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Third-Party Risk Management (TPRM)

Introduction to Third-Party Risk Management#

Third-party risk management (TPRM) refers to the strategies and processes that organizations use to minimize potential issues associated with their dependence on outside suppliers, or third parties. It involves identifying, assessing, and controlling risks posed by these external entities, which can include vendors, suppliers, and service providers.

In the context of software development, third-party risk primarily revolves around the use of external libraries, frameworks, or services that are integrated into the product. This integration presents a risk because if a third-party provider suffers a security breach or fails to deliver its services, it can negatively impact the organization's product or services.

The process of third-party risk management begins with a comprehensive understanding of all third parties with whom the organization interacts. This is followed by a risk assessment, which aims to identify and evaluate potential risks that each third party might pose to the organization. Next, the organization must establish controls to mitigate these risks, followed by ongoing monitoring to ensure that the controls remain effective.

Importance of Third-Party Risk Management in Software Development#

In the realm of software development, third-party risk management is of significant importance due to the widespread use of open-source libraries and frameworks. Open-source software can greatly accelerate development by providing pre-built functionality. However, it also presents risks as it may be poorly maintained, carry known vulnerabilities, or even be targeted by malicious actors for supply chain attacks.

  • It is crucial to conduct thorough due diligence on the third-party software components used in development. This includes understanding the pedigree and provenance of the software, examining its source code for potential vulnerabilities, and assessing the credibility of the project's maintainers.
  • An effective TPRM process in software development can minimize the chances of integrating potentially risky software into your products, thereby helping to prevent data breaches and maintain the integrity of your applications.
  • Maintaining an inventory of third-party software components, along with their versions and patch levels, is also essential. This aids in quickly identifying potential vulnerabilities and taking immediate action when necessary.

Understanding Software Composition Analysis#

Software Composition Analysis (SCA) is a method used to identify open-source components and their associated security risks within a software product. SCA tools scan the codebase to create an inventory of open-source components, detect known vulnerabilities, and even spot licensing issues.

Traditional SCA tools primarily focus on known vulnerabilities or CVEs (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) which are cataloged and shared by the global cybersecurity community. However, this approach is largely reactive, relying on vulnerabilities to be discovered and reported before they can be remediated.

While SCA is an integral part of the modern software development lifecycle, it's also crucial to acknowledge its limitations. Traditional SCA tools struggle with identifying zero-day vulnerabilities (unknown or newly discovered vulnerabilities) and active supply chain attacks, making it necessary to incorporate proactive risk detection tools into the TPRM process.

The Role of Socket in Third-Party Risk Management#

Socket is an innovative solution in the Software Composition Analysis space that redefines how third-party risk is managed in software development. It represents the next evolution of SCA tools, going beyond simply reporting known vulnerabilities to proactively identifying potential supply chain attacks before they strike.

In essence, Socket uses deep package inspection to understand the behavior of an open source package. It characterizes packages based on their actual behavior and use of security-relevant platform capabilities, such as network, filesystem, or shell access.

Unlike traditional SCA tools, Socket can help detect and block an active supply chain attack, offering comprehensive protection against various red flags in open source code. Its usability and actionable insights make it an essential tool in any organization's third-party risk management strategy.

Managing Supply Chain Risks: Current Practices and Challenges#

Current practices in managing software supply chain risks often revolve around using vulnerability scanners and static analysis tools. However, these approaches have their limitations:

  • Vulnerability scanners are reactive and dependent on the timely reporting of vulnerabilities to public databases. They do little to prevent active supply chain attacks, instead focusing on known vulnerabilities.
  • Static analysis tools, while valuable in identifying potential coding issues, can be too noisy when used on extensive third-party codebases. They often lack the context to provide actionable results, rendering them less effective against supply chain attacks.

These tools, while they have their place in the security landscape, are not sufficient to protect against the increasingly sophisticated threats posed by supply chain attacks.

How Socket Revolutionizes Third-Party Risk Management#

Socket revolutionizes third-party risk management by tackling the problem from a new angle. Rather than merely reacting to known vulnerabilities, Socket proactively looks for indicators of compromised packages and mitigates the risk of supply chain attacks.

  • Socket monitors changes to package.json in real time, preventing compromised or hijacked packages from infiltrating your supply chain.
  • It detects when dependency updates introduce new usage of risky APIs such as network, shell, filesystem, and more.
  • Socket can block 70+ red flags in open source code, offering comprehensive protection against a variety of threats.

By prioritizing proactive threat detection and mitigation, Socket represents a significant shift in the approach to third-party risk management.

As software development continues to lean heavily on open-source components, the importance of third-party risk management will only grow. The future of TPRM will likely involve more sophisticated approaches to risk detection and mitigation, with a focus on proactive strategies rather than reactive ones.

New technologies like Socket are leading the way, providing robust, proactive defense against supply chain attacks. By combining traditional SCA techniques with proactive risk identification and mitigation, solutions like Socket will likely become the gold standard in third-party risk management.

In conclusion, effective third-party risk management is essential for any organization that leverages external software components in their products or services. By understanding the risks, implementing effective controls, and leveraging advanced tools like Socket, organizations can safeguard their software supply chains and maintain the trust and reliability that their customers expect.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Third-Party Risk ManagementImportance of Third-Party Risk Management in Software DevelopmentUnderstanding Software Composition AnalysisThe Role of Socket in Third-Party Risk ManagementManaging Supply Chain Risks: Current Practices and ChallengesHow Socket Revolutionizes Third-Party Risk ManagementFuture Trends and Conclusion
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