It has always been the case that many organisations rely on third parties to deliver products and services to enable their businesses to function effectively.  With the advent of cloud services, and the increasing number of cloud-based products and services on offer to organisations, third party reliance is likely to increase further in the future.

But how do you know that the service you are receiving from your third parties meets all of your expectations, particularly in terms of information security?

The obvious answer is to audit your third parties against your policy and control requirements in order to verify that they are operating as you expect them to.  However, with an increasing number of suppliers to audit, many organisations simply do not have sufficient resources.  In addition, a number of organisations do not have the specialist technical knowledge to assess their cloud-based service providers.

Prioritisation of Suppliers

URM can support you in auditing your suppliers and other third parties (confusingly referred to as second party audits!).  The first step is helping you understand the extent that you rely on each third party and the importance of its services to your organisation.  Understanding the risks that the individual third parties present to your business from an information security, business continuity and quality perspective, will help you in prioritising your second-party audits.

You may find that low-risk third parties can be adequately dealt with by a self-assessment questionnaire, leaving audit resources available to focus on the higher-risk third parties.  Abriska 27036, URM’s Supplier Risk Management Tool, can play a valuable role here.

Range of Auditing Services

Having identified your high-risk third parties, URM can offer you a range of services from a full audit service programme to conducting ad hoc or selective second party audits on your behalf.  With a full audit programme, we will propose a methodology and schedule for conducting audits of your suppliers and third parties.  In conjunction with you, certain suppliers will be prioritised based on factors including criticality, risk assessment findings, incidents, previous audit findings or contractual requirements.

In terms of conducting audits, our auditors are not only experienced in performing all types of process and system-based audits, but are also geographically located around the country.  As such, should you be looking for an on-site audit to be carried out anywhere in the UK, we can accommodate your needs.

At the end of the audit, you will be presented with a comprehensive report, adopting your audit approach, your internal style and your template.  URM can help you with any action/nonconformity management of your third parties through to a successful conclusion or you can manage this yourself.

Either way, drawing on URM’s expertise can provide you with resource flexibility to deliver an effective and appropriate third-party audit service.  Such a service will help assure your stakeholders that your third parties meet your information security or business continuity requirements and that you are managing your supplier risk.

Why URM?

Audit and Subject Matter Specialists

URM’s expertise incorporates a combination of auditing skills (e.g., CISA qualified), knowledge of Standards (e.g., ISO 27001, ISO 22301, ISO 9001 and PCI DSS) and IT technical knowledge (e.g., databases, networking, operating systems and applications).  URM has considerable experience in auditing the more technical Cloud-based service providers.  If required, URM also has a Cyber Testing Team to call upon, which can conduct penetration tests and vulnerability scans.

Flexible and Pragmatic

URM can offer your organisation a flexible range of audit services from planning and implementing a full-service provider audit programme, to conducting specific and ad hoc supplier audits.  Our auditors are also able to apply a pragmatic, business-based approach to audit requirements.

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