In our increasingly global and interconnected world, businesses’ workforces and networks become more mobile and diverse every day. Whereas outsourcing various tasks related to management and security was seldom seen years ago, it is now the norm. That’s why, in today’s climate, third-party risk management solutions are a must for every business.
Many companies contract a small army of vendors, suppliers, and other third-parties to facilitate their workflows. And along with that deployment comes an array of threats. No matter how solid your own cyberdefenses are, you could fall victim to cybercrime if a vendor with access to your assets has an exploitable loophole in their own defenses. Their risks become your own.
Ready to learn about third-party risk management solutions? Then keep reading.
Top Third-Party Risk Management Solutions
When dealing with vendors and all the risk they can bring on, having a strategy is key. Third- party risk management, also called TPRM, is an umbrella term for any and all cybersecurity practices that attempt to understand and address risks posed by strategic partners.
TPRM strategies involve identifying these risks and plotting out ways to avoid exposure, eliminate vulnerabilities, and pave a path for safe partnership moving forward.
A robust third-party risk management program comprises two major components:
In the sections that follow, we’ll break down each in greater detail. The first step, as in any cybersecurity plan, is knowing the lay of the land. A robust assessment helps you understand what the risks are, empowering you to take steps to address and mitigate them.
Third-Party Risk Assessment
This essential part of third-party risk management involves surveying the field to understand what risks are present. That means collecting key information related to the cybersecurity infrastructure of all strategic partners who access your resources.
In practice, that generally means a combination of:
- Select clientele
- Most suppliers and distributors
- All partners, vendors, and extensions of the business
The information required from these parties includes everything from their overall organization and governance to cybersecurity practices and their specific relationship to your company. To collect this information and prepare for targeted solutions, you’ll need to:
- Identify all relevant third-parties and their relationship to your networks
- Classify all such parties’ relevant cybersecurity architecture and practices
- Assess both strengths and weaknesses in such cybersecurity systems
- Continuously monitor for changes to third-parties’ cybersecurity measures
- Confirm all relevant third parties’ compliance with regulatory bodies
The biggest and most essential step toward assessment is obtaining information from your vendors and other stakeholders with a third-party risk assessment questionnaire.
Third-Party Risk Assessment Questionnaire
The most essential part of your third-party risk assessment is the questionnaire.
The third-party risk assessment questionnaire is designed to collect all information relative to risks third-parties may pose to your cybersecurity. Crucially, it doesn’t just collect information; it optimizes that information in a uniform format that lends itself to analysis and strategizing.
A questionnaire that sets you up for a successful third-party risk management solution must cover the following subject areas and relevant questions:
- Governance of third-party – Baseline information on the third-party’s governance, especially with respect to IT integration:
- Where in the company’s internal governance does information technology IT lie?
- Are any IT or cybersecurity services outsourced—which, and to whom?
- Relationship to third-party – Information detailing the third-party’s relationship to your company and, specifically, your digital assets and networks:
- What assets belonging to your company does the third-party access?
- Which networks managed by your company does the third-party access?
- Does the third-party provide access to your resources to any other third-parties?
- Cybersecurity of third-party – The most detailed and important information, describing the third-party’s cybersecurity infrastructure:
- What does the third-party’s cybersecurity infrastructure comprise?
- What compliance regulations does the third-party meet, and how?
- Does the third-party conduct ongoing cyberdefense analysis?
To get the most accurate results, it may be useful to use standardized language from industry-wide cybersecurity controls, like those established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology or the Center for Internet Safety. Regulatory compliance guidelines, like those for HIPAA or PCI DSS, can also provide useful uniform standards and metrics.
The third-party risk assessment questionnaire will provide you with invaluable information that you can use, in concert with your own analysis, to create strategies for addressing the risks.
Managed Security and Regulatory Compliance
Just as the various companies you work with are unique, the threats that they can pose to your cybersecurity vary widely. Thus, no two TPRM strategies are the same. However, all TPRM procedures can follow a similar baseline template for response to an identified risk.
To minimize the damage done by a vulnerability, one approach entails:
- Immediate risk prevention – Depending on the level of risk assessed, you may need to take immediate action. It may be necessary to patch up a vulnerability or install an emergency firewall revoking a third party’s access to your assets and resources.
- Recovery and repair of resources – Once the immediate threat is abated, you’ll need to begin the process of recovering any assets compromised and negotiating with the third-party to find a way for them to patch up the relevant weaknesses.
- Resolution of relationship with third-party – Once the third-party has resolved the security issues on their end, you may choose to resume business as usual. Or, you may decide to change the conditions of your agreement moving forward.
The specific dynamics of your relationship with any given vendor will dictate the exact way that this process looks. They also may necessitate an entirely different approach.
Vendor and Supplier Risk Management Solutions
The best way to ensure success of your TPRM with any individual vendor, and across the various third-parties you need to navigate, is to get professional assistance.
For that, RSI Security is here to help.
RSI Security’s third-party risk management services comprise solutions custom tailored to your business’s needs and means. We can help with every stage of the TPRM process, including but not limited to:
- Vendor assessment – We’ll work with you to draft an in depth third-party risk assessment questionnaire. We’ll also help you analyze the self-reported security measures with a grain of salt, providing the most accurate information possible.
- Managed security – Based on the identified risks, we’ll create an individualized strategy for every single risk and third-party. Then, we’ll work with both you and the third-party to help both sides reach mutually beneficial cybersecurity solutions.
Managing the risks from your many vendors, suppliers, and other third-parties can be difficult when going about it all on your own. Contracting our TPRM experts can make it simple.
Plus, we’re your first and best option for all cybersecurity solutions.
Professionalize Your Risk Management and Security
Third-party risks are one of the most serious threats facing any company that works with a vast network of vendors, data hosts, and any other number of third parties. But they’re far from the only risks. Diligent cybersecurity means paying equal attention to all possible vulnerabilities.
No one risk is more important than any other; you need a plan to deal with all of them.
RSI Security is an industry leader in cybersecurity planning; we’ve been providing TPRM and a host of other cybersecurity services to businesses of all sizes for over a decade. Our experts can help you with anything from baseline compliance assistance to detailed penetration testing and other analysis and strategizing for your entire cybersecurity architecture.
Contact RSI Security today for premium cyberdefense and third-party risk management solutions you can count on to keep you safe.