How to Conduct a Successful Vendor Risk Assessment

Vendor Risk Management (VRM) is a process that deals with the continued management and assurance that the party vendors and services your company is using do not result in a negative impact on the business’s performance or any type of disruption to the current business workflow.  This process is meant to assist in managing and monitoring for potential risks.  Part of the vendor risk management system is the vendor risk assessments.  Work together with your vendor risk managers will help create a complete vendor assessment and remediation lifecycle workflow.

Some tips for creating a successful risk assessment for vendor management are:

  • Know who your vendor risk managers are and make sure the vendor risk managers continuously make on-going updates to the vendor information over the lifetime of your relationship with them. This will also help make sure that your due diligence document requirements are known and monitored.
  • Make sure you have all vendor contact information including email addresses and locations. This is an important piece of information in your risk assessment process.
  • Create risk assessment templates, questionnaires and document request templates based off of your company policies.
  • Once assessments are completed, they should be recorded and made available to the risk analyst for review.
  • Pay attention to industry standards such as the International Standards Organization (ISO) which offers guidance for creating ideal business practices and regulatory compliance.
  • This will also provide an opportune time to get a list of all vendors from the Accounts Payable department to make sure a vendor is not missed or you are not looking into someone who is no longer providing services for your company.

Find a system that has automated tools and features to allow organizations to spend less time monitoring vendors and more time analyzing the risk impact.  Intuitive reporting and visualizations will help communicate relevant data in a concise manner that enhances the decision-making process for organizational leaders.  Using automated workflows increases productivity and frees up staff time, strengthens your vendor risk management program, enables easy collaboration and reduces employee workloads for assessing risk and managing due diligence. Various easy to read dashboards and reporting also simplify oversight, freeing up management and executive time.

Vendor Risk Assessments

A vendor risk assessment or a risk review will help you evaluate the potential risks that could arise from using a product or service from a specific company.  Vendor risk assessments give a company the ability to sort their vendors into groups based on the types of services they provide (e.g. processors, marketing, maintenance, cloud storage, etc.).  Through creating a risk assessment process and evaluating risk and compliance management, each vendor is given a rating and a full assessment template has now been created for them for future assessments and compliance controls.  This creates a great foundation for all future relationships and automation into risk management solutions, ongoing risk monitoring and security controls.

Questions to consider when creating your initial vendor risk assessment process:

  • Who are the vendors that are the most critical to your business and business operations?
    • This provides a chance to determine what the due diligence requirements might be and who should be categorized as critical vs. high risk.
  • What are the requirements for Regulatory Compliance?
  • How are you currently monitoring financial news, data security breaches, SEC Filings, etc.?
  • What types of information are your vendors required to gather, convey and store on their own?
  • Will any of the vendors have access to your servers, systems, networks and records?
    • If so, what level of access will they have to your records and data?
  • Are you currently tracking all of your contracts that auto-renew?

Third Party Risk Management

Reviewing party risk management and compliance management allows you to review both inherent risk and residual risk.  Inherent vendor risk is the first impression of risk that a new or potential vendor poses.  This allows for a more in-depth assessment of their compliance management policies and procedures they have in place to mitigate and manage potential risk concerns.  It also provides a chance to reach out and see if they are being proactive and implementing stricter security procedures to reduce risk.  Residual vendor risk is the amount of risk that may remain after the inherent risk has been identified and steps have been taken to reduce the risk.

Risk management allows the design of new business processes with adequate built in risk control and containment measures for any perceived security risk or financial risk factor.  Risk Management is constantly evolving, so policies and procedures should be ever changing to allow for the increase in complexity and to continue to challenge businesses to develop strong, fully comprehensive risk management solutions.

Learn More

VendorInsight® is the comprehensive resource for improving your vendor management program.  With its monitoring and evaluation features, outsourced vendor risk management solution in VRM Pro ™, and industry-leading automation of processes, policies and workflows, VendorInsight® provides the tools to face any risk management hurdle.  Request a demo today to learn more about how VendorInsight®’s vendor risk management solution can help you manage your third-party vendor relationships, maintain compliance with regulations and meet your business objective.

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