How to Spend Remaining Budget Wisely (Before You Lose It)

Security teams are adjusting priorities for 2023 in order to hit high-stakes standards from customers and regulators. As the new year draws ever closer, security and risk management leaders might find themselves looking for smart ways to spend any extra funds that remain in their budget, especially if they do not roll over to the next term.

Despite the urge to act now or lose it, it’s critical to think strategically about your vision and the goals set for your team. When it comes to Third-Party Risk Management (TPRM), your investment could positively impact other areas of your organization—from bolstering efficiency to helping business units, GRC, legal, and procurement to get ahead of the imminent growth in your vendor population.

Workloads are only ramping up as more third-party vendors enter the network and the attack surface expands, suggesting TPRM is a strategic initiative to invest the remaining budget on.

The best way to spend the end of year budget will be unique to each company, but there are some common questions that can help you make the right choice.

How to Spend Your End of Year Budget

As you decide how to use your end of year budget, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is your organization’s cybersecurity plan for the upcoming year? Will you need any additional resources, tools, or technology to achieve those goals?
  2. Are there opportunities to streamline operations, automate processes, or outsource services?
  3. Would you benefit from external, professional expertise to achieve those goals that seem unattainable with the current setup?
  4. What resources would be beneficial for your team to help them perform their tasks more efficiently? Could any of your current tools use an upgrade?
  5. Will your company grow exponentially in the next year, thus engaging with more third party vendors?

Thinking ahead about where your company wants to be makes it easier to allocate your end of year budget to getting there. Once you know what you want to achieve, consider the following ways to spend your remaining funds.

1. Adopt new technology to streamline processes

The end of the year is the perfect time to take inventory of your current toolkit and identify any gaps in your business processes that are painful for your department.

As organizations embrace digital transformation, investing in a technology platform that makes your job easier is always a smart way to spend your remaining budget. With the added benefits of increasing productivity, reducing repetitive tasks, and freeing up time to focus on higher value activities.

Which domain in your organization needs a technology boost?

From a TPRM perspective, processes like manual vendor risk assessments, continuous monitoring, or periodic reassessments, to name a few, could be optimized through automation and strategic integrations.

If you don’t currently have visibility over your entire vendor ecosystem, think about investing your remaining budget in tools like BitSight VRM or TPRM. They can provide your organization with a more effective way to validate vendor security controls, continuously monitor their posture, reduce the time it takes to onboard and offboard vendors, and make better risk decisions.

2. Invest in managed services opportunities

Did you know third-party risk management can be a managed service?

Professional services outsource the responsibility for implementing and maintaining a business process or function. They are designed to handle the daily operations of your specialized applications, in order to improve operations and reduce costs.

TPRM as a managed service (TPRMaaS) can make it easier to establish and operate your third-party risk management program, combining a purpose-built tool with technical and security expertise. More than purchasing from a technology vendor, your organization would gain a strategic partner with deep expertise to improve your cyber risk management.

Using end of year budget resources on managed services can have a greater impact on your company’s bottom line, by having risk management operations planned, built, and run as a service. BitSight offers professional services for third-party and internal risk management, assuming ownership of daily vendor risk monitoring and remediation efforts, generating effective reports, as well as improving an organization’s own cybersecurity posture.

3. Consider starting a VRM or TPRM program

If you haven’t started or want to mature a VRM or TPRM program, think of allocating your remaining budget towards it.

It’s highly likely that your organization is facing the following challenges, which makes TPRM increasingly critical:

  • There are more vendors in the supply chain than last year
  • The risk of suffering a third-party data breach keeps going up
  • Regulation is forcing your company to take action

As business goes global and more third-party vendors enter your network, there’s always a chance you might need to double your third-party risk management efforts. But how to do so when you can’t double the resources?

Fit-for-purpose tools like BitSight TPRM are the perfect ally to increase your risk assessment capacity with the same resources, while adding value to your business by reducing enterprise risk, showing a robust security posture to your customers and partners, and increasing visibility over cyber risk exposure.

Whether you’re taking your first steps with manual vendor risk assessments, or trying to scale your program, BitSight can help with a purpose-built workflow management, document repository and process automation platform. You’ll be able to get your TPRM program out of email & spreadsheets, with access to 20,000+ vendor security profiles already assessed by the community, the only security ratings with proven correlation to business outcomes.

Time to Refocus and Set Your Goals

The end of year is a busy time. You’re focused on closing deals and planning your strategy for the next year, which includes looking for opportunities to spend your extra end of year budget on products, services, or solutions to take a step further.

No leader can go wrong putting extra funds into technology. Your toolkit should accommodate opportunities to alleviate the stress on your team, whether it’s understaffed or spending a lot of time on low-level maintenance or administrative tasks.

The best way to spend your end of year budget will be the one that best matches your organization’s immediate and long-term vision and needs. When comparing different options, weigh the potential return on investment for each one, and choose the route that is most likely to achieve your desired results.