Managing Third-Party Risk - the Importance of Real-Time Intelligence

Blog / Managing Third-Party Risk - the Importance of Real-Time Intelligence

Managing third-party risk is inevitable when you work with vendors, suppliers, contractors, and business partners. And the harrowing thing is that you have no control over their networks or security.

On-off or snapshot assessments of third-party risks still leave your business vulnerable as neither your business nor the third-party’s operates in a static environment. As things change in real time, you need real-time intelligence to manage third-party risk in your firm.

Why your security needs to focus on managing third-party risk

Your organisation has to rely on third-party software, services, and/or contractors. That means your organisation faces digital risks from third-parties through the connections you make and the interactions you have. And a lot of online threat actors have started to focus on vulnerabilities in third-party access to gain entry to their target firms. That’s why, for example, Transparency International UK provides third-party anti-bribery guidelines to assist large, small, and medium enterprises to manage this threat. And there are many other ways that a third-party breach can impact your business.

Like most businesses as they evolve, you’re probably also storing more data in a cloud-based setting. This is the trend across industries as more financial data, health records, and detailed consumer statistics are increasingly stored offsite. These developments allow businesses the flexibility to collect and analyse more data. However this comes at a price. And that price is the access that has to be given to your company’s partners, vendors, and other third-parties and the security threats this access poses.

Once you’ve given external entities access to your network, or you’re connected to their network, the risk of breaches increases. As a result, their potential risks become yours as well. That means you’ll have to expend resources on managing risk exposure from direct and indirect threats.

Threat intelligence, therefore, becomes one of the best ways to assess third-party risks and the potential impact on your business operations. Vulnerabilities and threats in an online space can rapidly change. So, having up-to-date information is essential to protect your systems and data. Point-in-time data can help but it doesn’t allow you to plan well or to take effective steps when a breach does happen that could potentially impact your business.

Static assessments of a third-party’s risk provide you with a good baseline. Real-time monitoring allows you to track and measure risks as they change over time. As we’ve proven repeatedly in the businesses we’ve helped, real-time metrics facilitate real-time risk mitigation decisions.

Getting real-time intelligence to manage your third-party risk

Managing cyber risk requires the ability to measure risks and adjust to changes in the risk profile. This enables you and your security team to make decisions based on how to mitigate said risks. Managing these risks can only be accomplished with the support of threat intelligence delivered on a real-time basis.

Getting real-time metrics is essential for an all-rounded and effective third-party risk management plan. When done arbitrarily, you’ll often have weak spots in your security. What you’ll need instead is a system that can filter the dark web for chatter on vulnerabilities directly and indirectly linked to you. You’ll want to know about breaches at your third parties and how they could impact your business. You’ll need data on software vulnerabilities and what kind of risks you and your partners could face as a result of these.

Then you want a system that can filter all this noise to pinpoint what’s a real risk and start planning accordingly.

Your company’s security is only as strong as your weakest link. If that weakest link is in a third-party asset then, it doesn’t matter how strong your overall security is, you need to strengthen that link. Third-party risk assessment allows you the flexibility to plug the gaps in your business and secure your company and customer data. To achieve this, it helps to work with a cyber-security expert for effective real-time intelligence, analysis, and mitigation strategies.

So, when your CISO comes to you with a request to include third-party risk assessment in your security budget, it’s not just about how to measure the ROI on your investment. It’s also about measuring the costs of not doing so to your business.

If you’ve only done static risk assessment to date, you may want to take a step towards integrating real-time intelligence in your security risk assessment. Attomus can help you start that process. And where you need a risk assessment system that offers ROI data to facilitate decision making, we’re the team to help you.

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