Safeguarding your business: Navigating third-party app risks

In today's digital landscape, using third-party apps can significantly enhance your small business's productivity and efficiency.

In today’s digital landscape, using third-party apps can significantly enhance your small business’s productivity and efficiency. However, it’s essential to understand the potential risks involved and take steps to protect sensitive data. When you input customer information into a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform or use an accounting app, you grant sensitive data access to a third-party application.

A third-party app not created by the same party that developed the platform or device it’s used on can benefit small businesses significantly. These apps, including communication and project management tools, customer management systems, and payment apps, can streamline workflows, improve customer experiences, and enhance business image. For instance, CRM systems help maintain customer relationships and drive sales, while payment apps facilitate quick and secure transactions.

Nevertheless, the convenience of third-party apps comes with substantial risks. The primary concern is the potential compromise of personal and sensitive data. Hackers often target these apps, knowing they handle valuable information. Around 61% of cyberattacks use third parties to gain access to companies. A data breach can result in financial losses, damage to reputation, and loss of customer trust.

To mitigate these risks, follow these essential steps:

  1. Assess Third-Party Vendors: Thoroughly evaluate third-party vendors before granting permissions. Investigate their history of data breaches and the specific services they provide. Only proceed if the benefits outweigh the risks.
  2. Limit Data Access: Implement the principle of least privilege, ensuring employees only have access to information necessary for their tasks. This minimizes the risk of data exposure.
  3. Monitor Vendor Activity: An ongoing activity monitoring system tracks who accesses information and when. This helps quickly identify and address any breaches.
  4. Educate Your Team: Ensure everyone in your company understands third-party risks and how to minimize them. Regular data safety training, frequent password changes, and multi-factor authentication can enhance security.
  5. Prepare for Incidents: Establish a security incident response plan and train designated team members in data security and response protocols to handle breaches efficiently.

By proactively addressing these concerns and implementing robust security measures, small business owners can enjoy the benefits of third-party apps while safeguarding their business and customer data.

Did you know? ASBN America’s Small Business Network is now available to stream in over 70 million broadcasting households for users with Roku, Firestick, AppleTV, and mobile Android [download] and Apple IOS [download] devices.