Vendor Risk Management

Can Your Vendor Assessments Be More Efficient?

Kaitlyn Graham | September 24, 2020

If you’re using a “one-size fits all” approach to managing your vendor lifecycle, you are missing opportunities to save money and operate more efficiently. Vendor management efficiencies don’t end in the onboarding stage: using a continuous vendor monitoring approach will help you better manage your third parties you worked so hard to onboard.

The most common approach to vendor assessments includes a standard questionnaire the cybersecurity team distributes to their entire pool of vendors, usually during a set yearly reassessment period. While it’s convenient for the security manager to distribute a unified assessment at a designated time during the vendor lifecycle, this approach only presents a snapshot of your vendors’ cybersecurity health. 

What about all of the events that occur outside of the reassessment period? Your vendors’ scores might be acceptable at the time of assessment, but if a malicious actor infiltrated their system the month after the assessment, would you not be made aware of it until you audit your vendor’s the following year? 

Implementing a continuous vendor monitoring process is an efficient and cost effective way to both properly assess your vendors throughout your partnership while also avoiding sending burdensome questionnaires that rely on the third-parties team to respond in a timely, honest manner. 

Enable Your TPRM Program With Continuous Vendor Monitoring

Instead of setting one designated time a year to assess your pool of vendors, start making a bigger impact with the same resources today by implementing a continuous vendor monitoring strategy. 

You need more than just a snapshot of your vendor’s cybersecurity health, representing only that one moment in time the assessment was performed. You can enable your security program to know what the right questions are to ask, and to better understand the inherent risks associated with your vendors by implementing a continuous vendor monitoring plan. 

What does continuous vendor monitoring look like?

With the BitSight for Third-Party Risk Management platform, users can gain access to their vendors’ cybersecurity scores to enable continuous vendor monitoring. Instead of spending time distributing yearly assessments and deciphering the responses you receive for each vendor for accuracy and completion, the BitSight platform provides an external summary for each vendors’ cybersecurity score, adjusted daily to match any changes to their programs. 

BitSight TPRM users can also set inherent risk thresholds for each vendor so that they’re notified if the third party’s score falls below the accepted point. This can help alleviate some of the pain points when managing a large pool of vendors, including removing the need to shift through an overwhelming pool of vendor assessments, worried that something important might not catch your eye. 

Automated alerts that notify you when your vendors’ security rating is below your desired threshold will help you better manage risk across your security program. Your vendors might not always notify you in a timely way when they experience a security threat, if they even notify you at all. BitSight alerts enable you to act efficiently to determine where a threat has occurred, and fix the problem without having to wait for communication from your vendors.

Focus on your critical vendors

You can also promote efficiency when utilizing continuous vendor monitoring by grouping your pool of vendors into tiers based on criticality. Tiering is determined based on how close a third party works with sensitive company information, as well as their historical security performance. When using a tiering system, you can set risk thresholds for entire tiers so that you can prioritize resources for top tier vendors with concerning security performance, over a lower tiered vendor whose rating might also need some attention. 

Stay ahead of cyber threats— and the competition 

By implementing a continuous vendor monitoring system into your TPRM program, you can enable your business to handle an expanding pool of vendors without worrying about using more resources. Maintaining a constant view of your vendors' cybersecurity will allow you to get ahead of malicious actors before they can access your company data through your vendors’ platform. 

You also can help stay ahead of your competition by managing your third-parties through continuous vendor monitoring. While other companies are distributing yearly assessments and committing weeks or months to cybersecurity analysis, you only need to analyze your vendors when a threat occurs. Use your time to work towards your organization’s goals, not worry about cybersecurity snapshots detailing events that may or may not materialize.

Start Using Continuous Vendor Monitoring Today

If you’ve had enough of working with inefficient vendor assessment policies, download our eBook for guidance on implementing continuous vendor monitoring strategies into your security program.

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