September 3, 2019
Exposure to risk doesn’t begin and end with a project or a client or an email. Thorough due diligence is essential to effective risk management, and risk management is essential to tracking, finding, and mitigating threats that increase your vulnerabilities (and your insurance premiums).
The Ponemon Institute’s 2018 Report for security leaders found that 68% of respondents reported that their business leaders did not have a complete understanding of the impact potential threats could have. Risk management is no longer a luxury, it is a business priority, and requires resources to help you navigate the data collection, security, assessment, and approval process.
Quick and easy, here are 5 streamlining benefits of Third-Party Risk Management:
1. Control your Communication
Spreadsheets and email chains are no longer innovative tools for information collection and communication. Don’t get us wrong, spreadsheets can be powerful, and no one loves a quick email more than we do, but combine the two and a big project with confidential information? Cue the headache.
The hassle of emailing back and forth, of file versioning, of compatibility issues and updates, of always having to double check the recipients to make sure your files are “safe”... There’s hardly a central record of who has or has had access to what, and even worse, just like with a piece of paper that is uncontrolled once printed, a file is usually uncontrolled once emailed.
The legal industry in particular has become a plentiful target for hackers, which is alarming due to the high risk and confidentiality of the information being communicated. Uncontrolled and decentralized file share through unencrypted or monitored email makes it difficult to identify, assess, and address potential vulnerabilities and risks, the least of which can be a phishing attack, and the most severe of which could be an arbitrary code execution resulting in a massive data breach.
2. Keep Information Current
Granted, due diligence collection, review, and approval takes time and requires collaboration across departments. To best assess risk when performing due diligence, you’ll have to collect records from HR, Legal, and Accounting and coordinating that collection effort when people span across time zones is a lot of work.
By using a centralized third-party risk and compliance platform, approved assignees and collaborators can be in-the-know on the latest happenings with requests, risk assessments/profiles, and projects. Securely collect, review, request clarifications, and update information to keep risk assessments current and relevant.
Don’t worry about missed meetings and stop asking to be sent the call recording or meeting notes. Instead of reading the minutes or asking others to fill you in, keep up to date on the status of your Requests, your vendors’ responses, your colleagues’ comments, and the status of risk management actions.
3. Create Organizational Memory
Known business processes, procedures, and information can be referred to collectively as 'organizational memory.' Data science is increasingly making it possible to digitize, store, and analyze this information so it can be easily retrieved even when there is personnel turnover, promotion, or retirement. This means the knowledge your colleagues have gathered and developed is being captured and made available to the other staff members so that it is not taken out of the business when they’re not available.
Companies that run similar initiatives will benefit more from the investments they make in their personnel by using organizational memory to make better risk and business decisions.
By performing full and thorough risk assessments through due diligence requests in Counself, clients can inquire, collect, and maintain frequently used documentation, notes, and procedures in a private but secure Company Library. Levy your colleague’s experience and knowledge, centralizing that know-how and storing everything about past projects and lessons learned in one location.
4. Make Sharing Less Tedious
Effective and efficient collaboration is the foundation of any team endeavor, but with the use of only a spreadsheet, it is difficult to transparently and productively collaborate. Edits and versions can get crossed as all involved parties try to access and update the information in the spreadsheet or pdf or file.
The risk management process is an integral part of communication through project management, which makes it easy to join forces and work together as a team to handle all the risks that your business faces. By using a centralized, accessible, cloud-based platform as your request, assessment, and agreement repository, you and your colleagues will be able to work together with a full audit history and timeline to track changes and keep risk assessments up to date.
5. Improve Security
Spreadsheets are not the most secure tools for information collection transfer. For instance, there is no guarantee that someone won't mistakenly edit a formula or alter a sensitive pivot table. Even if all secure cells are locked or configured, there is no strong conviction that spreadsheets have the backup functions and the configuration management options that a certified and secure platform will offer you.
You don’t have to get rid of every tool you’ve found useful, but you have to recognize that your information is as secure as its weakest link. If you secure your spreadsheet but send it in an unencrypted email, the password can be hacked. If you share your spreadsheet in a secure, ISO 27001 certified platform, your only concern should be whether the data is accurate, not whether it is safe.
This is where the importance of vendor cloud security comes in, and why you should absolutely perform due diligence requests to your IT vendors as well. Third Party Risk Management software can be a great tool to leverage, but you have to make sure the software you’re using to keep safe is safe for you to use.
Risk Management Should be Your Priority
With compliance and risk management software, you are ensuring your company and your business greater longevity. You can monitor your commitments, vendors, assess and identify potential risks and involve your team in your compliance processes. Maintain the documentation you most often have to share, such as company approved information security policies or template agreements for all of your personnel to use while securing it all on a safe and centralized platform.
The Counself platform has been specifically designed with these considerations in mind to bolster your third party risk and due diligence processes. Use Counself Risk to send Due Diligence Requests, create and circulate intelligent Forms that streamline the data collection process for you and your vendors, and maintain full audit histories and access security restrictions for ease of monitoring like something you want to explore for your department? Contact us here for more information.