Third-Party Risk Management Solutions for Software Supply Chains

Blog post Zachary Jarvinen 2021-03-15

Cybersecurity Risk

How do you screen a third-party software supply chain before entering into a partnership? Use cybersecurity best practices to protect your business from software supply chain risks.

Software solutions come with many benefits for businesses. They boost employee productivity and efficiency, besides improving the company’s bottom line. Software and digital solutions streamline business processes and workflows, automate specific business functions, and make it easier for your staff to manage day-to-day activities.

While your software vendors help make your business more profitable, they can expose your organization to cybersecurity threats.

Your Software Vendors Can Expose You to Cybersecurity Risks

Choosing and onboarding new software supply chain members may seem easier today, but do you know that not all software vendors are fully secure? Cybercriminals can use the vulnerabilities and loopholes in your software supply chain and even in your vendors’ products to access your data, systems, and networks?

A 2018 study by the Ponemon Institute revealed that 59% of organizations experienced supply chain data breaches. The most prominent of these was a breach of Target’s digital supply chain in 2014 that left the data of more than 70 million customers exposed. The incident happened when hackers gained access to Target’s HVAC supplier Fazio Mechanical Services (FMS). After gaining access to FMS, the criminals targeted Target’s network through the digital supply chain.

The sweeping software supply chain attack known to date happened in December 2020 when Russian state-sponsored cyber criminals attacked SolarWinds. The malicious actors trojanized software updates to Orion, an IT monitoring and management application from SolarWinds. In a matter of days, dozens of companies and government agencies, including Microsoft, reported that they were affected by the attack.

While software supply chain may sound a good term to describe your third-party digital vendors, it is a significant cybersecurity phrase. You’re only as secure as the most vulnerable link in your digital supply chain. As such, it is crucial for businesses and other organizations to choose their software vendors exceptionally carefully. This is where third-party risk management solutions have got your back!

Prioritizing Supply Chain Risks

It is crucial for companies to follow the advice of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on digital supply chain risk management. The institute emphasizes organizations to identify, assess, and mitigate risks related to the scattered and interconnected nature of software and digital products supply chains. Vulnerabilities in the complete lifecycle of software, from design to development and deployment to maintenance, can expose your business to cyber threats at any stage.

The surprising part is that even though most companies say that they’re aware of the threats, a major of them acknowledge that supply chain security is not among their priorities. Also, according to a report by Gartner, while supply chain leaders keep cybersecurity threats on their priority list, only 10 percent of them think that their functions have a strategic link with information technology.

It is high time for organizations to prioritize supply chain risk management and choose their third-party software vendors judiciously.

Read on to learn how a reliable third-party risk management solution can help you select your software vendors and mitigate the threats.

Choosing a Solution to Manage Software Supply Chain Risks

A robust and versatile third-party risk management solution will allow you to collect your software supply chain data and automate the evaluation process. It will give you complete control over the supply chain risk management operations.

Here’re the key features to look for in a supply chain risk management platform for your software vendors:

One-Window, Centralized Supply Chain Inventory

A reliable third-party risk management software will allow you to manage all of your software supply chain members’ information in a single place. For example, you can quickly access your vendor documents, policies, and risk profiles in a dedicated cloud-based directory.

In addition, it will categorize the risk into different threat levels, from critical to less severe risks. You’ll be able to view and manage the risks, information, and other elements for each supply chain member at the product and service engagement levels.

Choose and Onboard Secure Vendors

A good risk management solution will organize the pre-boarding risk assessment for new vendors by transmitting vendor analysis questionnaires to the responsible staff. Your team members can then group the potential vendors into multiple risk levels to perform a detailed assessment of their due diligence, control protocols, and cyber defenses.

Risk, Audit, and Monitoring Automation

Manual risk assessment, audit, and monitoring are overwhelming, draining, and ineffective. Your organization needs a platform that allows you to automate these tasks. Make sure to pick a third-party risk management solution that automates critical activities with unified industry standard templates, such as AITEC and SIG. Or you could choose software that allows you to upload your own risk assessment, audit, and monitoring templates to the system.

You can use pre-filled templates and surveys with answers from your vendors to monitor the changing factors. A dependable software will also let you monitor vendor assessment progress, besides managing the deadline and review statuses.

A Solid Response Application for Vendors

Your vendors should be able to access your risk management platform. By collaborating with your supply chain members and vendors, you can monitor their progress and enhance the reporting process. It will eliminate incongruent monitoring processes, bringing every stakeholder on the same page.

Effective Third-Party Response Assessment

Using the supply chain risk management platform, you can assess your vendors’ responses using various criteria. It is a good idea to pick software that allows you to use auto-scoring to allocate modules or questions to multiple experts for assessment.

More Features

In addition to the above-explained features, a solid and reliable third-party vendor management tool will let you:

  • Identify, manage, and track problems and risks until resolution
  • Develop and execute action plans
  • Get actionable risk insights and monitor supply chain risk trends with analytics
  • Perform cross-vendor comparisons
  • Run deep searches to quickly locate relevant information and documents

Why Choose Vendor360 for Software Supply Chain Risk Management

CENTRL’s Vendor360 provides you with a robust and centralized platform to manage the risks emanating from all of your supply chain members, including software vendors. This product not only makes the vendor selection and onboarding process a breeze but also fully secure.

Automate your software supply chain risk assessment, audit, and monitoring with Vendor360. Act now to streamline your vendor response assessment process.

Learn more about Vendor360. Or REQUEST A LIVE DEMO.

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