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Best Third-Party Risk Management Platform Features

13 min read
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Third-party risk management (TPRM) involves a wide range of activities, tasks, and stakeholders to identify, assess, mitigate, and monitor the risks associated with third-party relationships. This includes conducting risk assessments, due diligence, reviewing third-party documentation, contract reviews, monitoring, and periodically re-evaluating the relationship. Many organizations have turned to third-party risk management software platforms to help organize and streamline the workload. While these platforms can offer invaluable resources and features, selecting the right one for your organization can be challenging.

This blog will cover key items to look for in a third-party risk management platform, tips to select the right one, and how Venminder’s third-party risk management platform can benefit your organization. 

What to Look for in a Third-Party Risk Management Platform

As you’re searching for the right third-party risk management platform, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. Maybe your organization is overwhelmed with third-party risk management tasks and needs a lot of automation options to lighten the workload, or maybe your organization lacks subject matter expertise and needs qualified professionals to review third-party documentation

Whatever you’re searching for, here are some key factors to consider when looking for a third-party risk management platform and providers:

  • Expertise – As third-party risks continue to evolve and emerge, it’s important to have a third-party risk management platform that can provide expert guidance for your program. This involves having certified industry professionals who can help evaluate third-party risks, enhance your program, and provide qualified reviews of third-party documentation.
  • Partnership – Beyond the actual software platform, it’s important to ensure the provider will partner with your organization, scale solutions to meet your program needs, and help your organization continually improve. True partnership doesn’t end with the installation of the software but continues throughout the relationship.
  • Technical offerings – The right third-party risk management platform will offer the functionality and features you need and be able to perform according to your organization’s expectations. Ask about configuration and other important data, such as uptime, error rates, resource utilization, and reliability.
  • Integration capabilities – A top-notch third-party risk management platform should seamlessly integrate with other related systems, such as procurement, contract lifecycle management (CLM), or even accounts payable. Be cautious of platforms that use TPRM as an entry point, but actually aim to replace your existing systems with their own products over time. Platforms that can integrate with your existing systems reduce concentration risk and give your organization more flexibility. Integrated platforms also help your organization streamline workflow and enhance data consistency across platforms.
  • Configurable vs customizable – When choosing a platform, many providers claim to offer solutions "tailored to your needs." However, it's crucial to understand the distinction between configurable and customizable solutions.
    • A configurable solution allows users to easily modify system settings, parameters, and options using built-in tools, without needing to alter the core system. This approach means adjusting the platform to meet your specific needs will require less time, effort, and cost in the long run. 
    • A customizable platform necessitates the involvement of a software engineer to write new code for the desired changes. While customization can be advantageous for meeting unique or precise requirements, it often comes at a higher cost than configurable options. Moreover, custom coding may break or fail during software updates, posing potential risks.
  • Scalable – While many TPRM platforms offer a broad range functionality or features, you may not want or need them all now. A good platform will be able to offer functionality that compliments your program’s maturity and provides options to add more when you’re ready. That way, you aren’t paying for features you don’t need or won’t use.
  • Automation options – Many organizations look to third-party risk management platforms to help save time and effort on time-consuming, manual tasks. Platforms that offer automation options make it possible for TPRM professionals to spend their time focusing on more important tasks and less time updating manual spreadsheets or sending emails. A third-party risk management platform should offer automation that is easy to set up, configurable, and streamlines activities, tasks and assignments. 
  • Supports the entire lifecycle – Third-party risks need to be managed from the very beginning of the relationship to when it eventually ends. It’s important to look for a platform that helps your organization manage the entire third-party lifecycle and all the relevant risk domains. This includes offerings such as inherent risk assessments, initial due diligence, contract management, vendor risk assessments and questionnaires, re-assessments and periodic due diligence, ongoing monitoring capabilities, and contract termination. 

How to Select the Right Third-Party Risk Management Platform

You may find that several providers have platforms that offer all of the above, but, with so many options, it may be challenging for your organization to narrow down the list of serious contenders.

As you evaluate third-party risk management platforms, here are 5 questions to ask:

  1. Have you evaluated your needs? It may be difficult to select the right third-party risk management platform if you aren’t sure what your organization needs from it. Consider your organization’s goals, objectives, and needs in your TPRM program and how a platform will help you accomplish those. It’s important to be able to clearly communicate with the provider what you’re looking for, so they can show you how they’ll be able to meet your needs.
  2. Have you demoed the platform? Participating in a platform demo is a crucial step in understanding how a TPRM platform works and how it can suit your needs. Ensure you can ask questions and have them demonstrate the functionality. Consider if the provider takes the time to understand your needs and customizes the demo to fit your organization’s TPRM program maturity. 
  3. Is the third-party risk management platform recognized and well-reviewed? TPRM software is a rapidly growing industry, with new entrants joining the market every day. However, not all platforms are worth your investment. Considering the effort and expense your organization will put into a TPRM system, it makes sense to ensure you’re dealing with a reputable provider with a time-tested platform. 

    Take time to assess if the platform is reputable and well-regarded in the industry by reading peer reviews, consulting with other professionals in your industry, and visiting global research firm sites, such as Gartner, G2, or Forrester. 
  4. Does the provider offer any additional resources or education? Every provider should offer platform software training, but that’s just the bare minimum. An exceptional provider understands that TPRM is a complex, ever-changing process and TPRM professionals require continuing education and training to remain effective. Make sure to ask if the provider offers free educational resources and request to see their educational materials, such as webinars, blogs, eBooks, and templates, to see how they can support your TPRM team and program.
  5. Does the third-party risk management provider answer your questions? It’s important to find a provider with employees who are genuinely interested in helping to solve issues and improve your program, not just during the sales process but throughout the entire relationship. You want a team that isn’t only responsive and helpful when addressing your questions and concerns, but also goes the extra mile to provide high-quality, informative responses. After all, you’re seeking a true partner that’s willing to work with your organization and contribute to its success. 

How Venminder’s Third-Party Risk Management Platform Benefits Your Organization

best third-party risk management platform features

After considering the information above, your organization can confidently narrow down its choices. Venminder's platform not only meets the essential criteria mentioned, but it also offers numerous benefits that make it deserving of a spot on your list of contenders:

  • Customizable to scale with your program – Venminder’s platform is designed to grow and adapt alongside your organization. Whether your program is in its early stages or seeking enhancements, Venminder is highly configurable to meet your specific needs and provide the necessary functionality as your requirements evolve. As an organization's program expands, typically so does the number of third parties that require management. Venminder offers the added benefit of having no limitations on the number of users, vendors, contracts in the software, questionnaires, or risk assessments, which is incredibly rare.
  • Manages the entire third-party lifecycle – Venminder’s third-party risk management platform guides your organization through vendor onboarding, ongoing monitoring, and vendor offboarding. Here’s a quick overview of the lifecycle offerings:
    • Onboarding – As your organization chooses the right vendor, you can compare vendors side-by-side in the Venminder platform. The platform also offers a place to centralize new vendor requests and approvals and perform initial risk and criticality assessments. It also offers a place to collect and review due diligence documents and perform vendor risk and controls assessments. Once the contract is signed, you can store it on Venminder’s platform.
    • Ongoing – Venminder partners with other industry leaders to provide powerful risk intelligence to continuously monitor vendors. This covers common risk domains, such as privacy, cybersecurity, and business health and credit risk. As your program also needs to monitor a vendor’s performance, Venminder’s platform allows for customizable reports and pre-built dashboards. This allows your organization to make informed decisions on vendors and easily communicate with key stakeholders. With automated reports, you can even schedule emailed reports on an ongoing basis to monitor the latest information.
    • Offboarding – When third-party relationships end, it’s important to be able to exit safely and soundly. Automated workflows, tracking, and dedicated tasks in Venminder’s platform allow your organization to monitor the process and ensure both parties follow the exit strategy. Offboarding products are located in a separate environment, so they aren’t confused with ongoing products.
  • Designed with compliance in mind – Regulators around the world are increasingly emphasizing the importance of managing third-party and vendor relationships. A third-party risk management platform should assist your organization in maintaining compliance. Venminder’s platform is specifically designed with compliance in mind and can help you adhere to the strictest industry regulations and standards, such as the Interagency Guidance on Third-Party Relationships, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Heath Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), or ISO/IEC 27001.
  • Eliminates time-consuming manual processes – Venminder simplifies essential processes and activities throughout the TPRM lifecycle. It includes inherent risk assessments, scoping due diligence, requesting and receiving due diligence documentation and vendor risk questionnaires, contract management, and risk and performance monitoring. Everything you need to identify, assess, manage, and monitor third-party risk is built into the system, supported by user-friendly workflows and robust reporting and stored within a cloud-based system. This means you'll never need to track or manage TPRM activities through spreadsheets or emails again.

Features of Venminder’s Third-Party Risk Management Platform

At Venminder, our mission is clear: we're here to help organizations identify, assess, manage, and monitor third-party risks effectively and efficiently. Our user-friendly third-party risk management platform provides a centralized hub for effective TPRM. We're not just a service provider; we're your dedicated partner on the journey to managing third-party risks. 

While it's impossible to cover all our features in a single blog, here's a glimpse of some key features that make Venminder's platform stand out:

  • Subject matter experts – Supplement any knowledge gaps with Venminder’s qualified experts across various risk domains, such as finance, cybersecurity, business continuity, etc. 
  • Risk assessments – Create custom risk assessments, invite unlimited internal users to contribute, apply customized scoring preferences, and create clear risk rating reports. 
  • Questionnaires – Complete the entire questionnaire process in Venminder by building, sending, managing, and reviewing vendor questionnaires. This includes storing templates and automating the distribution process. Venminder offers a library of pre-populated templates, including SIG, AI, and OSFI questionnaire templates. You can customize these templates to suit your specific needs and create (or edit) multiple questionnaires for all your future use cases.
  • Oversight management – Create and assign key third-party risk management tasks so each stakeholder understands what’s required of them. This makes it simple to track the process for each task. 
  • Issue management – View the frequency, severity, and status of each vendor issue, so you can quickly take action when needed and report easily on each issue. 
  • Contract management – Instead of manual spreadsheets, store vendor contracts within Venminder and avoid missing key dates, such as renewals and expirations, and get a clear overview of all vendor contracts. 
  • Service level agreement (SLA) management – Track and monitor each vendors’ SLAs, create thresholds, and identify any escalation points. As your organization remediates any issues, you can attach evidence and record your findings. 
  • Vendor spend analysis – Understand where your organization’s money is going toward third-party vendors and analyze financial outcomes and identify where your organization is spending the most. 
  • Oversight automation – Get a clear, automated outline of due diligence that needs to be gathered, reviewed, and completed for each vendor based on specific criteria your organization can set. 
  • Reporting and dashboards – Receive automated reports on vendors and your third-party risk management program and easily create any report or template needed. 
  • Advanced workflows – Use rule–based logic to set up tasks and workflows and easily configure the workflows to meet your needs with triggers or recurring options. 
  • Business unit permissions – Control who accesses what information with business units, which allow your organization to create groups based on criteria such as departments, data centers, teams, and vendors. 
  • Continuous monitoring – Access risk domain intelligence data with Venminder’s powerful Venmonitor™ tool. Integrated partners provide data insights so your organization can take action in real time. Venmonitor consolidates monitoring across all risk domains cybersecurity, business health, privacy, adverse media, environmental, social, and governance (ESG), and know your vendor (KYV) — into one seamless dashboard, enhancing your ability to oversee and respond to risks effectively.
  • Order control assessments – Have Venminder’s qualified experts review vendor documentation and questionnaires and receive a report with risk ratings, indicators, and recommendations. The control assessments cover:
    • Financial Health Assessment
    • Cybersecurity Point-in-Time Assessment
    • Data Protection Assessment
    • Information Security & Privacy Assessment
    • SOC Assessment
    • Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Assessment
    • Contract Compliance Assessment
    • Initial Vetting Package of a Third Party

Beyond Venminder’s Third-Party Risk Management Features

Although it’s important for third-party risk management platforms to have the right technology and features, it’s also crucial to have a provider that’s dedicated to meeting its customers’ needs and sharing its goals. Venminder doesn't just offer a TPRM platform; we’re devoted to forging genuine partnerships with our customers to aid them in building and enhancing successful TPRM programs at any stage of their journey.

Here are three ways Venminder supports its customers with direct quotes from our customers: 

  • Offers quick implementation – When it comes to selecting a third-party risk management platform, that's just the first step. After that, your organization will need to onboard the platform. At Venminder, we work at your organization's pace to ensure your program gets up and running smoothly. Our implementation process typically takes 30-90 days and includes setting goals and objectives, training users, loading vendors, and providing continuous support. 
    "Getting started with the platform was a breeze. It is SaaS based so there is no setup required. Just work with the implementation team to get familiar with it and everything is good to go. The platform is very intuitive and easy to use. It also allows for some customization which is great.”

  • Focuses on the needs of customers – A collaborative partnership is crucial in a third-party risk management platform. Your organization doesn’t want to begin using a platform, just to be left on your own to figure it out. Venminder assigns a dedicated Customer Success Manager (CSM) to help you oversee implementation. We also provide a highly responsive and knowledgeable customer support team and a comprehensive online support center that includes a searchable knowledgebase of articles, videos, and more. Stay up to date with the latest updates and upcoming releases in a customer insights newsletter. Venminder continually evolves its platform, incorporating feedback, adapting to the changing needs of customers, and aiming to keep the platform closely aligned with customers' operational and compliance challenges. 
    “Each CSM I've had has been abundantly helpful and quick to help any time it's needed. The interface is easy to use and move through and implementation is a breeze, with Venminder being more than willing to schedule a call anytime it's needed. Outside of CSM, the customer service chat function within the system is incredibly helpful if you have an immediate need.”

  • Continuous education to enhance your knowledge and mature your program – The landscape of TPRM is constantly evolving, with the industry expanding, regulations changing, and new risks emerging. It's crucial to stay ahead of the curve by keeping up to date with the latest best practices and news. At Venminder, we are passionate about education and demonstrate our commitment by offering thousands of free educational resources. From engaging blogs, insightful eBooks, handy templates, practical checklists, CPE-eligible webinars, stimulating podcasts, and informative newsletters, we've got you covered. Whether you're just starting out or a seasoned pro, Venminder offers an unmatched array of educational materials to enrich your knowledge and bolster your program. 
    “One of the great features are all the education, support tools, training, and instructional videos and guides available online. In conjunction with the support of our Customer Success Manager, we were able to get adequate training for our staff and get feedback on any question.”

It can be difficult to choose the right third-party risk management platform. However, with a clear understanding of your organization's TPRM goals and objectives, asking the relevant questions, assessing the platform's functionality and features, and finding a provider who will genuinely partner with your organization, you can select a platform that effectively helps your organization identify, assess, manage, and monitor third-party risks. A great TPRM platform is an essential component of an effective, efficient, and thriving TPRM program.

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