Segment 3: Strategic Relationships Fraught with Vulnerabilities

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Cyber Health Discussion Series

This series discusses cybersecurity issues of interest to c-level executives at print-based enterprises. Printers lacking cyber protections are risking financial losses for their and their clients' businesses. In addition, with business insurance renewals now asking about the company's cyber protocols, it is time to make cybersecurity a top priority.


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Discussing OutputLinks Communications Group Services
By Andy & Julie Plata 

Segment #3: Strategic Relationships Fraught with Vulnerabilities

If you missed the previous steps, click to read Segment #1, Segment#2

One of the buzzwords in business today is synergy.  Synergy is the idea that companies working together can be more than the sum of the parts. The synergy principle is true in sports, marriages, manufacturing, and business.  Smart folks take advantage of the synergistic effect as much as possible. However, this effect is not simply internal in organizations.  Firms must partner with other organizations to have a solid foundation, enhance their services, and streamline their supply chains. Finding companies that you trust and enrich your organization's offerings can be challenging. However, once a company develops strong, seamless partnerships, the effects can be impressive.

Hack Me ImageUnfortunately, there is another side to closely-knit supply chains and synergistically aligned partnerships.  Partnerships prosper when resources and communications are simplified and streamlined to maximize resource sharing.  From a business perspective, this is a dream scenario.  But, this is a nightmare from a cybersecurity perspective.


The API could be a perfect vehicle for a hacker to pivot from your partners' network to your network.

The risk of network vulnerabilities increases as companies become more closely networked. An example of this is an API (Application Programming Interface).  An API can allow needed data to flow effortlessly between company networks. APIs can increase accuracy and save companies time and money. However, this strategy also allows companies to inherit all their partners' security vulnerabilities.  If company A is compromised, the API could be a perfect vehicle for a hacker to pivot from your partners' network to your network.

Spear Phishing

Spear phishing is another vulnerability hackers often exploit by targeting scam emails to specific groups, like your company's marketing employees, who may be networked with clients. Closely networked organizations generate trust. That trust might allow the acceptance of corrupted emails.  And hackers love taking advantage of trusted relationships to send infected emails to your firm's best and most closely networked clients.

MSP Vulnerabilities

Another vulnerability is from an MSP (Managed Service Provider) that manages the computer network for companies.  Since MSPs can provide entries to many customer systems, hackers frequently target them.  As a result, MSPs with less than the best cybersecurity are a treasure trove to cybercriminals.

Strategic relationships are essential to building a thriving business. But those relationships can be fraught with vulnerabilities. Therefore, steps must be taken to protect our networks. The most effective strategy an organization can implement is securing itself and requiring all networked partners to enforce robust cyber security policies.

Cybersecurity Strategy

All organizations should develop a cybersecurity strategy implementing correct policies, procedures, and guidelines to ensure their Super Cyber mannetwork is secure.  Choosing the appropriate policies can be done by following a framework like the Nist 800-53 or the ISO 27001

After your company's security initiative is completed, audit all networked partners to ensure equivalent standards. Proper cyber initiatives lower your and your clients' risk of infection and can even protect our country from cyber-attacks.

Breaches are like diseases. If you are too close to a source, you will be at high risk of catching the illness. So ensure all partners are secure and virus free.

In closing

Thanks for reading this cyber series. We trust it will help you protect your company and all the companies connected to your IT network.

If this or the previous segments stimulated ideas for your cyber initiatives, drop us a note using the Comments tab below.

To be notified of the next installment's availability or to discuss our C-Level Cyber Assessment  Services, click here to schedule a call >>>

Promoting print tech for the digital age, 
Andy& Julie Plata 
Co-CEOs, American Printer, and the OutputLinks Communications Group

Stay tuned for our continuing Commentary on the changing print-tec industry environment and its effect on clients, employees, dealers, partners, and stockholders in the global print industry.



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