Typically, as a business grows, it will incorporate more and more third-party vendors into its external attack surface, As the number of vendors grow, the amount of risk these organization represent to the enterprise also grows.

This is especially true for third-party vendors leveraged in providing online services. When a customer interaction occurs in a web browser, vendors expose your users threat actors have breached the vendor. Enterprises must gain oversight of vendor cybersecurity vulnerabilities in order to protect their customers and employees.

What Is Vendor Risk Management?

Vendor Risk Management ensures the business is not at risk for a data breach, operational outage, or other negative impacts due to their connections with third-party vendors and suppliers. These vendors are critical for day-to-day operations and efficiencies but can be a massive risk without monitoring risk from every angle.

Why You Need Vendor Risk Management

As organizations grow, they rely on vendors and suppliers to run efficiently. Subcontractors and third parties often provide expert services when an enterprise has no intent to develop that expertise internally.

However, the risk of breaches and operational outages due to reliance on vendors may eliminate that cost-effectiveness without proper vendor risk management practices in place.


Benefits Of Vendor Risk Management

Because you can’t live without vendors and suppliers when growing your business, the information security team should build vendor risk management into their daily operations

Accountability: As you hold your vendor accountable with regular audits and assessments, they’ll pass that accountability along to their vendors. This process creates a safer cybersecurity environment for all parties.

Limiting Reputation and Financial Risk: Reputational risk is the top concern during a data breach. When an organization exposes user data, they lose the customer’s trust and any future business with that client. Many times, the breach will impact the stock price, but it rebounds significantly faster than the organization’s reputation.

Maintain Efficiencies: When a data breach results in an operational outage, the team loses hours or days of work trying to repair the mistake or revert to back-ups of work. Without proper vendor management in place, those backups may not be available.

Vendor Risk Management Best Practices

While some industries have regulatory agencies overseeing their vendor risk management processes, every organization can learn from the best practices to secure user data.


Take Inventory Of Vendors

You can’t manage risk without knowing the full extent of your cyber supply chain. Pulling together a vendor inventory may be difficult with teams working remotely, but that makes it more critical to the process.

Every connection by an employee to external software should be considered. Employees who use their company device for personal purposes open the company up to the danger of malware from documents downloaded from personal email accounts. These devices should be considered in the inventory, as well.


Classify Vendors And Risks

With that comprehensive inventory of vendors, the next step towards an effective vendor risk management plan is classifying the level of risk each supplier holds. If you have an on-site subcontractor with a company laptop and legitimate access to critical data, that person may be considered high risk.

Some third-party software requires access to databases in order to run operations for the organization. Your organization’s contract with the software vendor would outline the liability if cybercriminals breach that database.


Build An Assessment, Reporting, And Remediating Process

Every part of the vendor risk management process should be clear and outlined, not only for operational efficiency but for liability. Documented procedures build trust before a breach occurs, so customers and users know the organization cares about protecting their data. In fact, companies with comprehensive security response plans bounce back financially and reputationally from breaches than organizations without documented procedures.


Catch Vendor Vulnerabilities Before They’re Exploited

Security teams need to remain vigilant when looking for vulnerabilities across their sprawling external attack surface. Cyberpion’s dashboard takes on that burden with an easy-to-understand dashboard that alerts them to changes in their attack surface. When a new vulnerability opens up, your team can resolve it and and ensure the success of the business.


Automate As Much As Possible

As the process becomes transparent and defined, security teams will be able to automate certain aspects for follow-up and scheduling purposes.

Cyberpion helps with remediation by automating protection when teams abandon subdomains and leave them available for takeover from cybercriminals.

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