What are these 100+ question IT vendor risk assessment questionnaires you're receiving all the time? Here are the top 11.
To protect yourself against third-party risks, your organization (no matter the industry) can use vendor risk assessment questionnaires. Also known as vendor risk management questionnaires or third-party risk assessment questionnaires, they help you to identify potential weaknesses among third-party vendors and partners.
Modern organizations are highly interconnected, relying on a complex web of strategic partners, solution providers, and vendors to compete in today’s global economy. But each relationship an organization establishes with a third party that involves access to IT networks or private data has the potential to result in a costly, reputation-damaging data breach.
In fact, a survey conducted in 2018 by PwC revealed that the number of data breaches attributed to third parties has increased by 22 percent since 2015. But this weakness is still prevalent today.
According to research conducted by Forrester, 55% of security professionals reported that their organization experienced an incident or breach involving supply chain or third-party providers. This underscores the growing risks associated with third-party interactions in the digital age, and the need for third-party assessments.
What Are Vendor Risk Assessment Questionnaires?
Vendor risk assessment questionnaires are a method for evaluating the information security readiness of a third party – typically a service provider. They reflect the fact that organizations of all sizes are increasingly sharing sensitive data with vendors whose ability to keep it secure directly impacts their compliance with industry regulations and data protection and privacy laws.
The length and scope of these questionnaires vary greatly, and no two are the same. That’s because organizations tailor them to their industry based on industry-standard security assessment methodologies such as:
- CIS Critical Security Controls (CIS First 5 / CIS Top 20)
- NIST (800–171)
- Standardized Information Gathering Questionnaire (SIG / SIG-Lite)
Questions a vendor risk assessment may contain:
Some vendor risk assessment questionnaires contain hundreds of similar questions and answering them with a simple “yes/no” response is not always enough. This is because these responses lack vital detail – such as compliance nuances, preparedness for emerging threats, and partially implemented practices/controls.
Why Are Questionnaires Worth the Effort?
In the information security chain, data is only as secure as the weakest link. Organizations can spend millions trying to improve their security posture, but all their money is as good as wasted if they share their data with a vendor that doesn’t take security seriously or doesn’t have the capability to implement and maintain sufficient security systems and measures.
Vendor risk assessment questionnaires help create what can be described as a network of trust by weeding out third parties that don’t follow appropriate information security practices, ensuring that all data in this network is safe.
The main problem is that filling them out can be an excruciatingly labor-intensive process. Plus, not all vendors employ a security analyst or someone else who is competent enough to answer hundreds of security-related questions.
How to Remove the Burden of Vendor Risk Assessments
The good news is that the receivers of vendor risk assessment questionnaires can easily remove the burden they cause by partnering with a managed service provider (MSP), like Teal. A capable MSP can not only quickly and accurately fill out all questionnaires but also continuously monitor the vendor’s security posture and proactively suggest improvements to keep even the most recent and dangerous threats at bay.
If you’re losing the ability to focus on your core business because you’re forced to spend your time completing questionnaires for other organizations, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
We’d be happy to empower your organization by managing, completing, and reviewing third-party risk assessment questionnaires on your behalf.