SA-9(3): Establish / Maintain Trust Relationship With Providers


(Not part of any baseline)

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Control Statement

The organization establishes, documents, and maintains trust relationships with external service providers based on [Assignment: organization-defined security requirements, properties, factors, or conditions defining acceptable trust relationships].

Supplemental Guidance

The degree of confidence that the risk from using external services is at an acceptable level depends on the trust that organizations place in the external providers, individually or in combination. Trust relationships can help organization to gain increased levels of confidence that participating service providers are providing adequate protection for the services rendered. Such relationships can be complicated due to the number of potential entities participating in the consumer-provider interactions, subordinate relationships and levels of trust, and the types of interactions between the parties. In some cases, the degree of trust is based on the amount of direct control organizations are able to exert on external service providers with regard to employment of security controls necessary for the protection of the service/information and the evidence brought forth as to the effectiveness of those controls. The level of control is typically established by the terms and conditions of the contracts or service-level agreements and can range from extensive control (e.g., negotiating contracts or agreements that specify security requirements for the providers) to very limited control (e.g., using contracts or service-level agreements to obtain commodity services such as commercial telecommunications services). In other cases, levels of trust are based on factors that convince organizations that required security controls have been employed and that determinations of control effectiveness exist. For example, separately authorized external information system services provided to organizations through well-established business relationships may provide degrees of trust in such services within the tolerable risk range of the organizations using the services. External service providers may also outsource selected services to other external entities, making the trust relationship more difficult and complicated to manage. Depending on the nature of the services, organizations may find it very difficult to place significant trust in external providers. This is not due to any inherent untrustworthiness on the part of providers, but to the intrinsic level of risk in the services.