Best Practices For Managing Third Party Risk

Kaitlyn Graham | December 21, 2020 | tag: Third Party Risk Management

Properly managing third party risk and preventing damaging outcomes that result from gaps in your vendor ecosystem can be difficult and costly. With the recent SolarWinds data breach wreaking havoc on thousands of organizations globally, including many fortune 500 companies and organizations within the government sector, the need for efficiency when managing third party risk has never been more top of mind.

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Utilizing vendors to effectively run a business has become a requirement instead of just a cost control tactic. In order for the growing landscape of vendor resources to be valuable to an organization's supply chain, third-party risk managers have to efficiently and effectively manage all aspects of the vendor lifecycle.

Old processes for managing third party risk across each phase of the vendor lifecycle were designed for managing a handful of vendors, but with the expanding pool of third parties organizations are relying on each year to meet the business needs of the overall organization, third-party managers are getting lost in the wave of vendor management requirements.

Using manual assessment tools when onboarding and reassessing vendors during auditing periods requires direct work from already busy third party cybersecurity leaders, both internally and externally with from your vendor’s security leaders. Managing data and gathering reputable information to represent your TPRM program to your board of directors also requires time-consuming data analysis manually from vendor risk managers.

The pools of data are getting larger, and the time third party risk managers have to spend evaluating each vendor is diminishing. By implementing automated, reliable, continuous monitoring technology into your strategy for managing third party risk, security leaders can stop exasperating their already limited resources. Continuous monitoring technology removes the need of manually working with data, and allows risk managers to focus the attention on actually acting on the results of the data.

Assessing Your Vendors Efficiently


By taking an automated and data-driven approach to managing third party risk, vendor managers can reclaim the time wasted on manual and inefficient processes. Efficiently managing vendors, especially when assessing inherent risk during the onboarding and reassessment periods, can mean time and money saved down the road. When threats arise, TPRM leaders that use continuous monitoring technology to manage third party risk not only can be confident in the cybersecurity program their third parties maintain, but also can quickly assess their vendors to know when and where threats occur.

BitSight for Third-Party Risk Management includes encompassing vendor monitoring options, from a la carte monitoring options to select for each vendor, as well as preset packages to help give TPRM leaders a place to start. By continuously monitoring your vendors with BitSight, risk managers can use BitSight’s independently verified Security Ratings to take a confident approach to managing their programs.

With continuous monitoring technology, third party leaders no longer have to rely on the subjective responses and data reported out by their vendors, but instead can verify the cybersecurity data from their third parties with an objective and reliable rating. BitSight’s TPRM product can monitor an organization’s portfolio with the necessary level of focus on critical vendors, as well as a cyber risk monitoring option for the entire vendor pool that sometimes gets ignored when resources are tight. 

The effects of third party breaches are hitting organizations faster and at a greater scale than ever before, so protecting your network from your vendor’s vulnerabilities with continuous monitoring is a crucial best practice for managing third party risk.  

Confidently Present Your Program

The benefits of continuous monitoring don’t stop with assessing your vendors. With access to reliable and real-time data, third party security leaders are finding they can more accurately discuss, report on, and make decisions about their vendor management programs.

Managing third party risk also includes being able to represent your third party risk management program confidently and accurately to your company stakeholders. Speaking the language of your board of directors, C-suite executives, and other vendors requires accurately presenting cyber risk metrics, and data compiled from continuous monitoring technology brings accuracy and visibility to the forefront of board reporting. 

Instead of looking at data that’s only representative of a point in time of the vendor cybersecurity landscape, third party managers using continuous monitoring technology can present up-to-date data that can confidently represent the entirety of a company’s vendor landscape. The next time a company stakeholder requests data-based information about your third party cybersecurity program, you want to be able to give them an accurate and timely response that you can trust.

In Conclusion

With the new year approaching, now is a perfect time to implement changes that will highlight efficiency and enable your third-party risk management program to be prepared for whatever comes your way.

To get started implementing best practices that will make the right impact on your process for managing third party risk, check out our recent eBook to learn more about how you can start continuously monitoring your vendors.


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