A security system is only as strong as its weakest link. That’s one of the lessons enterprise IT teams can learn from the recent spate of security breaches.
If partners can connect to an enterprise’s internal network, or enterprise employees regularly exchange files with partners, then the weakest link might be on a partner’s network.
Obviously, an enterprise IT team will never be able to conduct continuous security audits of all its partner networks. Nor will they likely be able to forbid all communications with outsiders like partners. Business must get done, and business frequently involves collaboration with partners outside the enterprise. So enterprise IT organizations must accommodate external communications without jeopardizing security or employee productivity.
When designing and implementing enterprise security solutions, IT architects and security teams should begin by assuming that partner networks are unsafe. They should assume that inbound communications could carry malware, and that external communications might leak confidential data. They should then implement a secure communications solution that makes communication fast and convenient for employees, while taking every prudent measure to reduce risks and minimize the chance for attack.
We recommend that enterprises follow these best practices when evaluating and implementing security solutions for inter-organization communications:
By taking a systematic approach for partner communications, enterprise IT teams can reduce security risks while keeping partnerships productive and profitable.