Vendor Security, Data Sharing

The current world of businesses requires heavy reliance on external vendors to deliver value. These vendors can be IT tools, SaaS products, or much more.

Such a process will always pose a risk to the business. Since a lot of sensitive business data is handed over to the vendors, even a slight breach of trust can be risky for the business.

This is where a Vendor Security Questionnaire comes into play. Such a questionnaire allows a business owner or manager to scrutinize the vendor they are about to tie up with, and always make sure they are dealing with someone trustworthy.

Preparing such a questionnaire is not always an easy task, since businesses and their operations are highly varied.

So, here are 5 aspects that you should keep in mind while preparing a Vendor Security Questionnaire.

1. Understand The Risks Of Data Sharing

Not all data is equal, and thus the risk they pose is also varied. If you are sharing customer data such as credit card details or medical data, it can be highly risky and you should ensure that every aspect of the vendor is scrutinized through the questionnaire.

2. Understand The Process

The tasks that the vendors are performing for you, and their criticality in your business process, will define how you shape the questionnaire. For example, if your vendor is a SaaS platform you should ask questions about data security and storage lifecycle to understand the chances of a breach.

3. Create A Wholesome Picture

Often while asking questions to the vendor, businesses want to understand the core aspects of the partnership. But, understanding the complete picture is equally important. You should know how many other partners the vendor has and other such aspects. There are already many such risk assessment questionnaires available on the internet, so make use of them instead of creating one from scratch.

4. Ask About The People Involved

As much as the process is important, it is people who will drive it. So, you need to know the people who will be handling your business data. If your vendor also ties up with external service providers then you should check whether such third parties have been risk-assessed as well. If your vendor denies you such information it should be considered a potential red flag.

5. Use The Questionnaire To Set A Protocol

A vendor security questionnaire not only helps you understand the risks involved while tying up with a vendor but also ensures that you create a set process for the vendor to follow. In case the vendor deviates from it, later on, you will be able to use the questionnaire as proof of the protocol you had set. So, ensure that your security demands are well-formed in your questions.

Use these pointers to create a questionnaire for each of your vendors, and craft a business relationship that is secure and profitable for all parties involved!

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