Understand the role fourth-party vendors play in your risk profile

Don’t let attackers in through your fourth-party vendors

Your third-party vendors have their own third-party vendors. Those are your fourth-party vendors, and understanding what roles they play in providing service to your organization is a growing concern.  Even though they don’t have a direct contract with your organization, that doesn’t mean they should be seen as less of a potential risk. Just like with third-party vendors, if an attacker gains access to a fourth-party’s data, they may simultaneously have access to your sensitive data.

Risk Management Framework (RMF) for vendors

It’s hard enough to keep track of your third-party risk management — organizations can have hundreds, even thousands, of vendors. How can you possibly track and manage all your fourth-party vendors when the number of fourth-party vendors seems to multiply exponentially? All the while, there is an increase in data breaches, but it’s not just attacks you have to worry about. A huge part of your Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM) in NIST’s Risk Management Framework (RMF) includes the availability of your data within third and fourth-party vendors. What happens if your vendor goes offline or out of business? Would your organization be able to function at the same caliber? Guidance from the RMF outlines how to develop the appropriate SCRM plans so you can properly identify and mitigate risks. As organizations grow more dependent on external providers, it’s more important than ever to add RMF to your fourth-party party to your vendor management.  We’ll be talking more about these 4th party dependencies and areas of concentrated risk in an upcoming post.

Fourth-party risk management vendor structure

Fourth-Party Risk Management

The best way to keep up with third-party and fourth-party risk management is to get help. You need a trusted partner that understands your business and has significant experience building scalable vendor risk management programs. MindPoint Group’s approach ensures that your vendors and their partners treat your data at safely as you do. if there is a risk to your organization as a result of a fourth-party vendor, we will find it. We understand that vendors and compliance are equally critical to your business, no assessment or risk management program is going to be the same. We’re able to help you prioritize your most critical vendors and make recommendations that help your overall security posture for long-term risk reduction.

Fourth-Party Risk Management for Financial Services

As a financial services organization, you have your own compliance requirements for how to manage fourth-party vendor risk.  However, a study from PWC on Vendor Risk Management for FSI showed that 45% of participants rely on their third-party vendors for their fourth-party risk. Even scarier, many organizations they studied did not monitor their fourth-party vendor risk at all. Because FSI organizations are often attractive targets for attackers, you need a partner who can help reduce your vendor risk, while helping you prepare for audits. We can tailor our questionnaires to meet your audit requirements while ensuring we identify all risks that may not have been recognized by existing assessment frameworks.

Learn more about our solution for FSI >

Additional resources:

6 Ways to Get Started with your Fourth-Party Vendor Program  >

Third-Party Risk Management Overview >