Things move fast in the third-party risk management environment, as new vendor onboardings and assessments take place every day. In order to stay on top, you need an accurate record of who did what, when, and the decisions that were made at any point in time. Enter the audit trail.
The NIST defines an audit trail as:
A set of records that collectively provide documentary evidence of processing used to aid in tracing from original transactions forward to related records and reports, and/or backwards from records and reports to their component source transactions.
In the context of third-party risk management, the audit trail can track active, non-active and total third-parties over time at a glance on the dashboard. These metrics can be used to get a better understanding of capacity and planning.
Every industry needs an audit trail: from healthcare to manufacturing, high-tech, legal, energy, and financial services, to name a few. They all need secure and immutable records of whether and when a transaction was performed accurately, and these records need to fulfill data availability and integrity requirements.
Learning from the audit trail
Historical system activity is a goldmine as it enables you to understand the past and the current status of your third-party relationships. A thorough audit trail assists in detecting security violations, performance problems, and flaws in the assessments process. Ultimately, providing transparency into activity between third-parties and enterprises.
The information gathered will ultimately allow for a deeper understanding of the risk trend within your third-party population. With an accurate audit trail, your team can:
- Keep track of accountability
- Reconstruct previous events
- Troubleshoot issues
- Detect intrusions
- Perform problem analysis
- Be compliant with the law or industry standards
- Get a big picture of the business
If any of the potential issues stated above happens, a secure audit trail will allow you to quickly understand that something is wrong, find out what happened exactly and where it came from, and reconstruct the path.
Understanding these data trends will help you make better decisions, identify bottlenecks, and analyze improvements to the assessment process. The more detailed your view of network activity, the greater the likelihood that you can identify and minimize anomalous behavior.
Access to system activity
At ThirdPartyTrust, one of our goals is to simplify the process of third-party risk management, which includes using data for better planning purposes.
With our platform, teams can maintain a record of user and system activity, including responses to security questions and conversations around findings. We have audit trails on life cycle changes, on trust score changes, and on changes to surveys, showing when the last change was made, to what element, and who changed it.
What’s more, our API allows to easily access this data, so that CISOs, third-party risk managers, or application owners can determine how much review of audit trail records is necessary.
According to the NIST, flexibility is a critical feature of audit trails. The decision of how much to log and how much to review should be unique to every organization, weighing the business goals and the benefits of the logging.
Harnessing the power of historical data allows better future planning and ensures firm strides on the road to success.
To learn more about how ThirdPartyTrust can help you manage third-party risk, request your free trial now: