Can your solutions providers be trusted with your sensitive business data? After all, a data leak can cause irreparable brand damage. We explore the risks of partnering with digital agencies with poor cybersecurity. We then unpack the importance of working with agencies that have achieved ISO accreditation.
In 2022, cyberattacks are a greater business concern than supply chain disruption, COVID-19 or climate change — according to the latest Allianz Risk Barometer. Businesses are right to be worried about their cybersecurity. As Check Point’s 2022 security report reveals, cyberattacks against corporate networks have increased by 50% since 2020, with big players like JBS food company and Spotify having recently fallen victim to attack.
Companies that do not adapt to these new laws face heavy fines. If your company does business in the EU, for instance, failure to meet GDPR compliance can cost you €20 million or up to 4% of annual global turnover.
Given the state of cybersecurity, many companies are rightly asking: who has access to our business and client data — and can we trust them?
Can you trust your agency partners?
From building websites to creating content, companies rely on the expertise of third-party agencies to grow. For most partnerships, working with an agency requires sharing sensitive data while collaborating over cloud-based platforms.
In the case of CRM projects, this involves sharing log-in details and administrator privileges with multiple agency stakeholders. By extending these privileges, you are giving your partner a clear view of your processes and customer and employee data. It’s like handing over the keys to your castle. This level of access is compounded if your CRM links your sales, customer service, marketing and operations teams.
The fallout from a CRM breach can be devastating. When USCellular’s CRM was hacked in 2021, cybercriminals accessed customer names, addresses, PINs and mobile numbers, along with service plans and billing statements. It could take years for the company to repair the reputational damage caused by this incident.
But what can companies do to prevent cyberattacks? With cybersecurity, your protections are only as strong as your weakest link. So, if you share access to your system with partners, they are equally responsible for guarding against cyber threats. Unfortunately, security standards are so low that cybercriminals can hack 93% of company networks, as Positive Technology research shows.
Considering the poor state of cybersecurity, what can you do to find partners with rigorous security procedures? The answer is simple: look for an ISO:27001 accreditation.
What is ISO:27001? And what’s the link between ISO accreditation and strong cybersecurity?
ISO:27001 sets the requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and continually improving an information security management system. Companies with ISO:27001 certifications follow a strict set of information security best practices and security controls for managing information risks. The benefits of working with an ISO-certified agency include:
Proven, iron-clad cybersecurity — many agencies claim to have implemented their information security management system to ISO standards. But without accreditation, potential partners cannot guarantee that they follow the best practices for safeguarding your data. Conversely, ISO:27001-certified agencies offer guaranteed protections, along with the peace of mind that your data is safe in their hands.
Demonstrated culture of care — to achieve ISO accreditation, agencies need to train their stakeholders on cybersecurity concerns while also creating a culture of vigilance and care. This is crucial in preventing social-engineering attacks — the source of the vast majority of cyberattacks.
You’ll be working with a forward-thinkingagency — companies that focus on information security and ISO certification are preparing for current and future concerns. For instance, agencies that have achieved ISO accreditation are already equipped to adapt to proposed data and privacy regulations. Partnering with such agencies is key in performing due diligence and achieving compliance for your own business. Securing an ISO-certified partner also sends a sign to your stakeholders, investors and regulators that you are committed to cybersecurity.
Another piece of the cybersecurity puzzle relates to the rise of remote work and the fact that companies are far more vulnerable to cyber attacks without the security protections that office systems afford. To infiltrate corporate and customer assets, hackers use a Swiss Army knife approach that specifically targets remote workers. Their methods range from spreading malware through emails to gaining access to employee devices through unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
ISO accreditation is proof that a company has implemented the appropriate risk control measures to ensure that employee devices are secure when used in the office or remotely.
Partnering with an ISO:27001 accredited provider
ISO:27001 accreditation is credible evidence that an agency can manage all the information security risks involved in working with you — and that they have the culture of security needed to protect your data. Significantly, your partner should also have processes in place to help you meet your legal and regulatory obligations under privacy laws such as GDPR.