Optimizing Third-Party Cyber Risk Management Programs

Why You Need to Optimize Your TPCRM Program

Reducing third-party cyber risk is without a doubt, a difficult challenge.  The thought of gaining visibility into hundreds or thousands of third parties’ security postures is daunting – and can be extremely time-consuming when using static spreadsheet assessments, or inaccurate if relying on risk scanning tools. In fact, 40% of organizations use manual procedures like spreadsheets and 51% employ risk scanning tools to vet their third parties – over 54% of these organizations say the results of these tools provide, at best, only somewhat valuable information.

With the cost of a third-party breach averaging out around $7.5 million to remediate, businesses today need a transformational approach that reduces costs and risks from their growing ecosystem of partners, vendors, and affiliates.

In the current heightened regulatory environment, it’s no longer sufficient to take a compliance-based approach. Businesses must truly measure and manage risk from their expanding third-party population based on their organizational risk appetite.  Longer, spreadsheet-based assessments and hiring more assessors is widely recognized as a poor strategy given today’s climate.

Third-Party Cyber Risk Management 101: A Guide for Beginners

Learn how the pro’s create and optimize efficient, scalable third-party cyber risk management programs – and how you can too.

What To Look For When Optimizing Your TPCRM Program

As your third-party cyber risk management program matures, you will likely encounter challenges related to resource requirements and timeliness. Risk assessments can be a very laborious and tedious process, particularly if you have large numbers of third parties to assess.

Automation is one way to mitigate both resource constraints and lengthy assessment timeframes. You may want to analyze your process to identify any repetitive tasks. These are likely candidates for automation.

No matter how many risk analysts are on your team, you simply cannot be aware of every threat that has the potential to impact your third-party ecosystem. Fortunately, there are countless resources for threat intelligence that can enrich your assessment results and mitigation activities. One use of this type of externally produced data can be to influence the prioritization of corrective actions. You may decide to de-prioritize mitigation if a control weakness is identified during your assessment process, but there is no account of that weakness ever being successfully exploited in the wild.

Collecting and Using Structured Data

Regardless of which assessment standard you choose, it is important to be able to effectively act on the assessment results. Standardization is key to ensuring that assessment outcomes can be analyzed at an enterprise level. Disparate control requirements and assessment questionnaires means that you cannot compare “apples to apples” within your third-party ecosystem. If you are using risk assessments to evaluate potential new third parties it would be difficult to decide which is the best option using unstandardized data.

Related: What Static Third-Party Cyber Risk Assessments Miss

How To Save Money and Scale - Use an Exchange

Rather than maintaining a one-to-one relationship between companies and third parties, why not exchange risk assessment information? Organizations could complete one validated, comprehensive assessment and share with as many partners as needed – with the ability to update the information whenever there are changes to their security measures.

Businesses could request access to these already completed, up-to-date assessments, allowing them to assess more of their third parties, know exactly where risks lie within their ecosystem and arming them with insights that inform all of their vital risk-based decisions.

An exchange is comprehensive, cost-effective, massively speeds up the process of TPCRM, and can easily scale with your business growth.

Discover How To Choose The Best TPCRM Solution For You

Get the guide to better understand the options for third-party cyber risk management, whether you are looking to advance your current program maturity or are just getting started.