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Security Questionnaire is Not The Ultimate Goal of Third Party Risk Management Program

by FeHa International Consulting
February 14, 2023

Managing third-party risks has become a critical aspect of cybersecurity for businesses of all sizes. As companies increasingly rely on external vendors and partners to support their operations, the potential for data breaches and other security incidents grows. In an effort to mitigate these risks, many organizations utilize third-party risk management programs, which often involve the completion of security questionnaires.

However, completing security questionnaires can be a time-consuming task for cybersecurity professionals, particularly when companies ask to fill out multiple questionnaires with similar questions from different assurance functions, such as Security, Risk, Legal, and Procurement. This challenge persists even if a company has completed standardized questionnaires such as CSA CAIQ or SIG, has ISO 27001 certification or SOC 2 Type II report, and holds an extensive webpage on security and compliance controls.

It's worth noting that while completing security questionnaires is a critical component of third-party risk assessments, it should not be the sole method used to manage vendor risks.

Companies should avoid relying solely on the completion of hundreds of security questions to ensure their safety. Instead, they should consider using a combination of methods to obtain a comprehensive understanding of a vendor's security posture, such as requesting additional documentation, conducting on-site audits, or reviewing independent third-party assessments.

Moreover, it's important for companies to balance the effort required for assessments with the value and cost of the solutions. This balance is essential to ensure that third-party risk management programs are efficient and effective in managing risks posed by external vendors and partners.

In conclusion, security questionnaires are just one piece of the puzzle in managing third-party risks. To effectively mitigate these risks, companies must adopt a multi-faceted approach to vendor risk management, taking into account the value and cost of the solutions and avoiding reliance on a single method to assess a vendor's security posture. By doing so, companies can ensure that they are adequately protected against potential security threats posed by their external partners.

FeHa International Consulting is an international IT GRC, cybersecurity, and privacy management consultant with expertise and experience ranging from startups, small business, up to large corporations.
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