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Tuesday August 8, 2023  |  Michael Johnson, Chief Information Security Officer

Securing an Interconnected World: Minimizing the Risks of Vendor Sprawl

While technology partnerships continue to transform the healthcare industry, growing reliance on multiple vendors is creating security risks that threaten the integrity of patient data.

Experts refer to this increased reliance on third parties as "vendor sprawl," and it's spurred on by rising costs and persistent workforce shortages that show no sign of abating. This expansion in vendor partnerships has created a complex web of applications, systems, and access points, making it difficult for organizations to maintain control and monitor potential security breaches effectively.

This blog explores the impact of vendor sprawl on healthcare security and offers insights into tackling this issue in a way that keeps costs under control.

The Hidden Cost of Vendor Sprawl

As healthcare organizations expand their vendor relationships, they inadvertently expose themselves to two primary security challenges.

First, as an organization works with more third-party vendors, the complexity of managing these relationships increases. Worse, an intricate network can set facilities up for a domino effect, wherein one vendor's security is compromised, leading to cascading failures across multiple systems.

Second, vendor sprawl obscures visibility into third-party access. According to a recent Ponemon Report, 48% of organizations don't keep a full inventory of all third parties accessing their networks. This lack of oversight leaves facilities blind to potential threats, making it easier for malicious actors to exploit security gaps.

The Vendor Management Problem

The consequences of inadequate vendor management are becoming increasingly apparent, as evidenced by an alarming trend of large-scale data breaches:

  • The ten largest breaches of 2022 were traced back to external vendors.
  • Within the last 12 months, 55% of healthcare institutions reported experiencing a data breach originating from vendor sprawl.

A Holistic Approach to Cybersecurity

Amid the rising concerns surrounding vendor sprawl, new security solutions are required.

Fostering collaboration and information sharing among healthcare organizations and security teams can prove invaluable in the fight against vendor sprawl. By exchanging insights and best practices, institutions can collectively stay ahead of emerging threats, improve their security posture, and maximize limited resources.

MEDTEAM Security Operations Center (SOC)

Recognizing the escalating security risks healthcare providers face, MEDTEAM has launched its Security Operations Center (SOC) – a comprehensive solution to combat the challenges of vendor sprawl.

MEDTEAM's best practice approach revolves around risk assessment, training users, and real-time monitoring of network activities. By taking a proactive security posture, MEDTEAM aims to close security gaps before they can be exploited, providing healthcare organizations with a much-needed support system in an increasingly perilous digital landscape.

To learn more about how we can help reduce risks, improve care quality, and lower costs, contact us at or dial 1.800.383.6278.

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