IT Vendor Risk Management

Why IT Vendor Risk Management Is So Difficult

While your organization works to mitigate many types of risk, the risks posed by IT vendors may be among the most difficult to manage. Cybersecurity threats have the potential to be incredibly damaging, affecting your company’s reputation, operations, financial performance, and competitiveness. While your own security programs may be highly effective, your vendors may not exercise the same diligence, creating a weak link in your security armor. In fact, studies suggest that nearly 75% of companies that were breached reported the attacker accessed their network through a vendor, partner, or another third-party.

The challenge of IT vendor risk management is complicated by continual growth in third-party ecosystems and in the nature of monitoring vendor risk. New, more sophisticated cyber threats seem to emerge weekly or even daily. In this environment, manual tools for managing vendor risk like annual self-assessments can’t provide daily insight into whether a vendor’s security controls are working effectively.

BitSight can help. As the leader in the security ratings industry, BitSight provides solutions for continuously monitoring the security posture of third-party organizations and tracking security performance of vendors in real-time.

Automating IT Vendor Risk Management

As you consider the best way to mitigate risk in your portfolio of IT vendors, leveraging technology-enabled automation is the best way to keep up with your ever-growing vendor base and the speed at which cyber threats emerge.

Automated technologies provide three critical benefits for risk reduction

1. Greater velocity

Traditional vendor risk management assessments have long turnaround times, prohibiting companies from gaining a quick and comprehensive view of a vendor’s security posture. Automated IT vendor risk management solutions enable quicker assessments and greater productivity when managing hundreds or thousands of vendors, and when deciding between multiple vendors in the procurement process. When new threats and vulnerabilities emerge, automated solutions can instantly determine the impact on security posture of third and fourth parties, and notify security teams before the vendor’s themselves have addressed it.

2. Simple scalability

With constant innovation in new technologies and the rise of cloud services, the number of vendors in the average third-party ecosystem continues to grow. Most organizations lack the people, time, and resources to adequately conduct due diligence on all third-party vendors. Automated security diligence technology enables risk management teams to streamline cybersecurity assessments and processes with the headcount and resources they already have.

3. Easier collaboration

Working with third parties to address cybersecurity risk is one of the most difficult aspects of IT vendor risk management. Automated risk management solutions provide a common platform where companies and their vendors can review the same data in one shared view to provide clarity around security issues and cyber threat intelligence decisions.

40 questions vendor risk ebook

With this ebook, we'll help you prioritize which vendors need the most attention with an in-depth security assessment – such as those with low security ratings, or critical vendors that maintain constant contact with your company’s systems. 

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BitSight for Third-Party Risk Management

BitSight for Third-Party Risk Management is a leading solution for businesses that want to mitigate risk more effectively while minimizing cost and time. By continuously monitoring the security controls and posture of third and fourth parties, BitSight helps reduce risk and increase confidence in your third-party risk management program.

BitSight’s solution is based on BitSight Security Ratings, an outside-in approach to assessment that determines risk based on externally verifiable data gathered from more than 100 sources. By monitoring billions of data points on hundreds of thousands of organizations each day, BitSight calculates ratings on evidence of compromised systems, user behavior, publicly disclosed data breaches, and security diligence. With BitSight, you gain automated continuous controls monitoring technology for more accurate and comprehensive IT vendor risk management.

BitSight for Third-Party Risk Management enables your security and risk management teams to:

  • Continuously monitor IT vendor risk. BitSight automatically assesses changing levels of risk for each vendor throughout the vendor lifecycle, enabling your teams to optimize efforts and drive more effective risk reduction. By indicating likelihood of a cybersecurity attack for each vendor, BitSight ratings enable your teams to proactively identify trends and early indicators of attacks to prioritize remediation.
  • Validate new and existing vendors. With BitSight, your teams can easily ensure that new vendors fall within your acceptable risk tolerance levels while also identifying red flags for cyber risk in any existing vendor relationships.
  • Deliver effective assurance. Offering the industry’s most expansive security domain coverage, BitSight delivers credible evidence for business leaders and stakeholders that your third parties’ security controls are being managed effectively.

How BitSight Improves IT Vendor Risk Management

As the number of vendors and third parties in your ecosystem continues to grow, BitSight can help improve effectiveness and security throughout the digital economy as you scale your existing third-party risk management programs. With BitSight, you can find clear answers to three critical questions:

1) Which companies should you focus on for assessments and audits?

BitSight Security Ratings help your team prioritize risk remediation for vendors based on the criticality of relationships, the severity of risk, and past security performance. With this information, you can target companies with low ratings or recent breach risk, collaborate with vendors on security issues, and identify important remediation measures.

2) What questions should you ask of IT vendors and other third parties?

With data from BitSight, you can customize questions in your vendor assessments and validate the answers with external data. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to assessment, BitSight lets you tailor your engagement based on specific risks, behavior, and security patterns.

3) How often should I assess vendors?

BitSight Security Ratings can help to determine the cadence of your in-depth assessments of vendors, while continually assessing risk in the background. Rather than a blanket, annual assessment, you can engage vendors when their BitSight rating declines or when ratings identify specific security issues that should be addressed.

Third Party Risk Portfolio Report

Download our vendor portfolio risk report sample to get an exclusive look at the actionable reporting capabilities third party risk management teams can use to reduce critical portfolio risk.

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Why Choose BitSight?

Founded in 2011, BitSight has become the leading security ratings platform, trusted by some of the world’s largest organizations to provide greater visibility into their security posture and the security performance of third-party vendors. Among BitSight customers are 20% of Fortune 1000 companies, 120 government institutions, and 4 of the top 5 investment banks. BitSight is also backed by Moody’s, who invested $250M in BitSight in 2021 in a joint partnership to bring BitSight Security Ratings to the forefront of cyber risk management globally.

BitSight’s proprietary method of data collection draws information from over 100 sources to deliver visibility into 23 key risk vectors – twice as many as competing security rating organizations. BitSight also provides the most accurate network assets map and manages the largest botnet sinkholing infrastructure, delivering greater visibility into compromised systems. Additionally, BitSight provides customers with 12+ months’ view of historical data to identify trends and understand risk and vulnerabilities in context.

Get a personalized demo to find out how BitSight can help you solve your most pressing security and risk challenges.