How to Maximize ROI and Improve Third-Party Security Risk Management

Risk management and mitigation to reduce exposure for financial investment, projects, engineering, businesses. Concept with manager’s hand turning knob to low level. Reduction strategy.

Remote work is forecasted to increase in 2023 — which means so will the cybersecurity risks that come with it. Although cloud-enabled workforces and virtual third-party vendors have set the stage for companies to operate globally dispersed workforces, they also increase risk of security events.

As a result, third-party security management is more critical than ever. As companies increase reliance on third-party vendors, cyberattacks on suppliers have increased. According to a 2022 Ponemon Report, the number of cyberattacks originating in third-party vendors reached 49%, up from 44% in the 12 months prior.

Although security and cyber risk teams are well aware of these challenges, few organizations have evolved their third-party security risk management programs to address them. To help clarify what’s wrong with existing solutions and explain how to maximize solution ROI, we’ve put together this helpful guide. Check it out!

Don’t Do This

In the guide, we cover two common approaches to third-party risk management that fall woefully short. Here’s a brief overview.

1. Manual security questionnaires and spreadsheets

Manually filling out — and reviewing — lengthy security questionnaires consumes vast amounts of time and energy. In fact, the average turnaround time for managing third-party security this way is six to nine weeks per vendor.

Another main issue with a manual approach is that it’s almost impossible to accurately assess risk. Not only is the process prone to human error, but the results become obsolete as soon as they are found. A manual process can only offer a point-in-time assessment. The risk landscape is constantly evolving, which means assessment must be performed continuously.

2. Conventional SRS tools and automated questionnaires

SRS or automated questionnaires are a popular alternative to a manual approach. However, these still don’t offer the comprehensiveness organizations require to truly secure their third parties.

These tools lack the security ratings and ability to contextualize risk according to the criticality of the business relationship with your vendors. Moreover, neither SRS nor questionnaire platforms alone can tell you whether your vendors align with your company’s security controls, industry regulations, and risk appetite.

Guest blog courtesy of Panorays. Regularly contributed guest blogs are part of MSSP Alert’s sponsorship program.