract worker needs, eliminating entitlements that are no longer necessary.


Non-Employee Risk Management Measures

  • Stringent process and visualization of onboarding and Offboarding non-employee accounts
  • Solution to create dynamic groups for assigning membership and appropriate permissions to user sets.
  • Organizations should perform regular checks to validate whether non-employees are still working within the organization. This might include a monthly notification sent to each non-employee’s sponsor to confirm their status.
  • Organizations should be capable of monitoring whether permissions are being actively used and notifying the IT and security teams if an identity appears to be either dormant or overprovisioned with entitlements it does not need.
  • Verifying the dentities have only the entitlements they need and avoiding the problem of orphaned accounts are among the most important elements of non-employee risk management.

As businesses utilize an increasing number of contract workers, third-party vendors, SaaS applications, and other non-employee entities, adopting a modern approach to non-employee risk management is no longer optional — it’s essential.

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