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Why Vendors Hate Security Questionnaires
Security Best Practices & Advice

Why Vendors Hate Security Questionnaires

By Aviva Spotts Apr 08, 20214 min read

Just a mention of those long, arduous and often confusing security questionnaires evokes eye-rolling, stress and frustration from suppliers. And for good reason. While understandable that an organization must do its due diligence before entrusting a vendor with their data, the process of filling out a security questionnaire is fraught with challenges.

Here’s why vendors find the process of completing risk assessment questionnaires so perplexing and what you can do to keep your vendors happy.

1. Lengthy and irrelevant questions

Companies are notorious for sending a one-size-fits-all questionnaire to all their vendors, even if only a fraction of the questions apply to that type of supplier. Forcing your vendor to sort through 500+ question assessments is not only time-consuming and frustrating, but also leads to vendor fatigue. 

Solution: 

Create customized questionnaires containing questions that consider the relationship between you and your vendor. That way, you and your vendor don’t need to waste time addressing irrelevant questions.

Align your questionnaire with your organization’s risk appetite, while considering regulatory requirements and the context of the vendor relationship with your organization. This will ensure that you have all relevant information in place.

2. Confusing regulatory jargon

If your questions aren’t posed in an easy-to-understand format using simple  terminology, you could wind up with inaccurate answers that are ineffective for measuring your vendor’s cyber posture.

Solution:

Ask clear and direct questions using simple language that leaves no room for ambiguity. Putting in the initial effort to create an appropriate questionnaire will yield a swifter, more accurate and less stressful process to get the information you need. Create questions that can be answered with “yes,” “no” or “n/a” whenever possible and only request additional information when required (i.e. documentation for pentesting, uploading certification document or very brief supporting information).

3. Language barriers 

If you have foreign vendors filling out vendor questionnaires in a non-mother tongue language, it can be confusing for both parties involved. It may also result in a situation where an important point is lost in translation.

Solution:

Sending questionnaires in your vendors’ native language with the ability to view their responses in your own language is ideal. However, being able to implement that for numerous customers, in different languages, is inefficient, and likely unrealistic for your organization. Utilizing a tool that provides this as an automated solution will save you time and prevent language barriers from obstructing the supplier security questionnaire process.

4. Inefficient and laborious process

Put yourself in your vendor’s shoes. Your supplier is sent hundreds of questions that need to be manually answered over and over again in order to satisfy the requirements of tens, hundreds or thousands of prospective customers! And that’s before the inevitable back-and-forth correspondence between vendors and customers for questions and clarifications.

Solution:

An automated process that allows you to send suppliers questionnaires and manage the answers is a much more efficient and streamlined approach than emailing lengthy questionnaires and tracking the answers in spreadsheets. It also facilitates greater collaboration between companies and vendors within the platform, creating a more comfortable and convenient system for everyone. In addition, answers should be saved for future use with the ability to be referenced later. This saves the vendor from having to repeatedly answer the same questions.

How Panorays helps

By eliminating the tedium and delay of manual questionnaires, Panorays’ automated Smart Questionnaires™ increase the efficiency and effectiveness of managing vendor security. You can create customized questionnaires, use a standard SIG or CAIQ questionnaire or use Panorays’ built-in questionnaire. In addition, you’ll get questionnaires answered faster, onboard vendors more quickly and be assured your suppliers are in alignment with your company’s security policies, regulations and risk appetite. Most importantly—no more chasing vendors! Lastly, Panorays also enables easy collaboration and communication between companies and suppliers, strengthening the relationship with your vendors. 

Want to find out how you can expedite and streamline your supplier cyber risk assessment process while building trust and improving collaboration with your vendors? Request a demo today!

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Aviva Spotts

Aviva Spotts is Content Writer at Panorays. She loves all things cyber–especially when she gets to write about it–and is famous for talking about herself in the third-person.

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