Why Upper-Level Executives Should Care about Third Party Risk Management

January 09, 2019

When most corporations hear the term ‘security risk management’ they automatically turn to their IT teams for guidance. In reality, however, a strong corporate security strategy starts at the top of an organization, not in the middle. Cybersecurity breaches are no longer simply a thing that happens to tech companies or certain computer models. Huge corporate data breaches happen every single day — often with disastrous consequences for the company in question and its partners.

Why management needs to be involved

Because cybersecurity and the risk it poses has become such a critical focus in today’s business landscape, it’s necessary for C-level executives and board members to become directly involved in corporate security initiatives, especially those that deal with third party vendors.

Data breaches can impact every single aspect of a business, especially brand reputation and PR. Security breaches can decimate a smaller organization and can throw a huge wrench in the plans for even the largest corporation. If a data breach occurs as a result of a poor vendor risk assessment, both companies could be at risk of a public relationship breakdown. If something like this happens, it will require input from every single member of an executive team, board, and probably even a board of investors. So, to be accurately prepared, upper-level management should be acutely aware of the security initiatives taking place within an organization at all times.

Additionally, whether your team has a CISO or a general cybersecurity team, making any sort of cybersecurity investment decision can be a catch-22 for all involved. Information security takes a serious amount of time and resources, which can be hard to sell to a board of directors. On the other hand, the potential risks are real and the consequences could be disastrous. So, while CISOs should have their proverbial ducks in a row at all times, company executives and board members have to realize how critical these initiatives are to the success of a company on both sides of the supply chain.

How tech teams can involve upper-level management

When it comes to getting upper-level management more involved in third party risk management, the key is in education and transparency. Oftentimes, executive teams and boards are ignorant of the importance of cybersecurity initiatives simply because they fail to see how they fit into a larger corporate strategy.

Security teams can help educate and involve upper-level management by:

Aligning technical and business efforts

It’s no surprise that IT and InfoSec has a bit of reputation for being a roadblock of sorts when it comes to corporate innovation and growth. To keep security protocols from becoming a hindrance as your company is trying to push out new products or services, make sure all of your departments are tightly aligned. Your security team should have access to an updated product roadmap so they can start planning for potential updates, and your business leaders (aka sales, product, and more) should clearly understand hard security limitations before setting out a plan.

Keeping security updates top-of-mind

For board members that might not be involved in the day-to-day decisions of a corporation, they might need to be reminded of new updates and information coming down the line. If your team is working with a new vendor or partner, give an update on security alignment at the next board meeting. If your team invests in a new security platform or has ideas for a more streamlined security assessment process, make this conversation a priority.

Creating a culture of security

Just to reiterate, security initiatives start at the top. If your corporation truly wants to create a transparent channel between your security team and upper-level management, start by making security a company-wide initiative. This means educating on the importance of email and social media security, tips on keeping mobile data safe, and more. Making cybersecurity part of your company culture as a whole will help ensure large security initiatives don’t slip through the cracks.

Introducing an end-to-end security solution

While some companies rely on multiple security solutions for different parts of their business, Whistic is the only SaaS platform that provides an end-to-end solution that instills confidence and peace-of-mind at even the highest levels of an organization. While CISO’s can rest assured that third party risk assessments are being performed with the utmost attention to detail, board members and executives can receive up-to-date stats and statistics that show exactly how third party security is impacting the business as a whole.

See a Live Demo with a Whistic Product Specialist to learn more or check out the resources below for additional insights.

Third Party Data Breaches

3 Types of Vendor Security Risk Reports Every CISO Should Have Access To

The Importance of Having a Cloud Vendor Assessment Policy

Risk Management information security cybersecurity supply chain data breach

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