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Addressing Third-Party Risks to Improve Australian Cyber Resilience

Author: James Ross

Date: 07/08/2024

Australian businesses and government agencies are rapidly changing and looking at a transformation from an infrastructure-centric, on-prem, protect everything model to a cloud-based model.  As technology and strategies shift, IT and cybersecurity teams face unprecedented challenges. The majority of global businesses believe supply chain attacks can become a major threat within the next three years, with 48% of Asia-Pacific organizations experiencing at least one such attack in the last 12 months, according to a recent study. There’s no denying that it’s a growing issue becoming a real weak spot in the chain of protecting privacy. 

The Rise of Localized Breaches

More and more agencies are seeing the effects of third-party risk. And it’s catching the attention of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). Recently, Australian user details were compromised in a leak of supplier data held by New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory clubs. More than 1 million people had their names, addresses, and driver’s license information exposed. This breach and countless others are forcing the OAIC to have a clear and effective data breach response plan for organizations.

Australian Cyber Security Strategy

In response to the overwhelming number of breaches government agencies face, the Australian government has crafted an action plan known as the Australian Cyber Security Strategy. The overarching goal of this plan is to uplift the security of the Commonwealth Government. Some initiatives include:

  • Enabling the National Cyber Security Coordinator to oversee the implementation and reporting of the cyber security uplift
  • Developing a whole-of-government Zero Trust culture
  • Conduct regular interviews on the cyber maturity of Commonwealth entities 
  • Designating ‘Systems of Government Significance’ that need to be protected with a higher level of cyber security
  • Developing the cyber skills of the APS

By 2030, this action plan should strengthen and protect government data and digital real estate across the whole government. 

How to Build a Strong Third-Party Strategy

Government organizations must stay alert as the Australian government does its due diligence to implement guidelines and frameworks. According to a 2023 ACSC report, 43% of government agencies don’t know how many third-party relationships they have. Being unaware of external access security risks is a problem that requires immediate solutions.

Government agencies must have a solid third-party strategy to avoid breaches, have stronger collaborations, and stay in control. Best External Identity and Risk Management practices, also known as third-party access governance, include:

  • Establishing risk-based policies and procedures
  • Conducting rigorous vendor due diligence
  • Implementing strong access controls for third-party access
  • Enhancing cybersecurity awareness and training for third-party vendors
  • Strengthening incident response and communication with third-party vendors

Leverage a Modern Converged Identity Platform

So what does this mean in the real world for government organizations? What exactly should agencies or departments do to build a strong third-party strategy? The solution is a modern converged identity platform. Converged identity platforms simplify implementation and management, providing deeper visibility, intelligence, controls, and automation across identity ecosystems. This quickly detects and mitigates identity-related risks, ensuring that agencies remain compliant and safe. Furthermore, centralizing information in a single dashboard allows security teams to make more informed decisions. 

Secure Your Organization With The Identity Cloud from Saviynt

Don’t develop your third-party strategy alone. The Identity Cloud from Saviynt can help. Saviynt ‘s External Identity solution lets you control the entire third-party access lifecycle from first introduction to relationship completion. Automate external identity lifecycle management from onboarding to ensuring complete offboarding at project termination. Develop policy-based, third-party access lifecycle management workflows to improve productivity and enhance security.

As the world moves toward cloud adoption, the private and public sectors need validated solutions to safeguard privacy and data. Collaboration between regulators and vendors is critical to building a strong defense. This is why Saviynt has completed the IRAP assessment and will participate biennially to ensure continued growth.

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