New research from the Cyentia Institute found that 98% of organizations do business with a third party that has suffered a breach. The report also found that the average firm has 11 third-party relationships and hundreds of indirect fourth- and nth-party relationships. Bottom line: an expanding attack surface makes companies more prone to cyberattacks.
Even organizations with a third-party risk management (TPRM) program in place may still experience issues because regularly monitoring vendor compliance can be a struggle without the right level of buy-in. While many organizations have an IT and/or Information Security (InfoSec) team, those departments might not be the right fit for running TPRM. Though proficient on the technical side, there’s still compliance, contract management, and working with vendors to consider. Rather than assigning more work to a department that’s already stretched thin, a more holistic approach to TPRM can help.
Third-party risk management: not just an IT issue
When it comes to third-party risk management, it’s vital to establish processes and guidelines for how data is gathered, answers are reviewed, and issues are remediated. Additionally, selecting a questionnaire and evidence-collection solution will help make the process go smoother and minimize the chances of becoming overburdened with constant emails and multiple data points. With this technology in place, organizations are better positioned to increase their cyber resilience and reduce risk across the vendor ecosystem.
Vendor risk management may sound like an IT issue, but in reality, it’s a business issue. If companies want their customers to trust them, they must first trust their vendors. When more departments fold TPRM best practices into their daily workflows—before vendor risk turns into an issue—vendor risk management will go from a pain point to a strength.
5 best practices for effectively managing third-party risk
To effectively manage third-party risk and ensure your organization stays secure, it’s important to implement the following best practices:
1. Assess third-party risk
When assessing the risk posed by a third party, it’s important to focus on the areas that are most critical to your business. Additionally, scoping the assessment based on inherent risk and vendor data ensures that you’re dedicating resources to the areas that are most likely to be targeted by attackers. This means taking a risk-based approach to your assessments and leveraging cyber risk data to better understand the security posture of each vendor.
2. Identify inefficiencies within workflows
It’s not enough to simply assess the risk posed by third-party vendors; you also need to identify inefficiencies in your own processes and workflows. By doing so, you can build solutions into your roadmap that address these inefficiencies and improve your overall security posture. This includes looking at everything from your vendor onboarding processes to your incident response workflows, and identifying areas where automation and streamlining can help.
3. Align internal and external control assessments
To effectively manage third-party risk, it’s important to align your internal and external control assessments. This involves ensuring that the controls you use to manage risk internally are mapped to similar risks among third-party vendors. By doing so, you can ensure that everyone is speaking the same language when it comes to risk management, and that there are no gaps or inconsistencies in your approach.
4. Incorporate continuous monitoring
It’s not enough to simply assess third-party risk once and then move on. To ensure ongoing security, you need to incorporate continuous monitoring into your processes. Leveraging automation to monitor your vendors in real-time, flagging any potential issues as soon as they arise, and working with your third parties to remediate those issues are ways to be proactive in your response to threats, and ensure that you’re always on top of the latest risks.
5. Prioritize real-time visibility
From the moment a vendor comes on board, all the way through offboarding, it’s important to continuously track their cyber health. By doing so, you can ensure that you’re able to identify any potential risks or issues as soon as they arise and take action to mitigate them before they become major problems. This means leveraging automation and real-time monitoring to ensure that you always have a clear view of your vendor risk posture.
Combating third-party risk with ProcessUnity and SecurityScorecard
ProcessUnity’s pre-built connector seamlessly integrates SecurityScorecard’s overall security risk rating and individual domain ratings into its third-party risk management platform. This integration lets you view risk-related information in one centralized location without having to manually enter data, continually update information, or move back and forth between your security rating solution and third-party risk management platform.
SecurityScorecard’s partnership with ProcessUnity helps customers increase efficiency with real-time data in addition to consistent, objective, and continuous monitoring of their third party ecosystem. Foster better vendor relationships and keep a close eye on red flag risks. Gain instant and continuous visibility covering the entire ecosystem from your own organization to your third- and fourth-party vendors.
ProcessUnity Vendor Risk Management (VRM) protects companies and their brands by reducing risk from third parties, vendors and suppliers. Our third-party risk management tools help customers effectively and efficiently assess and monitor both new and existing vendors – from initial onboarding to ongoing due diligence and monitoring.
SecurityScorecard provides the industry’s most flexible third-party risk management solution, allowing quick and accurate control of risk across your entire digital ecosystem, including third-parties and supply chains. Built on the leading platform for security ratings, SecurityScorecard provides actionable insights for over 12 million organizations so you can quantify trustworthiness, strengthen your cyber defenses, and verify vendor readiness, ensuring you get ahead of risk before it becomes a threat.
For more information on how to safeguard your vendor ecosystem, listen to the podcast ProcessUnity and SecurityScorecard recorded with our joint customer, News Corp.