Zero Trust: Procurement assimilates as cyber threats grow

The principle of zero trust has been central to the cyber security aspect of finance and banking for a decade - Procurement learns amidst growing threats

A recent procurement article reported a marked expansion in the Vendor Risk Management (VRM) market driven by cyber threats propelling AI & cloud-based solutions at unprecedented levels. The need for this expansion has become pronounced in light of the increased frequency and severity of cyber-attacks and data breaches.

In the procurement profession, the acquisition of goods and services is a function of paramount importance that requires (increasingly) robust processes and strategies to ensure optimal results. This is where cyber security meets procurement. One growing areas of focus for procurement professionals is the move to implement Zero Trust principles in the securing of their networks, particularly in the banking and finance industry.

Over the past decade, the financial services industry has made significant progress in verifying the identity of actors within and outside of dedicated networks, introducing principles such as least privilege, strict access control, and micro-segmentation. However, the digital ecosystem for each individual financial organization has become increasingly complex with the entry of new players such as fintechs, open source software, and third parties. This complexity presents significant challenges to implementing Zero Trust principles for securing networks.

Third parties have played a key role in driving innovation in the banking and finance industry, particularly as banks seek to digitize their service offerings to meet the evolving expectations of customers. However, this has also resulted in an increase in the number of actors within the supply chain, making it more critical than ever to ensure that all actors are properly authorized and authenticated when making any changes to IT systems. The latest Global third party risk management survey from Deloitte highlights the need for a renewed focus on creating resilience when managing third parties, and the need for key mechanisms for prioritizing risk.

Procurement professionals play a critical role in ensuring that the procurement process is managed effectively, including the procurement of goods and services from third-party vendors. By implementing Zero Trust principles in procurement, organizations can mitigate the risks associated with third-party vendors and protect their sensitive data from potential cyber attacks.

It is essential for procurement professionals to engage in interactive simulation environments that educate participants on how to spot potential threats and manage them effectively to ensure business continuity. Additionally, training courses should be geared towards all current and new employees, as human error is the main point of origin for many security vulnerabilities.

Overall, the implementation of Zero Trust principles in procurement can help organizations to achieve greater resilience and security when managing third-party vendors. As the banking and finance industry continues to evolve and new players enter the market, it is essential for procurement professionals to stay abreast of best practices and implement robust strategies to ensure optimal results.

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