A Comprehensive Guide to Becoming a Third Party Security Manager


A Third Party Security Manager is responsible for overseeing and managing the security aspects of an organization's interactions with external vendors, suppliers, and partners. This role is crucial in ensuring that third-party relationships do not compromise the security and integrity of an organization's data and systems. This guide outlines the steps, skills, and knowledge required to become a Third Party Security Manager.

Educational Requirements

1. Bachelor’s Degree: Obtain a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as Computer Science, Information Technology, Cybersecurity, or Business Administration.
2. Advanced Degrees (Optional): Pursuing a master’s degree in Cybersecurity, Information Security, or a related field can provide advanced knowledge and enhance career prospects.

Relevant Certifications

1. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP): This certification is highly regarded in the field of information security and covers a broad range of topics.
2. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM): Focuses on managing and governing an enterprise’s information security program.
3. Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC): Emphasizes on identifying and managing risks through the development, implementation, and maintenance of information systems controls.
4. Certified Third Party Risk Professional (CTPRP): Specialized certification focused on managing third-party risk.

Essential Skills and Knowledge

1. Risk Management: Understanding how to identify, assess, and mitigate risks associated with third-party vendors.
2. Security Frameworks: Familiarity with security frameworks such as NIST, ISO 27001, and COBIT.
3. Vendor Management: Skills in managing vendor relationships and ensuring compliance with security standards.
4. Compliance and Regulatory Knowledge: Knowledge of regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, and how they affect third-party interactions.
5. Communication Skills: Ability to communicate effectively with both technical and non-technical stakeholders.

Gaining Experience

1. Entry-Level Positions: Start in roles such as IT Security Analyst, Risk Analyst, or Compliance Analyst to gain foundational experience.
2. Specialized Roles: Move into roles focused on vendor risk management or third-party security assessments.
3. Project Management: Gain experience in project management, as it is crucial for overseeing security projects and vendor evaluations.

Building a Career Path

1. Intermediate Positions: Progress to positions such as Third Party Risk Analyst, Vendor Risk Manager, or Information Security Manager.
2. Leadership Roles: Aim for leadership roles such as Third Party Security Manager, Director of Vendor Risk Management, or Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).

Networking and Professional Development

1. Professional Associations: Join associations such as ISACA, (ISC)², and the Information Security Forum (ISF) to stay updated on industry trends and connect with other professionals.
2. Conferences and Workshops: Attend industry conferences, workshops, and webinars to continuously enhance your knowledge and skills.
3. Continuous Learning: Stay current with the latest developments in cybersecurity and third-party risk management through online courses, certifications, and reading industry publications.

Developing a Strong Foundation

1. Understanding Contracts and SLAs: Learn how to review and negotiate security clauses in contracts and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with third parties.
2. Incident Response and Management: Be prepared to handle security incidents involving third-party vendors, including breach response and reporting.
3. Security Assessments and Audits: Conduct regular security assessments and audits of third-party vendors to ensure ongoing compliance and risk management.

Tools and Technologies

1. Risk Management Software: Familiarize yourself with tools like RSA Archer, MetricStream, or ServiceNow that are used for risk management and compliance tracking.
2. Security Assessment Tools: Use tools like Nessus, Qualys, and other vulnerability assessment tools to evaluate the security posture of third-party vendors.
3. Data Analysis and Reporting: Proficiency in data analysis tools and techniques to assess risk and report findings to stakeholders.


Becoming a Third Party Security Manager requires a combination of education, certifications, experience, and continuous professional development. By following this comprehensive guide, you can build a successful career in managing third-party security risks and safeguarding your organization’s critical assets.