During the vendor risk management (VRM) process, your team will engage specific vendors to see if a partnership will not incur irrevocable risk on your team’s security assets or your other vendors and clients. As part of this process, security assessments and questionnaires are shared to ensure security controls line up adequately and that there are no gaps in the process.
For many SaaS organizations, this VRM process has led to the creation of Vendor Security Profiles, which can be easily shared and/or uploaded to an assessment to answer the questions inside quickly.
Below, we’ll look at the critical information your team needs to include in your Security Profile, as well as tips and tricks to optimize this process.
Information to include in your Vendor Security Profile
Here is some key information your team should include in your vendor security profile:
- The results of your preliminary vendor audit. Before sharing any internal security data with a potential vendor, your team should run a preliminary audit to ensure the bones of a partnership are there and that sharing a Security Profile with the potential vendor does not incur any risk.
- The data assets your vendors will (or may) have access to and how they will access this information. This is the meat and potatoes of your Security Profile. What data will be most at risk through the vendor partnership, and how will this data be accessed?
- Any internal systems, domains, servers, or networks the vendor will have access to. Depending on the vendor type, this information could change, so it’s essential to customize your vendor security profile for each vendor risk assessment process.
- An overview of the residual risk—or excess risk—that would still be present once any security controls are in place. In every vendor connection, there will be some risk leftover once all controls are set and ready, which is called residual risk. By spelling this risk out, your team can hone in focus for more advanced security measures.
- A mitigation plan for your internal, customer, and other vendor data in case of a data breach. It is always vital to spell out what your team—and your vendors—are required to do if there ever was a data emergency.
Tips for building the ultimate Vendor Security Profile
Building a Vendor Security Profile doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Instead, keep these three essential tips in mind to optimize your VRM process:
- Flexibility: All of your vendors will be different, and your Security Profile should be able to be updated with the most relevant data and information pertaining to the specific partnership at hand.
- Scalability: The number of vendors an organization uses can continuously grow and change. Your Security Profile should reflect these changes and adapt as new vendors are brought on board.
- Technology: To achieve a flexible, scalable Security Profile with the proper permissions and controls, your team should look to a third-party partner to help manage these kinds of relationships. With Whistic, for example, InfoSec teams can build comprehensive, secure Vendor Security Profiles and easily share them with new vendors at the click of a button.
You can learn more about the Whistic Security Profile and how it can help your team optimize the VRM process here.