TPCRM: Building a Third-Party Cyber ​​Risk Management Program for Your Campus

Implementing a TPCRM program is critical to the success of your organization. Here’s how you can get started.

The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced rapid digital changes that have created new security vulnerabilities for a hybrid workforce. Due to the distributed nature of modern work environments, organizations need to be on the lookout for ways cybercriminals can expose new vulnerabilities.

In today’s economy, the need to build a third-party Cyber ​​Risk Management (TPCRM) program for today’s workforce cannot be understated. Every organization must recalibrate its cybersecurity initiatives to deal with new threats and create new protections against online or digital crime.

In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of implementing a third-party cyber risk management program (TPCRM) and how your organization can get started, especially when working with a hybrid workforce. .

What is Third Party Cyber ​​Risk Management (TPCRM)?

Third Party Cyber ​​Risk Management, otherwise abbreviated as TPCRM, is a strategic process that enables organizations of all sizes to identify, assess and mitigate modern cybersecurity risks inherent in business relationships with third parties or vendors.

When using third-party vendors to conduct core business operations, organizations must have a complete and holistic understanding of the potential threats exposed by applications, software, or programs. Only then is it possible to develop mitigation plans that tackle these risks head-on.

What is the true cost of cyber risk?

While leaders may know and recognize the importance of protecting an organization’s data at a high level, it’s harder to see the true costs of cybercrime unless you’ve been affected. Unfortunately, many companies have felt these repercussions. The cost of all cybercrimes is expected to exceed $105 trillion by 2025.

Not only does such a staggering amount mean setbacks, but it also means that consumers, clients, and customers can expect to experience the results of cybercrime in a tangible way.

Cybersecurity risks can take on many faces as threat actors and other digital criminals seek to evolve and adapt their strategies. Make no mistake: every evolution is deliberately created to expose known vulnerabilities and take advantage of them, regardless of the cost.

Choose appropriate solutions

By using simplified security tools and solutions, you can reduce your exposure to threats. Whether your organization works in a physical location or is distributed remotely, having the flexibility to address risks anytime, anywhere is critical to sustainability.

Depending on the goal and scope of your work, you may need to consider one or a combination of the following tools.

  • Government and risk compliance tools– With these tools, all risk and compliance data is centralized, making it easy to share, create reports, perform risk assessments or review contracts.
  • Safety assessment tools– These tools help organizations align their overall security posture with the wider community. Some rating tools are limited and should be used in conjunction with more robust internal ratings.
  • Supplier risk management platforms– For organizations that need to recognize and manage supply chain risks, these platforms provide oversight of hardware, software, and other important aspects of production or delivery.

Recent attacks highlight the need for stronger security

As society as a whole shifts towards digital processes, it’s more important than ever to think beyond the headlines. Although digital ecosystems are now considered the “new normal”, preparing and protecting them requires a strategic effort.

In recent years, some of the most notable third-party attacks and data breaches include:

  • Violation of SolarWinds 2020
  • 2021 Colonial Pipeline Infringement
  • Accellion Attack 2021

Collectively, these cyberattacks targeted internal networks, key databases, encrypted data, and server infrastructure. Each component attacked was integral to business operations and the protection of sensitive data. As with most cyberattacks, these incidents resulted in data loss and were incredibly costly (both financially and reputationally).

TPCRM strategy in a post-COVID culture

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a crash course in cybersecurity protocols and vulnerabilities. As social distancing became the norm, more and more organizations offered remote work opportunities. Even in a post-pandemic world, the implications of COVID have changed the way we work, which is more distributed and hybrid than it was before.

Due to the decentralization of workplaces, organizations have also shifted to relying on third-party vendors and applications, including IoT vendors.

The large number of security openings makes it more difficult to maintain excellent digital hygiene, which consists of cleaning data and reassessing habits for safer results.

What we can all learn from the experience of the pandemic is that critical appraisal and risk assessment are essential for use by third parties. Just as humans have changed their habits to adapt to COVID health protocols, workplaces must now reassess their operational structure and data.

TPCRM for Hybrid Workplaces

When you make it easier to work in a hybrid setting, you’re expected to give employees more outside access to internal systems than before. Clearly, when individual devices are unprotected in a physical location (such as a central hub or office), the risk of cyber vulnerabilities increases.

This change in process requires the selection of trusted, secure and reliable third-party providers. It also requires more direct action from the organizational side to train and educate employees on hybrid workplace safety risks.

By making small adjustments to habits and routines, a distributed or remote workforce can increase the accountability of adhering to a comprehensive TPCRM.

Steps to create and implement a TPCRM program

When created correctly and adequately, a TPCRM program protects an organization’s reputation, bottom line, and overall security or compliance. An in-depth TPCRM program also provides insight into the overall value of third-party vendor relationships while highlighting the ability to improve or strengthen them.

Although the process can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be, the basic guidelines for creating a fully functional TPCRM program are outlined below.

  • Identify the need– As a hybrid organization, the need for security management is obvious. Yet the whole team needs to be on board to understand why protection is crucial.
  • Obtain stakeholder buy-in– Before implementing a new TPCRM strategy, you may need to communicate with leaders (CEO or CIO), investors, senior management, and other members of the community.
  • Choose a platform or system– Choosing a vendor risk management platform that houses all your security data in one place is critical to success. Choose your platform and invest time in learning it.
  • Customize your own processes– Using your platform of choice, import information specific to your hybrid business, including the vendors you use regularly.
  • Extract valuable data– Leverage the information you have to make strategic choices about the relationships with the vendors you use and trust.
  • Mitigate risks – Work alongside vendors and third-party vendors to reduce risk within your hybrid environment.

Sarah Frazier is Head of Content Marketing at CyberGRX. She has extensive media experience and writes frequently on cybersecurity and SaaS marketing. This article originally appeared in CS sister publication MyTechDecisions.com and has been edited.

Ryan H. Bowman