Completing Security Questionnaires: 6 Best Practices for Vendors

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Today’s IT-driven commercial landscape keeps supply chains up and running 24/7. But due to cyber risks and other inherent risks of transacting online, organizations are wary of working with third-party vendors.

Vendors must answer security questionnaires as part of their due diligence. However, a security questionnaire can have over a hundred questions covering anything from information security to regulatory compliance.

Imagine completing more than 20 of these vendor security checks yearly. When compounded, it could mean months’ worth of time spent away from technical work.

We’re presenting six strategies for answering vendor security questionnaires. These best practices can help with your bidding or business continuity compliance efforts.

What’s a Vendor Security Assessment Questionnaire?

A vendor security assessment questionnaire is a set of questions organizations use to evaluate vendor security posture. It’s important to avoid data breaches.

Vendors disclose essential details regarding their security controls and relevant management process by accomplishing them. It aids buyers in assessing the potential risks their partnership with the vendor entails.

Example: A buyer may require a cybersecurity provider to give crucial operational information as part of their risk assessment process.

To comply, the latter must submit their security protocols, policies, and tech capabilities by answering a custom-made survey.

6 Best Practices for Completing Vendor Security Assessment Questionnaires

Like vendor risk assessment questionnaires, completing a vendor security questionnaire is essential for forging buyer-vendor relationships.

Here are six strategies to improve your response time and accuracy.

1. Create an Answering SOP

Establish a standard operating procedure incorporating workflows, process owners, internal SMEs, channels, and repositories.

Publish this SOP in your company wiki or IMS to ensure widespread awareness and continuity in the answers.

2. Draw a Security Assessment Plan

A security assessment plan provides a structured approach to identifying your company’s security risks and areas for improvement.

As part of the vendor risk management program, it can be instrumental in answering security questionnaires.

Your plan must include the following:

3. Establish a Security Questionnaire Response Library

Be proactive. Gather and follow relevant compliance frameworks before receiving industry-standard questionnaires.

Having a bullet-proof structure in place helps your team/s finish the requirement quicker. Some common industry frameworks include SSAE/SOC I and II, ISO/IEC 27001, CIS Controls, CAIQ, and NIST SP 800-171.

4. Use a Collaboration Platform

A collaborative platform helps teams work on their designated questionnaire fields in real time. This way, your teams can prevent delays and ensure continuity across responses.

Your platform must have response editing capabilities, feedback sharing, and progress tracking mechanisms.

5. Delegate Tasks to SMEs

Placing subject matter experts (ex: from your sales team) in charge of answering specific questions will ensure timely responses.

SMEs can address questions and technical concerns faster and more accurately than other employees.

6. Use Automation Tools

Vendict’s AI technology allows companies to respond to vendor security risk assessments and security questionnaires faster.

Natural Processing Language (NPL) AI models can enable computers to comprehend and populate complex questionnaires faster than any human could.

Do you have a security questionnaire menacingly staring at you right now? Conquer it with Vendict. Contact us to find out how we can help your organization’s data protection processes.

Maximizing Business Security: The Importance of Vendor Risk Assessment


Outsourcing is the new norm for businesses to scale and succeed. From IT service providers to manufacturing suppliers and marketing agencies, third-party vendors are crucial for companies to achieve their long-term goals.

This reliance, however, comes with substantial risks.

According o a recent Gartner survey, 84% of organizations experienced operational disruptions, and 66% had financial losses due to third-party risk incidents. This data highlights the importance of assessing your vendors to safeguard your business from disruption and financial harm.

In this blog, we’ll talk about vendor risk assessment and how you can effectively employ it in your organization.

What is Vendor Risk Management?

Vendor risk management ensures that the third-party vendors in your supply chain won’t jeopardize your business. This business continuity plan involves identifying potential risks and performing due diligence on vendor relationships.

You’ll check each supplier’s data, policies, and practices. Then, implement security controls to manage the risks identified and ensure real-time information security and regulatory compliance. For instance, you can employ data encryption and firewall protection if you discover you’re vulnerable to cyber risk.

Importance of Third-Party Vendor Risk Assessment

Nobody wants to work with someone with subpar quality control standards and performance. This management process helps filter out vendors who don’t meet your specifications.

Vendor risk management programs mitigate the inherent risk of vendor-related issues like:

To achieve this, you must first adopt a solid vendor risk assessment procedure.

Vendor Risk Assessment Checklist

Vendor risk assessment is like preparing for a road trip. Just like you wouldn’t set off without a map or GPS, a checklist is essential to navigate potential hazards and ensure you’re on the right track.

Here are 5 line items to incorporate into your vendor risk management checklist.

  1. Vendor Details. List all your vendors with contact information, services, location, contract terms, and service level agreements. You can double-check your procurement and payment records to ensure everyone was documented.
  2. Vendor Risks. Investigate the risks each vendor poses, including operational, financial, legal, reputational, and security risks. (e.g., a vendor with a history of data breaches poses higher cyber risks)
  3. Vendor Due Diligence. Review vendor security, qualifications, quality standards, and legal compliance before entering a contract. Outline their responsibilities and dispute-resolution mechanisms.
  4. Vendor Performance. Conduct periodic reviews of contracts, performance metrics, and risk levels. If you notice a vendor consistently missing deadlines, it’s best to reassess their contract or seek out a new vendor.
  5. Risk Mitigation Measures. Use this to identify and address potential risks before they become major issues. Specify processes for regular security audits, data encryption, employee training, incident response plans, and other relevant measures.

No time to draft, employ, and review your checklist? Vendict is an AI-powered platform that can help expedite your vendor risk assessment process. You can automate responses to assessment questionnaires and collaborate with experts in no time.

Trust Vendict to handle your vendor management risk assessment while you steer your business to new heights. Book a demo today.

A Complete Toolkit for a 360-Degree Vendor Management

Vendor Manangement

A reference guide to the Chief Vendor Officer on existing software tools

Vendor Management’s objective is to provide more value to the company via the integration of Vendor products.

It happens at different phases:

This process is generally triggered by the leading company department when the need occurs. However, the Chief Vendor Officer (CVO) may want to propose solutions if relevant. It is a serious advantage for the CVO to have a large culture of existing domains and tools that are already present. It accelerates both the Vendor culture and the Discovery phases by providing rapid answers.

This guide informs vendor-facing departments about the various tool families available for Vendor Management. It does not include the names of specific vendors. Online vendor comparison reports allow an in-depth analysis of specific products. This guide details the solution fields with a brief description of the vendor relevancy.

Risk Management


Compliance & Privacy


The main security risks are about data breaches and the vendor’s additional attack surfaces.

Shared Data Management

As seen with data breaches, the shared data with vendors requires special handling. Many data management tools are relevant here for the data shared with vendors:

Information Technology

The IT department plays a large role in vendor on-boarding and performance tracking. They provide information about the effective usage and value provided by the vendor to the company.

Some fields involving vendors are not mentioned. For example, Procurement Systems are a good source of information during the Vendor discovery phase. Or, Knowledge Management solutions can record processes and how to on-board vendors.

The mapping of all the useful tools highlights another dimension in the Vendor economy: the importance of the ecosystem. Solutions interfacing with one another allow integrated processes and provide more value to the company.

The complete Vendor Management solution is required to be technological and integrative. It provides a single vendor view with all the elements to optimize the vendor’s ROI.

17 Disturbing Statistics Justifying the Vendor Management Imperative

Vendor Management Imperative

A bleak picture emerges when looking at the numbers. It is time for a change.

The following 17 statistics show us a bleak picture. The presence of third parties and vendors has increased drastically, including the vendor risk. The vendor risk can be either privacy non-compliance, performance disruption, or a data breach risk. These risks are quantitatively present.

To reduce these risks, vendor management is critical when managing these numerous vendors. Vendors are evaluated, e.g., with risk assessments. This Vendor Management has a measurable cost.

Of course, the following statistics do not reveal the full picture. Besides, proactive decisions can change the course of action.

Vendor Management Importance

Large companies have many third-party vendors, some with direct access to the company’s network.

An average of 89 vendors access a company’s network every week — link

18 percent of respondents indicated their companies work with more than 1,000 third parties, and another 16 percent said they work with more than 10,000— link

Vendor Risk

However, most companies cannot guarantee good personal data protection.

60 percent of companies admit they lack the resources to monitor the security and privacy practices of vendors with whom they share sensitive or confidential information — link

74 percent of businesses are unaware of all the third parties who handle their data and personally identifiable information (PII) — link

The data breach risk is also very present.

66 percent of security professionals think that it’s possible or definite that they suffered a breach through third-party access — link

And there are certainly other risks too.

87 percent of organizations have experienced a disruptive incident with a third-party vendor within the last three years — link

82 percent were not confident or unsure if they have identified all the third party risks their organization is exposed to — link

Cost Evaluations

Managing the vendors has a real cost, but the cost of not managing them is even higher.

Third-party breaches are more expensive than in-house breaches, costing $13 more per compromised record — link

The average cost of managing 100 third-parties is slightly more than $26,000 — link. 23 percent of organizations do not evaluate third parties at all — link

The average cost of addressing a Data Subject Access Request (DSAR) is $1,400 per request — link

For example, managing assessments has a high cost due to a lack of automation:

A single FTE (Full-Time Employee) can manage approximately 350 third-party information security risk assessments and decisions annually — link

71 percent of companies are still using a custom questionnaire — link

Prioritized Vendor Management

Given these numbers, it is not a surprise why Vendor Management is a priority today.

Ensuring third parties have appropriate security practices to protect sensitive and confidential data was the first governance priority for 2019 — link

40 percent of organizations have a fully mature vendor risk management process in place — link

The Vendor Risk Management Market is expected to exceed US$ 7 billion by 2024, with a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 13 percent — link

In our Vendor economy, we don’t always realize the value and the risk that vendors bring to the company. Companies have many vendors, some with privileged access.

Both the vendor value and the risk are real, with a measurable cost. Due to the cost, it is tempting to avoid managing the vendors. However, it only increases the risk and the cost, while missing opportunities.

Planning the Vendor Management while adopting a vendor culture is the key to gaining from vendors deeply and responsibly.