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Small Third-Party Risk Management Team Tips for Collecting Due Diligence

4 min read
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Performing due diligence is a crucial aspect of managing third-party risks. It involves verifying that your current or potential vendors have implemented adequate risk management practices and controls to effectively mitigate any risks from the vendor relationship, product, or service.

Obtaining the required documentation from vendors can be the most challenging aspect of the due diligence process. Vendors may sometimes cause delays or resist providing the necessary documents. Even if they’re willing and cooperative in providing the information, determining which documents are essential for review can be daunting.

Moreover, it may be challenging to effectively track and manage multiple vendors undergoing the due diligence process. These challenges become more pronounced for small or inexperienced third-party risk management teams. The good news is that there are proven strategies for collecting vendor documents that even small teams can use.

small third-party risk management team tips collecting due diligence

Document Collection Tips for Small Third-Party Risk Management Teams

  1. Establish a uniform list of required documentation per risk domain and product/service type.
    Standardization streamlines the request process and enables automation. Using a standardized approach is a great way to ensure your small team doesn't have to start from scratch whenever there's a due diligence documentation request. It's a simple but effective way to save time and effort!

    When creating your document list, it’s important to consider the following questions:

    • What are the minimum document requirements for each risk category
    • What additional documents are required based on the product or service type, such as customer complaint logs, penetration testing, or employee background checks? 
    • Are there any document types that may be used for multiple risk categories, like SOC or ISO reports? 
    • How old can a document be before it is no longer considered valid? 
    • Which documents have expiration dates (examples: SOC reports, insurance certificates, and licenses)?
    • Are there any acceptable alternatives or formats for documents?
  2. Use a risk-based approach. When requesting documents from your vendors, ensure that you are only asking for what’s necessary and relevant to the risks that exist in the product or service. For example, if a vendor doesn't access, process, or store personally identifiable information (PII), asking for their SOC 2 Type II report would only cause confusion and waste your valuable time. So, be mindful of what you ask for, and only request what is essential. 

    Remember these following best practices:

    • Take time to understand the business engagement before determining the types and amounts of due diligence necessary. 
    • It's essential to tailor document requests based on risk and criticality because one size doesn't fit all.
    • Conducting more in-depth document collection and assessments is necessary when dealing with high-risk or critical vendors.
  3. Utilize third-party risk management software and services. By using a dedicated and automated third-party risk management software platform, you can easily upload the required document types based on the products and services provided by your vendor. This will enhance your organization's productivity and efficiency, allowing you to achieve more in less time.

    Third-party risk management software platforms can track vendor requests, store documents, and streamline communication. They can also simplify the process of generating a comprehensive document request, making it easier for third-party risk management teams of all sizes.

    Even with the help of third-party risk management software, managing vendor documents can be overwhelming for small teams with too many vendors and not enough employees. In these cases, outsourcing the vendor document collection process to a qualified third-party risk management services firm may be a solid strategy. These firms can handle all vendor communications, document collection, and organization. Additionally, many firms even offer certified subject matter experts to review and assess the documentation and provide a qualified opinion on the sufficiency of the vendor's control environment. Outsourcing these services to qualified professionals can help your small third-party risk management team focus on managing risk rather than being bogged down by administrative work. It can also supplement the knowledge gap for a less experienced team.

Performing due diligence to manage third-party risks is crucial, but obtaining vendor documentation can be challenging especially for small TPRM teams. To overcome this, professionals can standardize documentation requirements and use TPRM software for automation. Outsourcing to qualified TPRM service organizations can also help small teams handle multiple requests effectively, reducing delays and errors.

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