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Cyber Security Risk Assessment Checklist

Managing Vendors With A Cyber Security Risk Assessment Checklist

A cyber security risk assessment checklist is an important tool for due diligence in the vendor procurement process. Checklists typically outline the information that should be collected from a prospective vendor to assess the risk it may pose to the organization. Because data breaches that originate with third parties are becoming increasingly common, cyber security risk assessment checklists must focus heavily on understanding the security posture of third-party vendors.

While assessment checklists play a valuable role in managing third-party ecosystems, they must be augmented with tools for continuous monitoring risk in vendor networks. Most of the data collected through checklists offers only a point-in-time snapshot of a company’s security posture, and relies on the accuracy of the vendor’s self-reporting. To manage risk more effectively, organizations need solutions that can provide immediate alerts when a vendor’s security posture changes or security performance degrades, as well as verifies the information the organization receives from a vendor.

For security and risk leaders who want to learn how to mitigate third party risk more effectively, BitSight Third-Party Risk Management offers automated tools that continuously measure and monitor the security performance of vendors.

Essentials Of A Cyber Security Risk Assessment Checklist

While there are no universal standards for a cyber security risk assessment checklist, there are certain data points that should be included in all risk assessment questionnaires to efficiently evaluate security risk. Every security risk assessment should be customized to the industry or size of your organization, but there are some best practices we can recommend to be included across the board when measuring overall risk.

Essential information on a cyber security risk assessment checklist should include:

  • Basic company information, including articles of incorporation, business license, overview of company structure, bios of executives and board members, proof of location, and references from credible sources.
  • Financial information, including tax documents, balance sheets, loans and liabilities, list of major assets, and compensation structure for executives. This information is mostly helpful in determining whether a vendor is financially solvent and paying their taxes.
  • Political and reputational risk, including questions that identify corruption or political weakness that could represent risk for your organization. You’ll want to check the organization against key watch lists and global sanction lists, and check key personnel against politically exposed persons (PEP) lists and law enforcement lists. You’ll also want to look for complaints, negative reviews, negative news reports, and litigation history.
  • Operational risk information identifies whether the vendor is exposed to operational risks that could negatively impact your company. It’s helpful to know whether the vendor has a disaster preparedness plan and a business continuity plan, and to check for employee turnover rates and employee lawsuits that may indicate a toxic culture.
  • Cyber risk information should include an outline of IT systems, history of data breaches, results of penetration tests, and results of security awareness testing. You’ll also want to include a cyber risk assessment questionnaire that discovers the governance and organizational structure for managing cyber risk within the vendor organization and the security and controls technology for mitigating it.

While it’s important to measure total risk of a new vendor or network integration, cybersecurity risk mitigation and assessment is critical to protecting your own organization’s cybersecurity status. BitSight’s technology provides manageable tools to complement and improve your cyber security risk assessments.

40 Questions You Should Have In Your Vendor Assessment

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BitSight For Third-Party Risk Management

BitSight for Third-Party Risk Management provides the tools for continuous monitoring that can augment the information collected through cyber security risk assessment checklists. Using BitSight’s industry-leading Security Ratings, this BitSight solution monitors each vendor’s security posture and immediately exposes cyber risk within a vendor’s digital ecosystem when it arises.

By providing unprecedented visibility into third-party risk, this BitSight solution enables you to:

  • Monitor vendors throughout the entire lifecycle, starting even before the contract is signed. BitSight makes it easy to communicate and summarize risk associated with any vendor relationship, enabling security and risk managers to make outcomes-based, informed decisions.
  • View risk across a vendor portfolio. BitSight’s cyber security risk assessment matrix provides a clear picture of risk across your vendor portfolio and shows how that cyber risk is aligned to your organization’s risk tolerance. With this information, you can establish an adaptive and tiered approach to monitoring vendor risk within existing operational workflows.
  • Streamline onboarding. By augmenting your cyber security risk assessment checklist with BitSight’s near real-time Security Ratings, you can reduce the time and cost it takes to onboard vendors while making your risk management program more scalable. BitSight Security Ratings can serve as the first line of evaluation for if a new vendor is up to your security standards, reducing time spent evaluating vendors that turn out to be too risky.
  • Monitor risk year-round. While cyber security risk assessment checklists tend to produce a point-in-time picture of risk, BitSight provides near real-time updates on changes to vendor ratings or changes in risk vector grades. This continuous information technology risk assessment can help to focus resources on areas of concentrated risk in your vendor ecosystem.

BitSight Security Ratings

Like all BitSight solutions, BitSight for Third-Party Risk Management is built on the data and capabilities in BitSight’s leading security ratings platform. BitSight Security Ratings are a quantitative measurement of the security performance of an organization. In contrast to tools that measure security performance based on an internal understanding of security controls and programs, BitSight Security Ratings are generated through the analysis of externally observable data.

BitSight uses a proprietary algorithm to analyze verifiable information about an organization’s compromised systems, secure diligence, user behavior, and data breaches. By collecting data from 120+ sources that cover 23 risk factors, BitSight can generate daily Security Ratings that range from 250 to 900. The higher the rating, the better the company is it implementing strong security practices and the least likely they are to experience a data breach. By continuously monitoring a vendor’s Security Ratings over time, organizations can better identify, assess, and mitigate third-party risk with individual vendors and in their vendor portfolio as a whole.

Why Choose BitSight?

The world’s leading security ratings platform

Founded in 2011, BitSight pioneered the security ratings industry and has become the most widely adopted security ratings platform in the world. BitSight is trusted by 20% of the world’s countries to protect national security, and BitSight is the choice of 25% of Fortune 500 companies.

Extraordinary visibility

BitSight provides unprecedented visibility into key risk vectors by collecting data from over 120 sources that encompass both owned and licensed data. BitSight also offers the ability to view 12+ months of historical data to identify trends.

An engaged community

With the most robust community of cyber risk professionals interacting on the BitSight platform, the BitSight community provides the context customers need to gain confidence in their interaction with third-party vendors.

Superior prioritization

BitSight incorporates only the most critical and high-quality risk vectors into its Security Ratings, calculating importance in a more diversified way to ensure that the most critical assets are ranked higher. Consequently, BitSight is the only ratings solution that has been independently verified to correlate to breaches, as well as financially quantify the cyber risk present in your network.

FAQs: What Is A Cyber Security Risk Assessment Checklist?

A cyber security risk assessment checklist is an outline of information that organizations require when performing due diligence during the vendor procurement process. A risk assessment checklist will typically include a list of data points that must be collected from the vendors themselves as well as from external sources.

Third-party risk management is the task of identifying, monitoring, and mitigating risk posed to an organization by its vendor network. Third-party risk management begins with the selection process and onboarding of vendors and plays a role throughout the vendor lifecycle.

Security ratings are an objective measurement of an organization’s security performance. Ratings are based on information that is externally available, rather than information supplied by an organization itself. Ratings offer a quantitative assessment of an organization’s security posture and how well it is positioned to mitigate risk within its digital ecosystem. As part of a cyber security risk assessment report, security ratings can help to facilitate data-driven conversations with senior executives and board members, as well as provide an external view of the cybersecurity performance of your organization or your vendors.

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