Remediation Over Ratings - Achieving Third-Party Cyber Risk Reduction

June 10, 2024 | 3 min read

George Aquila

Product Marketing Manager

George aquila

The most effective Third-Party Cyber Risk Management programs prioritize risk remediation as highly as risk identification. While Security Ratings Service (SRS) have long focused on risk identification, the burden of curation and remediation has traditionally fallen on the customer. 

Let's look at how best-in-class security programs achieve measurable cyber risk reduction through effective guided remediation. 

Key Ingredients of Good Remediation 

Accuracy is Paramount

Effective remediation requires precise, validated data to ensure that both risks and the "footprint," or attack surface, of a company are accurately identified and evaluated. This ensures that nothing is overlooked and that identified risks are real threats. 

SRS typically rely on uncurated data sources. Without human analysts to validate risk findings and company footprints, these services often generate many false positives. This leads to information overload as client organizations spend valuable time sifting through inaccurate data. 

Organizations often receive a low security rating due to perceived vulnerabilities that, upon investigation, are found to not even be within their attack surface. This diverts attention from real threats and strains relationships with third-party vendors, who may be unfairly flagged. 

Context Matters 

Understanding the context of a vulnerability is also crucial for effective remediation. A vulnerability that poses a significant risk in one environment may be less critical in another, which is why every organization has its own unique risk tolerance based on business needs. 

SRS apply a generic assessment model across all vendors. This one-size-fits-all approach fails to account for the specific business processes and critical importance of certain vendors within a supply chain. A financial institution, for example, has vastly different third-party priority needs compared to a healthcare provider.  

Effective risk reduction requires tailored assessments that consider the unique context and criticality of each vendor within the supply chain. 

Guided Mitigation 

The most significant drawback of SRS solutions is the lack of actionable guidance they provide for mitigation once a risk is identified. SRS load customers with risk findings but leave the task of acting on that information to the customer. This includes validating escalated risks, prioritizing findings, and developing action plans — while also ensuring effective communication and collaboration with third parties. 

This adds to the customer's workload and creates friction with third-party vendors, especially when false positives are involved. The strain on business relationships can be particularly intense if a risk turns out to be unfounded. 

Consider an organization that identifies a vulnerability in a third-party vendor's system based on a risk ratings report. The organization then reaches out to the vendor to inform them of the noted risk but does not provide the information or guidance needed to properly address and patch the risk. Not all vendors will act to mitigate a risk, even one as simple as an open port, unless they receive specific instructions on how to address and resolve the issue. 

Modern TPRM Solution Focus on Remediation 

To move beyond the limitations of traditional security ratings services, businesses need robust TPRM programs, which can be supported by modern solution that emphasizes data validity, offers active remediation assistance, and measurably reduces risk across the entire third-party ecosystem.  

Active Remediation and Risk Management 

Leading solutions like BlueVoyant’s Supply Chain Defense actively assist in guided remediation by communicating directly with vendors, ensuring that vulnerabilities are promptly addressed, reducing the window of exposure to potential threats. By providing clear, actionable guidance, BlueVoyant helps organizations prioritize and address vulnerabilities effectively, ensuring that resources are focused on genuine risks.  

Accurate Monitoring and Real-Time Updates 

BlueVoyant also offers continuous monitoring and real-time updates, ensuring that zero-day vulnerabilities and emerging threats are quickly identified and mitigated. This proactive approach significantly reduces the lag time associated with traditional SRS, providing a more robust defense against evolving cyber threats and driving real measurable risk reduction and minimizing the risk of exploitation. 

Tailored Risk Thresholds 

Good remediation needs good prioritization, which should consider each organization's unique needs and risk tolerances. Supply Chain Defense offers the ability to create tailored risk thresholds that consider the specific business processes and critical importance of each vendor within the supply chain. By considering the context and criticality of each vendor, BlueVoyant provides more actionable insights that translates to more time saved for security teams. 

The Takeaway

The cyber TPRM solutions landscape is shifting to focus on remediation and actual risk reduction, moving beyond mere risk identification and ratings. By focusing on actionable insights and tailored remediation efforts, modern solutions make it easier for organizations to measurably reduce their supply chain risks and secure their partner ecosystems. 

To learn more about how BlueVoyant’s Supply Chain Defense solution can comprehensively secure your third-party ecosystem check out the video below: