In this digital age, assessing cyber risk is critical to businesses of all sizes. And not just your organization’s direct risk level but those of all the third parties you do business with. This assessment is often surfaced through a score. Undoubtedly, that cyber risk score is an integral piece of your business’ overall cyber risk management. But you need more than a score in order to truly understand your risk and, more importantly, address it.
First generation cyber scoring tools were not designed to deal with the level of complexity, customization and variability of today’s third-party cyber relationships. To deal with these issues, a new approach must be developed. This next generation approach must be comprehensive, configurable, collaborative and continuous. Let’s explore each of those components more in depth.
You need to evaluate all aspects of your third parties, including systems, processes and personnel. Just looking at their technology, for example, doesn’t give you the whole picture. You need insight into any process flaws or compliance issues and even threats their personnel could unknowingly be posing to their business, and in turn, yours. Using a platform that provides automated assessments and survey-based questionnaires will offer the most comprehensive view of your cyber risk posture.
First generation third-party cyber scoring tools use a “one-size-fits-all” scoring approach. Unfortunately, these scores don’t provide a true picture of the third-party’s risk with your organization because it doesn’t take all the dimensions of these complex relationships into the development of their score. More often that not, this can lead to a meaningless score that offers a false sense of security. Measure the most relevant risks to your organization by using a next generation approach that allows you to customize items like system interaction, questionnaire data (e.g., SOC2, NIST, PCI, etc.) as well as personnel data and vulnerabilities.
Identifying the risks with a score is only the first step. Being able to validate the accuracy of that score, identifying detailed actions to improve that score and communicate those effectively with your partners is the key to reducing the risk to your business. Next generation cyber risk management provides the ability to easily collaborate with your third parties to communicate about threats and assign tasks to remediate them through a single platform.
Many organizations already conduct some level of cyber risk assessments, which is great. But here’s the problem: Most only undertake such exercises once. Next generation third-party cyber risk management takes into account that organizations evolve, and therefore constantly evaluates critical risk areas and adjusts as needed to give you an accurate assessment at any point in time.
Next generation third-party cyber risk management is a powerful weapon that every business should have in their arsenal. But according to Varonis, only 5% of companies’ folders are properly protected, on average. Given that data breaches exposed 4.1 billion records in the first half of 2019, the start of a new decade is the perfect opportunity to upgrade to a new, multidimensional approach to your cyber risk management.