This ebook contains five actionable steps that will put you well on your way to establishing an effective third-party risk management (TPRM) program.
With the new year upon us, now is the ideal time to re-evaluate your cybersecurity controls and your risk remediation strategy. Do you have a plan? Who's involved? How are you notified of risks? Do you have a process in place to identify and prioritize the riskiest threats for rapid remediation?
This year, plan ahead for evolving cybersecurity threats and follow these five tips for crafting a risk remediation plan.
1. Utilize centralized and continuous scanning technology to identify risk
To effectively remediate risk, you need to first identify it. Network security monitoring tools can help with this task, but as your digital environment expands to the cloud, across geographies and remote locations – the number of monitoring tools your organization uses has likely skyrocketed. Indeed, studies suggest that the average IT and security team uses between 10 and 30 monitoring tools.
Yet these siloed tools can create more exposure. Your security teams are buried in a sea of alerts, and may miss something.
A better way to scan your IT infrastructure for cyber risk is to leverage continuous monitoring technology that automatically discovers where risk lies hidden across your growing attack surface. With dashboard views into the near real-time security posture of your organization’s digital assets, you can quickly discover vulnerabilities and risky user behavior and pinpoint where your network may already have been compromised – without succumbing to tool sprawl.
To aid your risk remediation plan, you can also visualize where cyber risk is concentrated and prioritize those assets for further investigation.
2. Set acceptable risk thresholds
It’s unrealistic for security teams to respond to every security alert in the same manner. Accommodations must be made, and that’s okay. Good cybersecurity requires a shift from a reactive defense strategy to a highly focused and proactive approach.
One way to do this is to set acceptable risk thresholds. That’s where BitSight Security Ratings come in.
Similar to a credit score, BitSight Security Ratings range in value from 250 to 900, with a higher rating equaling better cybersecurity performance. Ratings vary by industry. For instance, the average rating for the legal sector is relatively high at 710, while telecommunications is low at 320. Use this handy tool to help establish an acceptable risk threshold for your organization then receive alerts if your security performance dips below that grade for speedy remediation.
3. Determine who needs to be looped in
Not all cyber risk is created equal and different risk scenarios require different responses and different teams.
Determining which teams need to be looped in depends on whether the incident requires attention now and which assets are impacted. BitSight can help with this task by continuously and automatically identifying areas of disproportionate risk across your digital environment.
For example, a misconfigured web firewall that protects sensitive data in the cloud would be considered a high priority risk that requires immediate attention from the Security Operations Center (SOC). Similarly, the discovery of malware on a web server would require rapid attention.
With these insights, investigation and analysis teams can prioritize these assets for remediation. They can also use BitSight’s integrations with SIEM tools, like Splunk, to refer to all threat intelligence in one place.
Depending on the nature and severity of the risk, remediation can be conducted solely by the security team or other teams may need to be looped in. For instance, a severe incident will require engagement from the C-suite and board of directors, legal counsel, and communications teams.
4. Proactively notify vendors
According to Gartner, 60% of organizations work with more than 1,000 third parties. Because of the interconnected nature of these vendor relationships, a cyber incident on your network may have a cascading impact across your supply chain, as the 2020 SolarWinds hack did.
To stay on good business terms with your vendors, it's important that your risk remediation plan includes a process for notifying third parties of a serious cyber incident on your network so that they can assess their own risk exposure.
BitSight makes this easy. Using the Enable Vendor Access (EVA) feature in the BitSight Security Ratings Platform, you can share your security findings with your third parties. With EVA, they can assess their networks for risk, investigate forensic data on any vulnerabilities or cyber incidents, and gain a better understanding of their overall security postures.
5. Drive continuous improvement post-remediation
Use the data insights that BitSight provides to learn from your remediation activities and identify trends and patterns. For instance, if you receive alerts about vulnerabilities like unpatched systems on a regular basis, you may need to revisit your patching policies and cadence.
You can also use BitSight’s suite of continuous monitoring tools to plan and measure improvement over time. With BitSight, you can align investments and actions where they will have the highest measurable impact for your organization’s cybersecurity program, as well as facilitate data-driven conversations around cybersecurity among key stakeholders.
Effective risk remediation plans depend on data-driven insights
A common theme among each of these risk remediation planning tips is the need for reliable, easily accessible, and understandable data. Each tool and practice described here works together to ensure your organization’s remediation efforts are informed by data-driven insights, visibility, and context.
Learn more about how you can get the most out of your security investments by identifying and remediating security gaps in your tech stack, automating risk discovery and assessment processes, and making data-driven cybersecurity decisions.