Third-Party Cyber Risk Management

July 25, 2023

Cybersecurity threats remain a top priority for organizations today. These risks range from cyberattacks and supply chain complications to unexpected events that can disrupt operations and cost millions to repair. Third-Party Cyber Risk Management is the process of assessing, monitoring, and controlling the cybersecurity risks posed by third parties that provide goods or services to your organization.

Organizations must implement a robust vendor risk management program to minimize the potential damage from vendor risks. This will guarantee that critical vendors are constantly monitored and security risks resolved before they become breaches.

Third-Party Vendors

Third-Party Cyber Risk Management is the process of assessing, monitoring, and controlling the cybersecurity risks posed by third parties that provide goods or services to your organization. This includes suppliers, contractors, service providers, and other supply chain partners who may have access to your information systems or otherwise work with your data.

Companies that rely on technology and third parties for essential business services are increasingly vulnerable to cyber security risks. These could result in financial losses, data breaches, reputational damage and compliance violations, among other consequences.

The good news is that a well-executed third-party cyber risk management program can help you combat these threats. By confirming that your key vendors and supply chain partners have robust cyber security practices in place, you will protect your data from hackers and avoid disruption to operations, brand image or reputation.

Ideally, vendors should be bound by contractual obligations to maintain adequate security controls. However, if this isn’t the case, you can assess their cybersecurity posture and make an informed decision about their suitability for your business requirements.

Many organizations are beginning to implement third-party risk assessment processes, often through software. These tools compile vendor information from spreadsheets and other sources into a centralized inventory.

This allows the organization to view all vendors and their potential risks in one place, which is essential when making decisions about partnering with them. Furthermore, it enables the tracking of vendor progress as well as monitoring security postures over time.

A successful third-party risk management tool should encompass the full lifecycle, from vendor analysis and assessments through continuous monitoring. Furthermore, it should integrate with your existing technologies for a holistic approach to third-party risk management.

Third-Party Suppliers

Third-Party Cyber Risk Management is the process of safeguarding and monitoring the security and resilience of your organization’s business relationships with external suppliers, partners, and other entities. It plays a significant role in creating an effective cybersecurity plan.

Modern enterprises increasingly rely on third parties for support and expertise, providing services essential to their operations. Unfortunately, these relationships come with significant risks such as cyber threats which can negatively affect business performance, reputation and profitability.

In 2023, these risks will only increase in significance as malicious actors attempt to breach supply chains and other critical points of interdependency. It is thus more essential than ever that you implement an effective third-party cyber risk program in order to guarantee your security and compliance obligations are fulfilled.

A reliable third-party provider can assist you in implementing a comprehensive program that includes vendor risk assessment, due diligence and screening. They may also conduct regular monitoring and remediation to avoid vulnerabilities becoming breaches.

TPM (Trusted Platform Module) is an integral element of your organization’s cybersecurity strategy, helping safeguard sensitive data and information while simultaneously allowing you to take advantage of third-party relationships in order to meet business goals.

One of the most essential elements of TPM is assessing each third-party supplier against your specific risk appetite. This can be done through due diligence questionnaires that assess their information security practices and network management. Furthermore, these questions help with onboarding new vendors, keeping existing partnerships secure, and managing risk while leveraging your third-party ecosystem.

As the third-party ecosystem evolves, so too must your TPM strategy. Vendor financial health, delivery capability and market conditions all factor in to how risk you take on; hence why it is so important to continuously monitor vendor risk as their business needs alter.

A comprehensive TPCRM program can quickly identify the most significant risks. Once identified, you can clearly define the remediation process and communicate with vendors about their patching practices. This approach helps minimize risks to your business while providing customers with a high-quality experience.

Third-Party Contractors

Third-Party Cyber Risk Management, or TPRM for short, is an essential element of your overall cybersecurity plan. It allows you to assess and reduce risks associated with businesses, contractors, affiliates and partners that support your operations.

Today, businesses rely on an array of external vendors and partners for essential services and ongoing operations. While these relationships can improve efficiency, productivity, and profitability for a company – they also introduce new cybersecurity risks.

To reduce the risk of vendor breaches, you need to implement an extensive third-party risk management program. Doing so will guarantee your organization meets regulatory compliance obligations and shield customers’ data from cybersecurity hazards.

In addition to preventing breaches, a sound TPRM program will aid your team in recognizing and mitigating risks that could cause harm to both your organization and customers. For instance, vendor breaches could erode customer trust, result in negative press coverage that damages customer perception of you as an institution, as well as negatively affect the image of your brand itself.

Furthermore, data violations can put your business in the crosshairs for financial penalties. Regulations such as GDPR in the EU and similar data protection laws impose strict duties of care on businesses to safeguard sensitive information.

These laws require organizations to conduct due diligence on potential third-party partners before integrating them into their infrastructures. This typically includes evaluating their ownership, organizational structure, financial condition and security practices.

When selecting a potential partner, it’s essential to assess their past response to disruptions. This could involve reviewing client testimonials, security questionnaires and cybersecurity ratings.

Once you have identified the vendors with the greatest impact on your business, create a framework for assessing their security. Doing this allows you to prioritize and focus on working with those vendors who pose the greatest vulnerabilities.

Establish a regular process for updating your risk documentation with new vulnerabilities and controls you have implemented. Furthermore, consider setting acceptable versus unacceptable levels of residual risk.

Third-Party Affiliates

Third-Party Cyber Risk Management allows organizations to secure and bolster the resilience of their ecosystems that are essential for business operations. It helps safeguard valuable data and information assets from malicious software, phishing attacks, and ransomware attacks.

Modern enterprises increasingly rely on a large number of third parties for various business tasks. These could include vendors, suppliers, contractors, affiliates and service providers.

These relationships can be a great source of business value, but they also expose organisations to risks that could negatively affect their reputation, revenue and customer retention. Thus, organizations must have robust and proactive processes in place that aim to prevent or mitigate these potential hazards.

Manage these risks requires constant monitoring and insight into the security of your third-party partners. This is particularly critical as these entities often need access to your organisation’s network, which could be vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Successful third-party cyber risk management strategies must incorporate various tools and techniques to assess your external partners’ security posture. This could involve questionnaires, security ratings and vulnerability assessments.

Security ratings provide an overview of a third-party partner’s safety, and can help organisations decide whether or not to work with them. Much like credit ratings, these ratings offer valuable insight into a vendor’s security posture and whether they will meet your company’s specific requirements.

However, security ratings do have their limitations. In many instances, they can be inaccurate or out-of-date, making it difficult for organisations to make accurate assessments of a third party’s security measures.

Effectively monitoring the risks that third parties pose requires a centralized solution. This should provide continuous monitoring that sends alerts when new threats are identified. Furthermore, it should have the capacity to map and visualize risks at a location level so it’s simple to determine where and when an actual breach may take place.

Ammar Fakhruddin


Ammar brings in 18 years of experience in strategic solutions and product development in Public Sector, Oil & Gas and Healthcare organizations. He loves solving complex real world business and data problems by bringing in leading-edge solutions that are cost effective, improve customer and employee experience. At Propelex he focuses on helping businesses achieve digital excellence using Smart Data & Cybersecurity solutions.

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