IT Vendor Risk Management Guide

Let’s take a look at the different issues that are classified as vendor risks. Of course, the risks for your business may differ from those listed here. At Foresite, we’re happy to work with you to provide services that make sense for your company. If you have a need that isn’t listed here, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team so we can work with you to find a way to meet your needs.

Vendor Risk Management

20% of all data breaches are attributed to third-parties. To keep your company and your clients safe, you must work with a company that can help you with Vendor Risk Management. You have enough on your plate with your creative process and your business. It’s not feasible to constantly check up on your vendors and make sure they are not compromising your security posture. When data breaches occur, your customer base loses trust in your company instantly. When they feel their information is not being protected, they’re likely to stop using your services, and it’s highly unlikely that they’ll recommend your services to their associates. Word of mouth in business is everything, and you do not want word to get around about your business’s lack of due diligence. 

In an ideal world, it’s likely that you would handle all aspects of your business on your own. In today’s fast-paced digital world, it can be impossible to do that. Working with third-party vendors is a necessity in keeping up with the pace of the market, even though it potentially exposes your business to security risks. For your business continuity, you must understand the risks you’re putting forth in your business when you choose to work with third-party vendors. Once you understand the risks, you can make informed decisions about how you’re going to move forward with your vendors, what information you would like to expose to your vendors, and what you would prefer to keep within internal personnel at your company.

Vendor Risk Management typically falls into four categories: vendors, due diligence, contracts, and vendor selection. When you’re running a business, it can be hard to go through all the steps necessary to vet your vendors, and that’s where Foresite can step in to help. We’ll help you make sure you’re getting the most out of the resources your third-party vendors have available. We’ve been industry leaders in keeping businesses safe for years, and we’re here to help you make sure you and your vendors are doing everything you need to do to stay in compliance with state and federal regulations.

Let’s take a look at each of the most important aspects of Vendor Risk Management.

1. Vendors

Of course, it’s essential to work with vendors you know you can trust. If you’re new to the industry, or you’re working with a vendor that is new to the industry, it can be hard to know who is running a legitimate, compliant business, and who is not. That’s where our expertise can help. We’ll vet your vendors for you, digging into their past information and making sure they will help (not harm) your business. If you have questions about your vendors, or just have a feeling that something isn’t quite right, we’ll dive in and provide you with peace of mind knowing you’re making good vendor decisions.

At Foresite, we’ll run a Risk Assessment to let you know how safe each of the vendors you’ve chosen is to work with. We’ll provide you with information that lets you decide whether you want to continue working with your vendors.

2. Due Diligence

When you work with a third-party vendor, it’s hard to know for sure whether they’re doing what they need to do to keep your business in compliance with state and federal regulations. At Foresite, we’ll work to complete a NIST 800 assessment. The NIST 800 is a set of federal guidelines that ensures that companies keep data and other information private and safe. We’ll assess your third-party vendor to make sure they’re staying within regulatory compliance, to keep you and your customers’ information protected. While you want to promise your clients the highest level of security, it’s impossible to stay on top of ensuring that your vendors are in compliance with federal guidelines while also moving your business forward. At Foresite, we can take the process of due diligence off your hands so you can rest easy knowing that all of your third-party vendors are in compliance.

3. Contracts

You must have detailed contracts in place with your third-party vendors, outlining the expectations and regulations they’re expected to follow. If you’re not an expert in your third-party’s field, it can be hard to word the contract in a way that ensures the vendor will stay in line with your expectations. At Foresite, we can take this off your hands. One of the most important parts of the contract process is to be sure a contractual relationship is established from day one. It can be tempting to work with small third-party vendors and/ or freelancers on a one-off basis. Even if you’re not sure whether you’ll work with a vendor long-term, it’s vital that you have a legally binding contract in place to protect you and your clients. When a contract is not in place from the start, you’re leaving your business vulnerable. Not only are security breaches more likely, but if you find that your business information has been mishandled by the third-party vendor, you have little recourse if a contract wasn’t in place. We’re here to help you stay safe, both legally and informationally, from day one of your relationship with your vendor.

4. Vendor Selection

In today’s world of tech start-ups, new companies are constantly on the rise. It can be hard to know whether the third-party vendors you’re considering doing business with are legit. At Foresite, we’ll vet your potential vendors for you. We’re experts at understanding whether a business is professional, effective, and acting within compliance guidelines. We’ll advise you on which vendors make the most sense for you. If you’re having trouble finding suitable vendors, we’re happy to provide recommendations based on who has worked well with similar clients in the past.

Tristin Zeman
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Tristin Zeman is the Digital Marketing Manager at Foresite. For the past 10 years, she has helped organizations of all sizes create and scale marketing programs through digital and traditional marketing channels and efficient marketing operations.

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