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Breach Notification and Follow Up

Unfortunately, it is a given that as an organization you will receive a notice from a third party that they had an incident or breach that may have compromised personal or sensitive employee or customer information.  A majority of the breach laws require immediate notification or notification within a 24hr to 48hr timeframe, not including notification times from a contractual perspective. The question then becomes what does the third party need to provide, the level of assurance in order for an organization to re-establish connectivity and/or to use third-party moving forward.

From an organization’s perspective, there is no easy answer.  Contractually there will requirements for the notification and remediation but not specifics on what the third party needs to provide, documentation or otherwise than the notice.  I would recommend the following approach:

  • Obtain a copy of the incident report. Notices, in general, do not provide a detailed explanation or will be provided well after an incident has occurred. Transparency is key to reestablish trust with the third party.
  • Obtain any internal or external audit documentation. This will allow you to see how the incident report aligns with the controls or lack thereof previously identified by the internal or external audit.
  • Obtain any security assessment /security audit documentation. This will include any vulnerability testing and penetration testing.  Generally speaking, you will receive pushback from this, but a signed NDA will curtail potential confidentiality and disclosure concerns.
  • Require an audit, at a minimum, 6 months after remediation to ensure that the new or remediated environment matches the remediation. This will need to be performed by an independent third party.
  • Ensure that the third party completes a SOC 2 Type 1 or 2 report for full testing of the Trusted Service Principles. Granted this will be dependent on the type of services that the third party is providing as well as taking into consideration that this type of report will take at least 6 to 9 months to complete.