Optimizing Your Cyber Security Vulnerability Assessments
Organizations today are more reliant than ever on partners, service providers, vendors, and managed services. While these third parties offer tremendous benefit, they also represent a measure of risk for an organization. As vendors are onboarded with ever greater speed, many organizations are looking to improve the cyber security vulnerability assessments to better scale their third-party risk management program to meet the needs of their business.
Traditionally, cyber security vulnerability assessments have involved risk assessment questionnaires completed by vendors themselves on a yearly or periodic basis. While questionnaires still offer value, they can’t provide the real-time visibility into security performance of organizations needed to mitigate third-party risk.
BitSight can help. With solutions that provide tools for continuous monitoring of the security posture of vendors, as well as tools to validate vendor responses with external data, BitSight enables organizations to optimize vulnerability assessments and achieve measurable cyber risk reduction.
The Challenge Of Questionnaire-Based Assessments
While cyber security vulnerability assessments mainly based on questionnaires have long been the norm, relying solely on questionnaires can leave your organization vulnerable for several key reasons.
- Questionnaires capture a single point in time. Because questionnaires are typically completed yearly, they don’t alert your to changes in a vendor’s security performance in the intervening months. Yet, because security posture can change overnight, you need a more continuous measure of your vendors’ security status.
- Questionnaire answers may be prone to bias. Security and compliance professionals within vendor organizations are frequently overconfident about the maturity and effectiveness of their security programs, and don’t want to come across as a risky vendor to their partners. Consequently, their answers on a questionnaire may not reflect genuine risk within their organization.
- Individuals completing questionnaires don’t always have all the facts. Frequently, the answers on a questionnaire are based on information provided by others within the organization, and that information may be limited or inaccurate.
- Questionnaires lead to a false sense of security. Questionnaires may lead risk managers into a false belief that vendors’ IT environments are adequately secured. This can lead to a lack of precautions and ultimately to a data breach.
Questionnaires undoubtedly still have a place in cyber security vulnerability assessments. They can be especially helpful when taking a deeper dive into a vendor’s security programs and controls. Basing your questionnaires on industry-standard assessment methodologies like SANS Top 20 Critical Security Controls or The NIST Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity can help you develop insightful questionnaires and customize them to the types of vendors you’re vetting.
However, as you seek to optimize your vendor assessments, you’ll want to include a cyber security assessment tool that continuously monitors a vendor’s security posture. That’s where BitSight comes in.
BitSight For Third-Party Risk Management
BitSight is the world’s leading Security Ratings Service, providing organizations with an objective and verifiable measurement of their internal cybersecurity performance and their vendors’ posture. BitSight for Third-Party Risk Management uses BitSight Security Ratings to measure the security posture of vendors and expose cyber risk within your supply chain. With daily Security Ratings provided for each of your vendors, you can get a fuller picture of risk across your entire vendor portfolio.
With BitSight for Third-Party Risk Management, you can:
- Augment yearly questionnaires with continuous monitoring. BitSight enables more comprehensive cyber security vulnerability assessments by providing an external verification and continuous insight into the riskiest issues impacting your vendors.
- Monitor vendors through the entire lifecycle. With BitSight, you can begin monitoring a vendor’s security posture even before the contract is signed. BitSight’s view into a third-parties’ network can help compare multiple potential vendors, taking cybersecurity into account before a decision is even made.
- Onboard vendors faster. BitSight helps reduce the time and cost required to onboard vendors by simplifying security due diligence.
- Reassess vendors efficiently. Using BitSight Security Ratings to tier vendors based on the risk they pose to your organization, you can reassess third parties more efficiently to reduce costs, save time, and focus resources on the areas of highest risk.
- View risk across your portfolio. BitSight’s cyber security risk assessment matrix provides a clear picture of third-party risk aligned to your organizations risk tolerance levels, allowing you to make data-driven decisions about prioritizing resources to have the most impact on your portfolio.
How BitSight Security Ratings Work
The continuous monitoring function within BitSight’s Third-Party Risk Management solution is built on BitSight’s industry-leading Security Ratings. Generated daily for hundreds of thousands of organizations, BitSight Security Ratings are produced via a data-driven, outside-in approach that analyzes objective and externally observable data. Unlike questionnaires, BitSight ratings require no information from the rated entity.
BitSight Security Ratings range from 250 to 900. The higher the rating, the more effective the company is at implementing programs and controls to deal with cyber security threats and vulnerabilities. Using more than 120 data sources, BitSight continuously scans massive amounts of information looking for evidence of compromised systems, issues with security diligence, problematic user behavior, and publicly disclosed data breaches.
BitSight Security Ratings enable organizations to proactively identify issues within their extended network ecosystem, prioritize remediation efforts, streamline assessments, and drive conversations about security controls.
Why Companies And Governments Trust BitSight
BitSight transforms how organizations manage information security risk with objective, verifiable, and actionable security ratings. Founded in 2011, BitSight today is the world’s leading Security Rating Service. By enabling more complete security visibility and evaluating how well an attack surface is protected from cyber security threats, BitSight helps organizations improve their security posture and manage risk more effectively.
Using the BitSight platform, over 2,100+ customers monitor 540,000 organizations to collectively reduce cyber risk. BitSight is trusted by 20% of the world’s countries to protect national security, and 25% of Fortune 500 companies use BitSight to get a clearer picture of their security posture.