Respond to Vendor Questionnaires Faster and More Accurately: 4 Key Ways

By ProcessBolt | August 6, 2019

You received ANOTHER vendor questionnaire from a customer, ugh. If it seems like you’re receiving more this year than last year, it’s true. More and more companies are either required to initiate a vendor risk management program due to industry regulations or they are voluntarily creating the process to avoid a breach. Since cybercrime is not going away anytime soon, next year will be even worse until it’s standard operating procedure for every customer to send out a vendor questionnaire to gauge their level of security.

With so many vendor questionnaires in your future, it’s time to figure out a way to make the process faster and more accurate. If your security analysts groan with frustration at the thought of answering the same security questions over and over, or if you have lost deals because the entire process is just too slow, it’s time to change your process.

One word can solve the problem: automation. Just as automation has sped up so many other processes and procedures (think Uber versus calling a taxi, Netflix versus driving to Redbox), it can also help immensely with your vendor questionnaire process.

However, automation is just one way to speed up the process. Here we’ve identified four ways you can respond to these vendor questionnaires faster and more accurately.

 

1. Store Your Answers in a Central Repository
The frustration with completing vendor questionnaires lies in the redundancy. Up to 80% of these questionnaires are identical, requiring your security team to copy/paste answers from your spreadsheet into another spreadsheet or key them in manually. Have you ever thought about how much time your team is wasting on this manual process?

If your answers were stored in a central repository inside an automated platform, such as ProcessBolt’s Knowledge Base, your team could simply click on the correct response to populate the answer fields. No more copy/paste or manual data entry, which can also help eliminate errors.

BONUS: Imagine if your security analyst quit tomorrow and walked out the door with some or all of the answers to these vendor questionnaires in his or her head. How would you complete the next one? If all the answers are stored in a central repository, this becomes a nonissue.

 

2. Automate!
Hunting through a spreadsheet of responses to find the correct answer to a particular security question can wastes hours. Once the answer is located, your team must copy the answer and paste it into the customer’s questionnaire, taking up to 3-5 minutes per question. If the average vendor questionnaire contains 100 questions, this equals 5 to 8 hours per questionnaire. Even worse are companies that don’t have common responses stored in a spreadsheet, requiring the security team to manually enter answers into each new vendor questionnaire received.

Automation can cure this problem. Not only does ProcessBolt store your common risk assessment answers in a Knowledge Base for easy access, but the auto-matching technology scans the questions and provides your top answers. Your security team simply clicks on the appropriate answer and ProcessBolt populates the questionnaire with the answer, reducing the time it takes to complete a questionnaire by up to 80%.

BONUS: The hours your security team saves can be put back into protecting your own business.

 

3. Work Within the Tools Provided
Since there is no standardization in the vendor risk management industry, every company is doing their own thing to try to evaluate vendor security. Some store vendor questionnaires in an Excel spreadsheet while others prefer a Word document. More advanced companies leverage online portals such as the vendor risk assessment platform from ProcessBolt. Each new method will require an uphill learning curve for your security team.

Regardless of the format, ProcessBolt simply works. Whether your customer sends you a spreadsheet, Word document or asks you to log into their online vendor portal, ProcessBolt’s Knowledge Base works alongside all of these formats to populate the answers for you. Our technology-agnostic platform can help your team eliminate the need to conform your process to another vendor questionnaire format.

BONUS: Check out the ProcessBolt AirLink in the Chrome Web Store and the Microsoft AppSource. Our AirLink allows you to complete any web-based vendor questionnaire inside an online vendor portal. To start using AirLink, contact us to setup an account.

 

4. Stay Up to Date
If your vendor questionnaire responses are stored in a spreadsheet, keeping it up to date can be difficult. Every time something changes in any department across the organization, those changes can affect your security responses.

ProcessBolt allows you to add multiple tags to each answer inside the Knowledge Base. These tags can be based on category, departments within your organization and more, to help you keep your answers up to date. Answers can also be flagged if you feel they need to be reviewed and updated. If ProcessBolt discovers a new question that is not answered in the Knowledge Base, you simply add the answer to the questionnaire, which also adds the answer to the Knowledge Base for future use.

BONUS: If a question is not in the Knowledge Base, ProcessBolt allows your security analyst to send it to a team member to answer. The answer is then automatically added to the Knowledge Base.

 

Want to learn more about how ProcessBolt helps vendors respond to vendor questionnaires faster and more accurately? Schedule a demo today.

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Whether you're an enterprise, vendor or service provider, ProcessBolt can not only simplify but accelerate your vendor risk management process. Schedule a demo today to see just how easy vendor risk assessment questionnaires can be.

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