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Navigating Third Party Risk Management: A Comprehensive Guidebook Overview

Blog was inspired by the January 2024 TPRA Practitioner Member roundtable facilitated by TPRA CEO Julie Gaiaschi. (To watch the full presentation, TPRA Members can visit our On-Demand meetings and navigate to the January 2024 meeting recording.)  


The management of third party risks has become a major priority and area of focus for companies across a variety of industries because of the constantly changing nature of business operations. Recognizing the nuances and challenges that come with this field, the Third Party Risk Association (TPRA), along with a dedicated team of TPRM practitioners and service provider organizations, worked towards creating a comprehensive guidebook that assists in navigating the creation and implementation of a comprehensive Third Party Risk Management (TPRM) program. 

group of professionals meeting around a table in an office setting

The Development of the Guidebook 

TPRA’s “Third Party Risk Management 101 Guidebook” was created not as a standalone project but as a collaborative effort that included feedback from an extensive group of TPRM professionals and service providers from a diverse range of industries. Over monthly meetings spanning three years, this group discussed various subjects related to TPRM tools, topics, and trends. Each aspect of a strong TPRM program was carefully examined and discussed by TPRA’s focus group members, from clarifying best practices to anticipating emerging risks and aligning with regulatory guidelines. 


This comprehensive process of discussion, analysis, and synthesis is where the guidebook originated. With input from numerous stakeholders, the guidebook gradually took shape, undergoing a year-long editing process to condense the vast number of materials into a user-friendly format enhanced with graphics, insights, and real-world examples. 

Unveiling the Guidebook: A Deep Dive 

Building a TPRM program is not unlike building a house. The first step is always to make sure it’s built on a solid foundation so that it may withstand the inevitable storms to come. The TPRA guidebook gives you the tools and materials needed to begin building a successful and productive TPRM program brick by brick. 


The TPRM guidebook's foundation is a lifecycle approach, outlining a strategy and framework that encompasses the entire spectrum of TPRM. Let’s dive into its key phases: 

1. Planning and Oversight 

Planning and oversight are the cornerstones of any TPRM program and create the conditions for success. Important topics covered in this phase include: 

  • Establishing governance structures 

  • Executive support 

  • Budgeting 

  • Policy Formulation 

  • Metrics & Reporting 

This phase supplies an organization with a strong foundation and the requirements needed to develop and steadily support their overall TPRM program. It also ensures the program can address third party risk at the highest level, while also warranting governance structures are in place to run the program effectively. If implemented correctly, the Program Planning and Oversight phase will make certain key stakeholders are aware of, support, and help implement program requirements. This phase ensures your entire organization is on-board with the TPRM program. After all, this program will touch every department within your organization (from Business Owners to Legal and Security). 

2. Pre-contract Due Diligence 

3. Contract Review 

4. Continuous Monitoring 

5. Disengagement 

6. Continuous Improvement 

Navigating the Guidebook 

Navigating the TPRM guidebook is easy due to its informative graphics, detailed definitions, intuitive sections, and helpful resources. The implementation of this guidebook will vary depending on your organization’s size, industry, and types of third party relationships.

While the guidebook provides you with standards from which to begin crafting your TPRM program, careful consideration must be paid to your organization's established risk appetite when determining how to implement said standards. Your program should be rigid enough to have established criteria for the review and mitigation of third party risk, but also flexible enough to consider the variability of third party relationships, regulations, geographic locations, and emerging risks.   


Accessing the Guidebook 

TPRA’s first draft of our Third Party Risk Management 101 Guidebook is currently available as a free, downloadable eBook to all TPRM professionals. Visit the TPRA website and complete a short form to access this body of knowledge. 


By downloading the guidebook, stakeholders can effortlessly delve into its contents, leveraging its insights to fortify their TPRM endeavors. 


Conclusion: Charting the Course Ahead 

The TPRM 101 Guidebook provides organizations with comprehensive guidance, tools, and resources as they navigate the complex terrain of third party risks. It enables stakeholders to navigate relationship complexities, mitigate risks and foster resilience in a dynamic environment. The guidebook is considered the golden standard for the Third Party Risk Management industry and ignites a culture of vigilance, adaptability, and continuous improvement.  


In the dynamic realm of business operations, where risks lurk at every turn, the TPRM guidebook emerges as a steadfast companion, illuminating the path to success amidst uncertainty and complexity. The journey of TPRM is not merely a destination but a perpetual odyssey of discovery, resilience, and excellence, and the guidebook serves as a trusted compass, guiding stakeholders towards the shores of   resilience in an ever-changing sea of risks. But the journey doesn’t end here.

TPRM Practitioners are welcome to join the TPRA for free to continue their learning journey by benchmarking off their fellow peers, participating in engaging webinars and conferences, and contributing thought leadership to roundtables and future published guidance. To join, please visit

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