Third-Party Risk Management (TPRM) has become a top priority for security teams. As enterprises leverage more and more services from third parties to augment or outsource new digital initiatives, their external attack surface grows exponentially with each new vendor.


What Is Third-Party Risk Management (TPRM)?

Third-party risk management (TPRM) includes all the best practices to control the risks of working with outside vendors and subcontractors. The goal of TPRM is to protect your intellectual property, operational systems, financial records, customer data, and other sensitive information from malicious actors.

Why You Need Third-Party Risk Management

The number of breaches caused by third-, fourth-, or nth-party vendors only increases every year (third parties accounted for over half of the data breaches in 2019, and the number only grows every year). Because of the growing risk, many CISOs and even board members have made TPRM a new priority.

 

TPRM Frameworks

Fortunately, regulatory agencies have created TPRM frameworks to guide organizations towards the best practices in cybersecurity. These typically apply to government agencies or their subcontractors, but the frameworks can be helpful for private organizations, as well.

NIST 800-53The most significant component of the NIST framework is the supplier risk assessment, which helps you determine the level of risk to your organization. The guidelines also demonstrate how to handle incidents and respond to them quickly.

ISO/IEC 27000 Family The International Organization for Standardization is not a governmental body, with experts developing best practices for everything from environmental management to health to IT Security. Certification with the ISO/IEC is not required but proves your commitment to protecting data throughout your company and your vendors.

Cloud Security AllianceThe CSA is another non-profit organization that provides best practices for securing cloud data. With many breaches occurring through unsecured cloud data buckets, these best practices keep your data (and your users’ data) safe even in the cloud.

Implementing TPRM

Now that you know the importance of Third-Party Risk Management, it’s time to implement a TPRM plan. Cybersecurity only becomes more critical as you begin to grow. As you gain new customers or users, they need to be confident their Personally Identifiable Information or payment details won’t be stolen.

 

Create Processes Before Signing A Contract

When you implement a TPRM plan, you’ll want to assess every new third-party vendor that you sign a contract with. This process holds hold them accountable to the same level of security you expect of yourself.

Look for previous breaches to their networks (so they don’t share their vulnerabilities with you), learn their process for breach notifications, implement the same response strategy you would expect, and ensure they share the liability for breaches. While your customers won’t care who is liable for stealing credit card information, with the proper clauses outlined, your company won’t be paying millions of dollars in fines.

 

Take A Comprehensive Inventory Of Third-Party Vendors

While this can be difficult when dealing with large, spread-out teams, it becomes even more important in these cases. Without a complete inventory, information security teams cannot properly protect the organization from vulnerabilities. If they don’t know where to look for risks, they can’t manage them.

The security team should also inventory all company devices because employees and contractors can introduce risk onto a device when they use it for personal purposes or lose the physical equipment.

 

Assess Vulnerabilities Independently

Even with contracts in place and an inventory of all your vendors, your security team can further control and manage your third-party risk with an independent assessment tool. Cyberpion generates a comprehensive view of your cybersecurity posture, displaying all vulnerabilities to the nth degree. With a dashboard showing vulnerabilities, your team no longer needs to pull together multiple documents or build their own dashboard: all changes to your online presence are visible in one place.

Take responsibility for your cybersecurity without relying on the vendors themselves to provide the information.

 

Automate Where Possible

Some components of the TPRM process can be automated: scheduling follow-up assessments, rule-based triggers for assessments, alerts, and responses.

Lift the burden on your security team by automating what you can for reliable results every tie.

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