As any InfoSec leader knows, the world of vendor risk management can be a slippery slope. While security protocols may start straightforward, things can be easily convoluted and confused down the road, especially if your team works with multiple vendors with different compliance protocols. It’s always a good idea to get back to basics and make sure your team is prepared on a foundational level for anything vendor risk management has to throw at you.
Here, we’ll look at the importance of security controls and dig into a couple of key security controls your team should include in any vendor risk management strategy.
Why security controls are important
At the most basic level, an information security team’s goal is to erect safeguards to protect an organization’s data and information from malicious attacks. Security controls are these safeguards. They can be physical (such as a key card system in an office space), technical (the actual software that protects data online), or even operational (a top-down focus on security across an organization).
While InfoSec teams have a hand in all aspects of the corporate security strategy, they most often deal with the technical aspects of security controls – especially when it comes to vendor risk management. Since most vendor security measures deal with data sharing, it is especially critical to have the right security protocols in place for the specific relationship on hand.
3 key vendor risk management security controls
1. Run an initial security assessment to gauge how seriously a vendor manages their security controls before you send a full assessment or questionnaire.
Before your team shares your security posture with a new vendor, it’s a good idea to run a preliminary assessment to ensure that once you do share your security information, data will indeed be secure. Because you want to make sure you’re partnering with vendors who take security seriously, you can expect a great vendor to ask the same of your team as part of their security controls.
2. Be open and flexible to sharing different assessments based on the type of vendor partnership you’re entering.
InfoSec teams should never be boxed in or trapped by their assessment options. Your vendors all have different purposes, and the assessments used to measure risk should be adaptable to these relationships. Understanding the different types of assessments available — andwhich ones are best for your team—can help your team be more confident and exact when it comes to managing vendor security controls.
3. Agree on ongoing security audits to ensure the long-term strength of vendor security postures.
A key part of any vendor risk management strategy is ongoing check-ins and reviews of vendor security measures. Establish this control upfront with vendors to ensure they are on the same page with long-term check-ins. It’s also a good idea to make a habit of notifying vendors as soon as anything changes in your own security protocols to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
Managing security controls with Whistic
Because every organization — and every security infrastructure — is different, there is no such thing as a set list of security controls for an InfoSec team. However, the importance of security controls is that they are easy to access, understand, and scale across multiple vendors and partners. To do this successfully, InfoSec teams need a single source of truth for security controls, where Whistic can help.
Acting as a single source of truth and information for InfoSec teams and their stakeholders,the Whistic platformmakes it easy to assess vendors, track assessments and audits, and establish an organization as a security leader. You can learn more about Whistichere.