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The top 5 resources you need to respond to a cybersecurity questionnaire

October 4, 2022

If your business sells a Software as a Service (SaaS), you may notice that you’ve been filling out more cybersecurity questionnaires lately, and that those questionnaires are getting longer.

It’s no surprise; businesses are increasingly worried about third party risks. Data breaches caused by vulnerabilities in vendor software are often more damaging than direct attacks. According to the Ponemon Institute, third party attacks cost 2.5% more and take 26 longer to discover than the average data breach. Security questionnaires are an attempt by your customers to ensure that their data is safe with you. 

Unfortunately, security questionnaires eat up a lot of time, especially for smaller companies. No two questionnaires are quite the same, and they often require documentation. 

What do you need to answer a security questionnaire? 

If you’re starting to answer a questionnaire, it’s best to have as much information as possible available before getting started. 

  1. Your organization’s cybersecurity policies: Potential customers want to see that your organization believes in a culture of security, and policies are an excellent way to  prove that your company leadership takes cybersecurity seriously. Because different customers may have different requirements, make sure you have policy documents dealing with any and all types of security ready, including information security, physical security, network security, data privacy, and any other policy your customers might ask about.
  2. Compliance certificates: Compliance with security standards, such as ISO or SOC2, is an important way to prove credibility, and security questionnaires will often ask for any such certificates your organization has. Your organization may also have to be compliant with industry-specific standards, such as HIPAA or PCI. A copy of any proof of compliance or even recent assessments should be on hand when you’re answering questionnaires. 
  3. Proof of security tests: Any recent tests, such as penetration tests or code review, that have been done by a third party, are important proof of your security posture. Be sure to have the results of any such testing available. 
  4. Security ratings: If your organization uses a cybersecurity rating system, your security score is an excellent way to show customers how secure you are in real time. Security scores often break down a company’s score to show how well the organization does on specific controls, so having that information available can help you answer some of your clients’ questions. 
  5. A data flow diagram: Where exactly does data travel in your organization? Because customers want to see exactly what will happen to their information when it enters your systems and networks, a data flow diagram can help them see that information. 

Automation can help speed up the questionnaire process

While having all of this information on hand is helpful when answering a questionnaire, if they’re in different systems and formats, that can become irritating. Opening and closing windows and switching between tabs to reference documents when you’re in the middle of working on a questionnaire can take up time and potentially cause mistakes. By using an automated tool to keep all of those documents in one place, you can easily access your documents when the questionnaire calls for them. 

Ombud’s content library lets you store documents in a central location so you can find exactly the information you need when you’re answering security questionnaires. This makes the process easier, and more importantly, quick. By creating a template and tagging your documents, you can make the first pass on questionnaires much simpler, and get right back to the rest of your IT responsibilities. Request a demo today to learn more.

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