Not All Third-Party Relationships are Created Equal

Third-party risk management programs require you to explore your businesses suppliers cybersecurity posture. It is no longer sufficient for businesses to only secure their internally-controlled infrastructure and services. You must also diligently evaluate the security policies and procedures of their third parties to reduce cyber risk.

Organizations interact with each of their third parties in different ways. Some are more critical to daily operations than others. While every third party your organization partners with introduces some risk to your organization, when managing that risk, it is important to have the ability to prioritize risks most relevant to your business as well as focus remediation efforts on the most critical issues.

First-generation scoring platforms don’t offer customization on how each third party influences the inherent risk for your organization, so the resulting score is more generalized. In addition, these platforms simply conduct passive assessments using open source intelligence data available over the internet. Only next generation platforms like FortifyData, that perform passive assessments, as well as active but non-intrusive infrastructure and web application assessments provide the most comprehensive and accurate representation of risk. 

A lack of score accuracy results in your team using precious man-hours and resources working to mitigate less important risks. For example, you may be willing to tolerate  more risk from one third party than you are from another one based on the impact of that particular third party to your business. Therefore, time will be better spent focusing on that third party than draining resources on the other, less critical ones. The more accurate your score from a  next generation risk management platform, the more efficient and effective your risk management program will be. The ability to categorize and prioritize the third-party risk mitigation tasks most important to your organization sets up your IT and/or security team for success.

In addition to being able to configure which risks are most relevant to your organization and determine how much risk you are willing to accept given your relationship with each third party, you must also consider how current the data is that you are reviewing. If third-party risks are not being actively monitored in near real time, you could be wasting time focusing on old data that is no longer relevant. An ever-changing threat landscape requires continuous monitoring to ensure the overall risk status is accurate. 

The success of your third-party risk management program is based on three components: accuracy, efficiency and relevancy. Having the capability to categorize your third-party relationships is fundamental to understanding and effectively managing the risk each one introduces to your organization. You can only achieve this understanding with a next generation third-party risk management platform that allows for configuration and continuous, near real-time monitoring in order to produce the most relevant view into your organization’s inherent risks. These features result in the ability for your team to use their time wisely by prioritizing the most crucial mitigation efforts.

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