In today's interconnected business landscape, Third-Party Risk Management (TPRM), sometimes called vendor risk management (VRM), is a critical cybersecurity strategy for organizations aiming to safeguard their operations and reputation. With most companies increasing their reliance on external vendors and service providers, managing and mitigating risks associated with these third-party relationships is paramount. TPRM involves identifying, assessing, and managing risks arising from relationships with external partnerships. 

A well-designed TPRM dashboard is a pivotal component of any risk management operation, offering a centralized and real-time view of potential risks, compliance statuses, and vendor performance metrics. By leveraging dashboards, businesses can streamline risk management processes, enhance decision-making, and ensure regulatory compliance with industry standards. 

This article explores the essential elements of a TPRM dashboard and provides practical guidance on designing a robust and user-friendly tool to fortify your organization’s risk management framework.

Eliminate manual work from your TPRM program with UpGuard Vendor Risk>

Key components of a robust third-party risk management dashboard

The most effective TPRM dashboards provide comprehensive oversight across an organization’s vendor network and third-party risk status. There are several vital components a TPRM dashboard should include, from third-party assessment metrics to performance and benchmarking. 

Keep reading to learn what crucial features your organization should integrate into its TPRM dashboard to provide comprehensive insights and enhance your organization’s ability to manage and mitigate third-party risks effectively.

Third-party risk overview

Most importantly, an effective TPRM dashboard empowers organizations to understand the status of their third-party ecosystem quickly. What is their vendors' security posture, and what vendors present the most significant risks? 

To accurately convey an overview of your organization’s third-party attack surface, your TPRM dashboard should include the following features: 

  • Third-party security ratings: An aggregated calculation of a third party’s current security posture using data across various risk categories, including network security, website security, questionnaire risks, reputation, and more. 
  • Third-party status: The current status of a third party's internal profile (active, inactive, pending approval, etc.), including whether the third party has access to internal systems and data. 
  • Third-party heat map: A visualization of risk across an organization’s entire third-party ecosystem based on impact and likelihood of breaches, including which vendors present the highest and most significant risks. 

Many comprehensive TPRM solutions, like UpGuard Vendor Risk, include a refined TPRM dashboard where users can understand their real-time third-party risk status. UpGuard’s TPRM dashboard displays an organization’s average vendor rating and the risks associated with each vendor so users can quickly see their third-party security posture and how specific vendors are impacting this composite score. 

vendor ratings and average vendor rating displays in the UpGuard platform
UpGuard's TPRM dashboard grants users complete visibility over their third-party attack surface

UpGuard Vendor Risk also includes a risk matrix, which allows users to visualize which vendors present the highest level of risk and which remediation efforts security personnel should prioritize. 

risk matrix in the UpGuard platform
Risk matrix visibility in the UpGuard platform

Third-party assessment metrics

The best TPRM dashboards will also provide a comprehensive overview of an organization's recent third-party risk assessments. Some third-party assessment metrics an organization’s dashboard should track include compliance ratings, risk ratings, incident frequency, and service level performance throughout the TPRM lifecycle.

  • Compliance rate: What percentage of third parties have achieved compliance with industry regulations and standards? A TPRM dashboard can track compliance rates across specific frameworks and better understand each entity’s compliance status across all industry requirements, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), ISO 27001, and others.  
  • Risk rating: How many of an organization's third-party relationships present a high level of risk? Medium? Low? The best TPRM dashboards categorize third parties by risk level (high-risk, medium-risk, low-risk). 
  • Incident frequency: How many security incidents or breaches have personnel reported per third party? By understanding which vendors present the highest frequency of security incidents, security teams can know where to focus remediation and prevention efforts and resources. 
  • Service level achievement: Are third parties meeting the standards in their service level agreements (SLAs)?

UpGuard Vendor Risk empowers users to understand their third-party’s compliance status, risk rating, and incident frequency 24/7 with intuitive dashboards and a comprehensive Vendor Summary feature. 

vendor summary in UpGuard Vendor Risk
Vendor summary in the UpGuard platform

Users can access each vendor’s Risk Profile from the Vendor Summary feature to examine its risk status more thoroughly. This feature outlines a vendor’s security rating, history, and current risks. Users can also investigate the status of individual security incidents, including their severity, category, risk, and number of sites exposed to an incident.

risk profile workflow in UpGuard Vendor Risk
UpGuard's Risk Profile feature

Risk monitoring and alerts

Continuous risk monitoring and automated alerts are fundamental to any third-party risk management program. Third-party risks can evolve rapidly, making it crucial for organizations to have a system that offers real-time visibility into their third parties' security posture, from onboarding to contract termination or renewal. 

The most effective TPRM dashboards achieve this by continuously monitoring third parties around the clock. This constant vigilance ensures risk profiles accurately reflect a vendor’s risk status. By maintaining up-to-date information, organizations can swiftly identify and address potential vulnerabilities, thereby minimizing the impact of third-party risks on their operations. 

  • Continuous security monitoring: CSM involves real-time assessments and updating third-party risk profiles using threat intelligence feeds​​. This process integrates data from various sources to help organizations promptly detect and respond to emerging threats. Organizations can proactively identify vulnerabilities and potential risks associated with their third parties by setting up automated alerts when a third party’s security posture drops below a specific threshold or critical risks emerge. 
  • Incident reports: Effective dashboards should provide detailed logs and summaries of incidents, including the nature, impact, and remediation actions personnel should pursue. This feature helps in understanding patterns, assessing the severity of incidents, and implementing preventive measures to avoid future occurrences.

UpGuard Vendor Risk scans over 10 million companies daily, empowering users to monitor their vendors around the clock. This automated monitoring improves incident response times, facilitates proactive risk mitigation, and enables security teams to prioritize risks based on vendor criticality and overall organizational impact. 

“UpGuard makes security monitoring effortless. Automated scans and continuous monitoring keep our systems safe without constant manual intervention.” - Legal Services Professional on G2

Contract and documentation management

An organization’s TPRM dashboard should assist security personnel with housekeeping and document management tasks. The most effective TPRM dashboards help stakeholders organize third-party contracts, visualize expiration and document management tasks, and provide a central repository to safely store all documents associated with a particular vendor. 

  • Expiring Contracts: The best TPRM dashboards provide a visualization of upcoming contract expirations and renewals​​. This feature provides a clear, graphical representation of all contracts nearing expiration, allowing organizations to plan and take timely action. Security teams can set up alerts to remind relevant stakeholders of upcoming renewals, reducing the risk of service disruptions. This proactive approach helps maintain continuity in third-party relationships and ensures all contracts are reviewed and renegotiated as necessary.
  • Document Repository: A robust document repository ensures all assessments, financial statements, compliance certificates, and other critical third-party documents are secure and easily accessible. This centralized system allows stakeholders to efficiently retrieve information during audits, compliance management checks, or vendor risk assessments. It also supports collaboration among different departments by providing a single source of truth for all third-party documentation. Maintaining a secure document repository ensures the organization meets regulatory requirements and maintains comprehensive records of its third-party interactions.

UpGuard Trust Exchange revolutionizes how organizations and third parties share security documents, display certifications, and collaborate. Featuring a combination of powerful automation, AI, and intuitive workflows, Trust Exchange helps security teams share vital security evidence, build trust with their vendors and customers, and ensure their adding value instead of drowning in an endless pool of spreadsheet-based security assessments. 

Trust Exchange harnesses a powerful AI toolkit to enable security teams to eliminate manual processes, save time, and improve efficiency. UpGuard’s AI ToolKit includes an assortment of automated features and capabilities, helping vendors and users speed up the questionnaire process and increase the efficiency of vendor collaboration. 

  • AI Autofill: Enables vendors to auto-populate security questionnaires from a repository of past answers and enables users to receive completed responses in record time
  • AI Enhance: Improves vendor response quality, eliminating typos, refining answers, and minimizing human error

Performance and benchmarking

The most effective TPRM dashboards assist security personnel with performance and benchmarking tasks, empowering stakeholders to track third-party performance, analyze historical data, and measure critical metrics to identify trends and areas for improvement. These functionalities ensure that organizations can continuously refine their risk management strategies and maintain high security and compliance standards, even as their third-party ecosystems expand and new risks emerge. 

  • Benchmarking: An effective TPRM dashboard will provide a historical analysis of an organization’s third-party risk management performance to identify trends and areas for improvement​​. A benchmarking dashboard may visualize comprehensive insights into how third parties have performed over time, highlighting patterns and identifying consistent issues. This visibility helps security personnel identify strengths and weaknesses in their organization’s TPRM program, enabling informed decisions to enhance overall risk management strategies.
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Effective dashboards should track and display risk mitigation actions taken, third-party score improvements, compliance rates, and other KPIs to provide a clear picture of the TPRM program's effectiveness. Metrics such as the number of risk mitigation actions taken offer insights into the proactive measures implemented to address vulnerabilities. 

UpGuard Vendor Risk automatically tracks a vendor’s security posture over time, helping organizations gauge the success of their risk management efforts and identify areas requiring attention, ensuring continuous improvement in managing third-party risks.

historic vendor performance in the UpGuard platform
UpGuard's TPRM dashboard empowers organizations to visualize a vendor's security posture over time.

Best practices for dashboard design 

Creating an effective TPRM dashboard requires careful planning and attention to detail. By adhering to best practices in dashboard design, organizations can ensure their dashboards provide meaningful insights, support decision-making, and enhance overall risk management. Key considerations include defining the audience and purpose, choosing relevant metrics, ensuring clarity and simplicity, providing context and insights, and regularly testing and refining the dashboard.

Define Audience and Purpose

Customizing your TPRM dashboard to meet the specific needs of various users ensures that every stakeholder has access to the most relevant information. Your organization’s executives may require high-level summaries. At the same time, governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) managers need detailed risk assessments, and procurement officers focus on vendor performance and contract statuses during due diligence.

Choose Relevant Metrics

When designing your TPRM dashboard, it’s crucial to identify and track metrics that align with your organization’s risk management objectives. Select metrics that accurately reflect your current TPRM goals and performance initiatives. Whether you track average vendor security ratings, compliance rates, or third-party score improvements over a given period, the metrics you select should provide a clear picture of your vendor management program’s effectiveness and reveal areas for improvement. 

Clarity and Simplicity

A well-designed TPRM dashboard should present relevant information straightforwardly. Charts, graphs, and stylistic features like color coding and highlighting are excellent ways to present key data points. Avoid unnecessary complexity and focus on producing clear, concise visualizations that empower all users to grasp information and TPRM trends quickly. 

Regular Testing and Refinement

The best TPRM dashboards evolve as an organization’s risk management initiatives and needs change over time. After you design your dashboard, continuously gather feedback from stakeholders to refine the dashboard and make improvements. Just like TPRM, creating a dashboard is an ongoing process. Ongoing testing and refinement will help your team identify usability issues and incorporate new features to support objectives across your organization’s departments, further improving cross-department collaboration and stakeholder engagement. 

Elevate your entire TPRM program with UpGuard Vendor Risk

UpGuard is an industry-leading provider of vendor, supply chain, and third-party risk management software solutions. UpGuard Vendor Risk grants security teams complete visibility over their vendor network, identifying emerging threats, providing robust remediation workflows, and increasing cyber hygiene and security posture in one intuitive workflow. 

Here’s what a few UpGuard customers have said about their experience using UpGuard Vendor Risk across several use cases: 

  • iDeals: "In terms of pure security improvement across our company, we now complete hundreds of maintenance tickets, which is a massive advancement we couldn’t have achieved without UpGuard. We previously wouldn’t have detected at least 10% of those tickets, so UpGuard has enabled us to work faster by detecting issues quickly and providing detailed information to remediate these issues."
  • Built Technologies: “UpGuard is phenomenal. We’re required to do an annual internal review of all third-party vendors. We have an ongoing continuous review with UpGuard through its automated scanning and security scoring system.”
  • Tech Mahindra: “It becomes easy to monitor hundreds of vendors on the UpGuard platform with instant email notifications if the vendor’s score drops below the threshold set based on risk scores.”

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