KPMG Professional Services in Saudi Arabia has signed an agreement with Aramco, one of the largest energy and chemicals companies in the world, to examine and strengthen the cybersecurity compliance checks across Aramco’s third parties and suppliers.
Aramco has recently implemented the Third-Party Cybersecurity Compliance Certificate (CCC) Programme, a strategic initiative to certify existing and new third parties and suppliers before conducting business. An MoU was signed by Hossain Alshedoki, Manager of Cybersecurity Advisory and ENR Cybersecurity Sector Lead at KPMG Professional Services, and witnessed by Abdulaziz Alnaim, KPMG Office Managing Partner in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.
“Based on our analysis of minute-by-minute technological disruptions and ever-changing cybersecurity needs, we believe that vital national assets such as Aramco need to be fully protected with state-of-the-art and seamless cybersecurity systems,” said Alnaim during the ceremony. “We are grateful for the trust that Aramco has bestowed upon us, which will go a long way in the continuity of supplying vital resources to the world.”
The agreement stipulates that KPMG is to assess Aramco’s third parties and suppliers, as per the CCC framework, and issue certificates verifying their complete adherence to the Saudi Aramco Third-Party Cybersecurity Standard (SACS-002).
The types of suppliers who need to obtain the certificate include general vendors, outsourced infrastructure, customized software, network connectivity and critical data processors. Successful suppliers will submit the CCC, along with the detailed report from KPMG, to Aramco’s e-marketplace system. “Third-party risk is a key risk in the area of cybersecurity; managing this risk will improve the cyber posture of organizations that heavily depend on external parties or suppliers. More organizations should follow the direction which Aramco has taken,” said Ton Diemont, Head of Cybersecurity for KPMG Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon.
Issued certificates will be valid for two years. If a supplier is awarded a new contract that involves a cybersecurity classification type that is not covered in the specifications of the valid certificate, a new certificate will need to be obtained and submitted.
The requirements for a new contract with Aramco will depend on the category of a bidder’s cybersecurity classification. If the bidder falls under the standard cybersecurity classification, there is no requirement to apply for a new certificate. Suppose the bidder does not fall under this classification. In that case, it needs to contact KPMG to conduct a cybersecurity compliance assessment based on updated classifications that cover the original and new categories.
More updates regarding the certification process will be communicated to suppliers as required.