Cybertrust announced this week that it hopes to change the way IT security professionals approach partner security by launching a new monitoring service that analysts say is the first of its kind.

The new Cybertrust Partner Security Program, launched this week, is designed to give customers a comprehensive, dashboard view into the risks assumed by doing business with external business partners. The idea is to give information security practitioners a way to document partner security for both risk management and compliance. 

An analyst with Yankee Group said today that while there are some firms that do provide consulting packages that offer a one-time analysis of external partner security, this is the first to provide on-going assessment and tracking. 

"It is different from what we've seen so far, especially in terms of the fact that it is a repeatable (and) on-going process," said Sandra Palumbo, senior analyst for Yankee Group, told SCMagazine.com. 

Information security professionals have long worried about the risk they assume by doing business with some partners, but the process to track these risks have so far been manual, said Jennifer Mack, Cybertrust director of compliance product management.  

 "The things that they are using now are things like Excel spreadsheets or Word documents, or they're using contract management systems that might have a small compliance module in there, and so it is something that gives them a little piece of the picture but it is only on a per-business-partner basis," said Mack. 

Palumbo said this new offering will likely pave the way for similar offerings from other service providers and vendors.

"Especially for companies that work in those highly-regulated verticals like finance and healthcare where there really is a need to encompass the wider enterprise ecosystem, it is a natural path to go down," she said.

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