Vendor Risk Management

How To Mature Your Vendor Risk Management Program

Kim Johnson | July 20, 2020

There are layers of uncertainty plaguing security professionals when it comes to the time, money, and energy they spend focusing on their third-party risk management systems. Without the proper tools and analysis, it is hard to know if your program is effective.

As with many business processes, reaching the target point for a mature vendor risk management program requires breaking down your system into several steps of more manageable pieces. Organizations can choose to focus on a variety of pieces depending on the specific models or programs they rely on. Reaching an "agile" status for your security program can mean prioritizing what your industry leaders are focusing on.

BitSight has helped security leaders develop their businesses' third-party risk programs by following a model based on the Deloitte Enterprise Risk Management evaluation. This  model can help your organization find where you rank in terms of maturity level based on four key indicators. You can reach a mature level of vendor risk management that works for your business by asking the right questions and directing the resources you already have to the right areas.

Reaching Your Target State: Navigating To A  Mature Vendor Security Process

Do you have a dedicated security team within your organization that includes individual members focused on employee security and vendor risk? Do you utilize spreadsheets when onboarding new vendors and evaluating current third-parties?

Following the Deloitte-based structure, BitSight can provide companies with an analysis of their current vendor management tools and processes in four overarching categories. Based on the responses within each section, a company can see where they currently fall on the maturity scale, where their target position falls in comparison, and the opportunity areas where specific processes can be improved.

Maturity Evaluation Categories

The four categories companies should analyze internally to navigate to an impactful maturity level include:

  • Strategy & Governance: How developed are your policies and governance surrounding third-party management? Organizations with optimized and agile TPRM programs have well-documented and consistently applied policies across their entire organization, extending to their third-parties as well as throughout the internal company.
  • People: Do you have a team or department within your organization that focuses wholly on vendor risk instead of having it assigned to their list of responsibilities? Is there a leader who champions TPRM to the board, and educates them on the importance of managing third party risk? Many companies fall into the early, less-mature stage when it comes to the resource they dedicate to working strictly on TPRM within their organization. They might struggle to engage their leadership team, especially in financially-stricken quarters or years.
  • Process: Do you focus on analyzing vendor security performance strictly during the onboarding process, or do you allocate resources to revisit your vendor’s cyber-health and security posture throughout the relationship lifecycle? With BitSight For Third-Party Risk Management, companies can consistently monitor their vendor’s objective ratings, as well as evaluate vendors yearly with audit techniques that promote operational efficiency. Our maturity model can highlight if your current process is representative of where you need to be, or if there is opportunity for improvement.

  • Technology: How do you collect the onboarding, ongoing, and offboarding information throughout your vendor lifecycle? Are there ways you can automate the process to make it more efficient? Companies with mature vendor risk management models utilize the efficient data collection and analysis process found in TPRM technology, like BitSight For Third-Party Risk Management, to automate their processes to get quick and easy to comprehend results, removing the clunky process of manually managing and updating spreadsheets.

 

What Does Your Result Mean?

Your third-party risk management program can be ranked within a mature vendor risk management model, and when using the categories above, you can be given a low, moderate, or high maturity score. Their maturity level is based on the standards for each category and where in the criteria they fall:

  • Initial
  • Managed
  • Defined
  • Integrated, or
  • Agile

To reach an agile, fully optimized maturity ranking, organizations must reach the highest maturity level for each of the strategy, people, process, and technology stages.

If your score is lower than you want it to be, it is important to break down which areas of  your vendor security management plan might be holding you back. Maybe you need to focus on securing a structured team that is solely focused on third-party risk management. Or for some organizations, they have already allocated the resources to create a solid TPRM team, but are held  back by the clunky technology they use to manage their vendors. 

By working with the BitSight For Third-Party Risk tools, users receive a bulleted breakdown of the gaps in their program to avoid having to spend time adjusting the parts of their process that are already solid.

Reach Operational Efficiency In Your Business

With our tried-and-true framework for reaching a level of mature vendor risk management, BitSight is helping organizations of all sizes, sectors, and security levels hit their maturity level goals. With the BitSight For Third-Party Risk Management Maturity calculator, users can work with a BitSight representative to evaluate where they currently sit, where they want to reach, and the steps they need to take to achieve their goals.

Benchmark your process with BitSight's Maturity Model to optimize your business solutions. 

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