A black and white drawing of a rock formation.

The vendors you work with keep your business running and add value to your operations. However, each new vendor presents potential risks to your business and creates an additional access point to your systems that could be exploited. Vendor risk management (VRM) is the process of monitoring, tracking, and minimizing the risks that come with working with external vendors.  

As your organization grows, it becomes more difficult to manage your vendor risk manually. Automation can help you scale your vendor risk management, protect your organization from third-party risks, and make more efficient use of the team’s time and resources. Let’s explore how you can automate your vendor risk management.

3 reasons why you should automate vendor risk management

Here are some of the most important reasons and benefits to automating your vendor risk management process: 

  1. Your tech stack is growing every day: New tools and software are constantly being brought into your tech stack. According to the Zylo 2023 SaaS Management Index Report, the average organization uses nearly 300 SaaS applications
  2. Shadow IT makes it hard to manage risk: Some tools may have been brought into your organization without following the procurement process which is outside of the security team’s visibility. This means vendors have been brought on without undergoing a proper risk assessment or ongoing monitoring.
  3. Manual vendor management is inefficient: Using spreadsheets and other manual processes to manage your vendor risks is time consuming and an inefficient use of your resources. 

VRM automation software makes managing your vendor risk easy. It enables you to easily scale your onboarding and assessment of new vendors, discover tools that may have connected to your systems outside of normal processes, and makes it easy to monitor and manage all your third-party risks in one place. 

Automated VRM solutions use real-time monitoring to identify vendors, automate and streamline vendor reviews, assign and track risks for each vendor, and facilitate risk mitigation with smooth workflows so you can minimize your vendor risks reliably.

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What VRM processes can be automated?

VRM software can automate much of the processes associated with managing vendor risk, such as:

  • Detecting vendors connected to your infrastructure — which is particularly valuable to discovery tools that haven’t gone through the procurement process.
  • Conducting risk assessments for new vendors during the onboarding process.
  • Identifying vendor risks and assigning risk scores.
  • Analyzing security documentation to find exactly what you need. 
  • Tracking the status of each vendor during a review cycle. 

The right vendor risk management software can also streamline aspects of the process that can’t be fully automated. A VRM solution could make these processes more efficient: 

  • Creating a vendor review questionnaire that suits your compliance needs and risk appetite.
  • Streamlining vendor review workflows, such as requesting documentation from vendors and sending them risk questionnaires.
  • Improving alignment and collaboration across teams.

Best practices for automating vendor risk management

Automating your vendor risk management processes can bolster your GRC program, which can help you minimize risks and use your team’s resources more efficiently. Follow these best practices to get the most out of your automated VRM to enhance your overall GRC framework:

  • Pick the right VRM automation tool: Your automation platform is the foundation of your VRM program. Understand what your organization needs and ensure that you’re selecting the right one for your business. 
  • Set up continuous monitoring: Ensure you’re able to leverage the continuous monitoring capabilities of any tool you choose. This looks like a tool with alert capabilities that inform you when there are new vendors connected to your infrastructure, changes to vendor risks, and other important risk updates for your organization to keep an eye on. 
  • Integrate VRM automation into existing workflows: Connect your VRM platform to the tools and workflows your teams are already using for maximum efficiency. 
  • Centralize your evidence at all times: Compile your security and compliance documentation in one place. This ensures that you’re always ready for an audit and makes it easier to update documents as your policies change. 
  • Consider future needs: As you create a plan for automating your VRM program, make it scalable by choosing an automation tool that can adjust and grow with your business.

Choosing the right automated VRM platform

It’s important to choose the right automated VRM platform to streamline your vendor risk component of your GRC program. The tool you choose should make managing your program easier and more sustainable as your business grows. 

With Vanta’s Vendor Risk Management solution you can: 

  • Discover and onboard vendors automatically
  • Streamline inherent risk assessment
  • Source vendor security information without the pain

Unlike traditional GRC tools, Vanta takes it a step further with automated evidence collection and alerts, AI-powered risk questionnaires, and simplified audit preparation. Take a tour of Vanta’s VRM solution.

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Risk

How to automate vendor risk management

A black and white drawing of a rock formation.

The vendors you work with keep your business running and add value to your operations. However, each new vendor presents potential risks to your business and creates an additional access point to your systems that could be exploited. Vendor risk management (VRM) is the process of monitoring, tracking, and minimizing the risks that come with working with external vendors.  

As your organization grows, it becomes more difficult to manage your vendor risk manually. Automation can help you scale your vendor risk management, protect your organization from third-party risks, and make more efficient use of the team’s time and resources. Let’s explore how you can automate your vendor risk management.

3 reasons why you should automate vendor risk management

Here are some of the most important reasons and benefits to automating your vendor risk management process: 

  1. Your tech stack is growing every day: New tools and software are constantly being brought into your tech stack. According to the Zylo 2023 SaaS Management Index Report, the average organization uses nearly 300 SaaS applications
  2. Shadow IT makes it hard to manage risk: Some tools may have been brought into your organization without following the procurement process which is outside of the security team’s visibility. This means vendors have been brought on without undergoing a proper risk assessment or ongoing monitoring.
  3. Manual vendor management is inefficient: Using spreadsheets and other manual processes to manage your vendor risks is time consuming and an inefficient use of your resources. 

VRM automation software makes managing your vendor risk easy. It enables you to easily scale your onboarding and assessment of new vendors, discover tools that may have connected to your systems outside of normal processes, and makes it easy to monitor and manage all your third-party risks in one place. 

Automated VRM solutions use real-time monitoring to identify vendors, automate and streamline vendor reviews, assign and track risks for each vendor, and facilitate risk mitigation with smooth workflows so you can minimize your vendor risks reliably.

{{cta_withimage5="/cta-modules"}}

What VRM processes can be automated?

VRM software can automate much of the processes associated with managing vendor risk, such as:

  • Detecting vendors connected to your infrastructure — which is particularly valuable to discovery tools that haven’t gone through the procurement process.
  • Conducting risk assessments for new vendors during the onboarding process.
  • Identifying vendor risks and assigning risk scores.
  • Analyzing security documentation to find exactly what you need. 
  • Tracking the status of each vendor during a review cycle. 

The right vendor risk management software can also streamline aspects of the process that can’t be fully automated. A VRM solution could make these processes more efficient: 

  • Creating a vendor review questionnaire that suits your compliance needs and risk appetite.
  • Streamlining vendor review workflows, such as requesting documentation from vendors and sending them risk questionnaires.
  • Improving alignment and collaboration across teams.

Best practices for automating vendor risk management

Automating your vendor risk management processes can bolster your GRC program, which can help you minimize risks and use your team’s resources more efficiently. Follow these best practices to get the most out of your automated VRM to enhance your overall GRC framework:

  • Pick the right VRM automation tool: Your automation platform is the foundation of your VRM program. Understand what your organization needs and ensure that you’re selecting the right one for your business. 
  • Set up continuous monitoring: Ensure you’re able to leverage the continuous monitoring capabilities of any tool you choose. This looks like a tool with alert capabilities that inform you when there are new vendors connected to your infrastructure, changes to vendor risks, and other important risk updates for your organization to keep an eye on. 
  • Integrate VRM automation into existing workflows: Connect your VRM platform to the tools and workflows your teams are already using for maximum efficiency. 
  • Centralize your evidence at all times: Compile your security and compliance documentation in one place. This ensures that you’re always ready for an audit and makes it easier to update documents as your policies change. 
  • Consider future needs: As you create a plan for automating your VRM program, make it scalable by choosing an automation tool that can adjust and grow with your business.

Choosing the right automated VRM platform

It’s important to choose the right automated VRM platform to streamline your vendor risk component of your GRC program. The tool you choose should make managing your program easier and more sustainable as your business grows. 

With Vanta’s Vendor Risk Management solution you can: 

  • Discover and onboard vendors automatically
  • Streamline inherent risk assessment
  • Source vendor security information without the pain

Unlike traditional GRC tools, Vanta takes it a step further with automated evidence collection and alerts, AI-powered risk questionnaires, and simplified audit preparation. Take a tour of Vanta’s VRM solution.

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Proactively manage vendor risk, easily

Get best practices from security leaders on how to manage third-party risk while reducing inefficiencies.

See how VRM automation works

Request a demo to see how Vanta can automate up to 90% of your VRM processes.

Proactively manage vendor risk, easily

Get best practices from security leaders on how to manage third-party risk while reducing inefficiencies.

See how VRM automation works

Request a demo to see how Vanta can automate up to 90% of your VRM processes.

Proactively manage vendor risk, easily

Get best practices from security leaders on how to manage third-party risk while reducing inefficiencies.

See how VRM automation works

Request a demo to see how Vanta can automate up to 90% of your VRM processes.

Role:GRC responsibilities:
Board of directors
Central to the overarching GRC strategy, this group sets the direction for the compliance strategy. They determine which standards and regulations are necessary for compliance and align the GRC strategy with business objectives.
Chief financial officerPrimary responsibility for the success of the GRC program and for reporting results to the board.
Operations managers from relevant departmentsThis group owns processes. They are responsible for the success and direction of risk management and compliance within their departments.
Representatives from relevant departments
These are the activity owners. These team members are responsible for carrying out specific compliance and risk management tasks within their departments and for integrating these tasks into their workflows.
Contract managers from relevant department
These team members are responsible for managing interactions with vendors and other third parties in their department to ensure all risk management and compliance measures are being taken.
Chief information security officer (CISO)Defines the organization’s information security policy, designs risk and vulnerability assessments, and develops information security policies.
Data protection officer (DPO) or legal counselDevelops goals for data privacy based on legal regulations and other compliance needs, designs and implements privacy policies and practices, and assesses these practices for effectiveness.
GRC leadResponsible for overseeing the execution of the GRC program in collaboration with the executive team as well as maintaining the organization’s library of security controls.
Cybersecurity analyst(s)Implements and monitors cybersecurity measures that are in line with the GRC program and business objectives.
Compliance analyst(s)Monitors the organization’s compliance with all regulations and standards necessary, identifies any compliance gaps, and works to mitigate them.
Risk analyst(s)Carries out the risk management program for the organization and serves as a resource for risk management across various departments, including identifying, mitigating, and monitoring risks.
IT security specialist(s)Implements security controls within the IT system in coordination with the cybersecurity analyst(s).

See how VRM automation works

Let's walk through an interactive tour of Vanta's Vendor Risk Management solution.

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