Building a Comprehensive Management System for Information Security

 
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It is clear increased scrutiny means that a more rigorous and comprehensive process must be in place for assessing and managing risk. There is more pressure on companies to manage third parties efficiently.

That means tossing out the spreadsheets and doing away with legacy GRC solutions in favor of an integrated solution for an assessment and management process that incorporates third parties in broader risk management and resiliency strategies.

The solution must provide third parties with access to information, due dates, and standardized assessment work-streams through a secure portal designed with ease-of-use in mind.

When an organization brings third parties into the solution, with shared information and standardized processes, it establishes a higher level of control over vendor relationships; saves time and effort during the assessment process; significantly lowers risk exposure; enables better decisions and improves accountability and oversight.

Vendors can log in and access questionnaires and assessments that address risk, impacts, dependencies, and compliance. This model provides for easier review, scoring, and analysis of that information so organizations can make the most prudent decisions possible about potential third-party risk.

An example of increasing the efficiency of the assessment and onboarding process is to automate the pre-risk assessment and scoping procedure that evaluates the vendor's potential risk tier and determines the level of detail which the company should vet that potential vendor.

Some vendors might be put through a complete assessment across many domains (information security, privacy, legal, compliance, and business continuity/disaster recovery) because they are handling sensitive customer or employee data.

Others might not undergo as intense a assessment because they are not involved in the processing or storage of sensitive data. Automating much of this activity speeds the process and let's internal team members focus their efforts on higher-risk providers.

Regardless of the level of scrutiny, any vendor included in enhanced third-party management allows an organization to develop, test and maintain contingency and crisis responses that consider impacts from any disruptions to those partners.

It dramatically increases visibility by providing metrics and reports that identify what processes are effective, and which require more attention. It also allows various departments within an organization to seamlessly collaborate on risk assessments across information security, legal, compliance, finance, and IT. 

Between malicious hackers and rigorous privacy regulations, today's business climate is fraught with risk. Now more than ever, companies must overcome challenges associated with managing third-party relationships that can result in unforeseen operational and compliance risks, threats to business resilience and loss of revenue and credibility. 

A company cannot simply have internal risk management and resiliency measures in place and assume they are protected. Industry has seen time and again that third parties who are not fully vetted, and do not undergo a rigorous risk assessment process, can do as much damage to a company as an internal failure.

Accountability does not stop within the walls of an organization — it can extend to a partner on the other side of the world. And, if the security and data management processes of third-party service providers are not complete, consistent and compliant, then neither are an enterprise's.

Check out how Fusion can help make your vendor risk management a reality.

Steve Richardson, CPO

Steve Richardson, CPO