3 Reasons to Align Cybersecurity and Third-Party Risk Management

3 Reasons to Align Cybersecurity and Third-Party Risk Management

With 2022 just around the corner, your organization needs to know how it will address its internal and external risks. You have cybersecurity and third-party risk management (TPRM) processes, but does your organization integrate these programs to address risk cross-functionally? 

If not, you’re missing out on an important opportunity to increase visibility into your organization’s risk posture. Aligning third-party risk management and cybersecurity will help your organization to develop a comprehensive sense of risk and prevent security incidents.  

Not to mention that recent trends will make it a necessity that you integrate your cybersecurity and TPRM programs. New cybersecurity regulations and standards, increased third-party cyber threats and heightened enterprise-wide accountability for cybersecurity initiatives demand that you broaden your program scope.  

Why You Should Align Cybersecurity and Third-Party Risk Management

New Global Cybersecurity Regulations and Standards: The increase in third-party cyber data breaches has prompted regulators to raise cybersecurity standards. In the United States, the Biden Administration aims to improve nationwide cybersecurity with an executive order. The 100-day plan aims to modernize federal infrastructure, improve supply chain security, establish a cybersecurity review board and more. 

  • Where TPRM comes in: Your organization needs to ensure that its third parties are compliant with the regulations and standards that apply to you and to them. These may be different from those that are relevant to your organization. Third parties should be vetted for good cybersecurity hygiene prior to onboarding; their policies and procedures should be made clear to your organization.

Increased Third-Party Cyber Threats: The cyber threat landscape grows exponentially each year. Not only are organizations vulnerable to direct cybersecurity threats, but they must consider vulnerabilities within their third parties too. Third-party cyber data breaches like the Kaseya data breach, a cyberattack that affected over 1,500 organizations, demonstrate just how necessary it is for your organization to have a firm handle on third-party cyber risk. 

  • Where TPRM comes in: Preventing a third-party data breach from affecting your organization’s continuity begins with verifying that your third parties have robust cybersecurity practices. Your organization should conduct pre-contract due diligence prior to onboarding a vendor to understand their current cybersecurity posture. Additionally, you should monitor the vendor on an ongoing basis to verify that they maintain sufficient cybersecurity controls.

More Focus on Enterprise-Wide Accountability: In order to be successful in mitigating internal and external risk, your organization needs to involve stakeholders throughout the extended enterprise, including your third parties. Managing cyber risk can no longer be relegated to your cybersecurity program. Auditors and executives need to see proof that cybersecurity is being taken seriously within every department.  

  •  Where TPRM comes in: In today’s risk landscape, your organization must consider its third parties as an extension of the enterprise. Third-party risk is just as important as first-party risk, and your organization should treat it as such. Assign proper ownership for third-party relationships to monitor cybersecurity risk throughout the extended enterprise. 

How to Integrate Third-Party Risk into Cybersecurity

The reasons listed above give your organization a strong incentive to integrate TPRM processes into your cybersecurity program. For many organizations, this is easier said than done. You may find that your cybersecurity program struggles to evaluate its own effectiveness, let alone that of its third parties. 

ProcessUnity’s expert guide, “Aligning Internal Cybersecurity Practices with External Third-Party Risk Management” provides best practices for integrating TPRM into your cybersecurity program. Download the paper here to improve your internal and external cyber risk visibility.