The following is a guest post by a 2016 Secure360 Iowa Gold Sponsor Qualys.
Are your vendors and other business partners putting your organization at risk? How compliant with information security standards, government regulations and internal policies are the third parties your organization does business with?
In this age of supply chain interconnectedness, a large organization may have hundreds of third parties with access to its physical premises and IT networks. Your organization may have a secure IT infrastructure, but third parties can make it vulnerable to breaches, which often result in corporate data theft, brand damage and hefty government fines. Consequently, you must conduct risk assessment audits of these suppliers, consultants, contractors, service providers, partners and suppliers. You must also run similar surveys in-house to ensure your employees and departments are complying with your company’s policies and procedures and with external rules and regulations. The traditional way of conducting these risk assessment surveys — emailing questionnaires and tracking responses on a spreadsheet — no longer cuts it. You must automate these polls to ensure the process is agile, accurate, comprehensive, centralized, scalable and uniform across your organization.
Here are six scenarios where you need cloud-based, automated risk assessments of third parties and internal staff.
#1: Lack of a Standard Third-Party Assessment Process
Many organizations, especially large ones with multiple global locations, don’t have a centralized, uniform way of vetting third parties. The result is a fragmented, inconsistent and inefficient third-party audit process carried out in myriad ways, without best practices or basic requirements established or followed for the assessments. This leaves the organization without a clear understanding of its third-party risk, and thus vulnerable to security breaches. Cloud software for automating third-party risk audits can offer company-wide uniformity for survey design, management, distribution and collection; and a central console for campaign tracking, data analysis and visualization.
#2: Reliance On Inefficient Manual Processes
Crafting a risk assessment questionnaire on a word processing document, sending it out via email to thousands of people and tracking responses on a spreadsheet is labor- intensive, time-consuming, costly, error-prone and hard to scale. Shifting to cloud-based risk assessment automation centralizes and streamlines this entire process, including survey design, distribution and processing. Instead of manually re-inventing the wheel for every survey, you can design custom, reusable questionnaire templates using an intuitive, drag-and-drop interface with wizards.
#3: Inability to Perform Internal Assessments at Scale
Third parties aren’t your only concern. Internal risk management teams must ensure that their organizations’ security policies and risk management objectives are met. To accomplish that goal, they need to regularly and methodically query each of their business units and departments to verify that they’re complying with all business process controls. With a cloud-based solution, internal risk assessment teams can centrally manage and automate their tasks, quickly gather and analyze survey data and generate compliance proof.
#4: Inefficient Coordination of Employee Training
Organizations must make sure their staff is aware of their policies and procedures, a task that is tricky for the obvious reason that employees are constantly joining and leaving. As a result, organizations need agility to frequently perform these employee assessments via short, simple questionnaires. They also need an automated system to ensure timely administration of these surveys to the right individuals or groups on staff, and at the right times. A cloud risk assessment app can help you certify and document that all employees have been properly educated and trained about security policies, threats, compliance requirements and business risks.
#5: Failure to Keep up with the Ever-Changing Regulatory Burden
It’s hard for large organizations to remain up to date on the government regulations that apply to their business. This is especially true for businesses in industries under heavy government oversight, such as banking and healthcare. Regulations are never simple, and they’re getting more complicated, while new ones come out every year. A cloud- based risk assessment automation solution with a template library means you don’t need to worry about manually updating pre-built questionnaires — it’s all done for you transparently in the background by experts on these rules and regulations.
#6: Deficient Method for Tracking Your Fast-Changing Vendor Landscape
You must nimbly yet comprehensively assess suppliers at various stages of their business relationship with you, which becomes a logistical challenge if you attempt to manage the process manually:
- Current vendors
- Vendors bidding for your business
- First assessment of a key supplier
- A vendor slips
The new Qualys Security Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) automates and streamlines this entire lifecycle, including survey design, response monitoring, data aggregation and report generation. SAQ gives organizations tight control over their third-party risk assessments, letting them protect themselves from partners with loose or negligent security practices. SAQ simplifies the design, distribution, tracking and management of multiple internal and external risk assessment surveys from a web-based central console. No more emailed surveys and manual aggregation of results in spreadsheets: SAQ automates campaign creation, questionnaire distribution and result analysis.
SAQ is a self-contained, easy-to-use, turnkey solution requiring no other tools. It lets you get answers fast from your third parties so you can manage the risk of giving them access to your IT systems and protect your business. Although it can be used as a standalone application, SAQ is also part of the Qualys Cloud Platform security and compliance suite, which protects all your IT assets wherever they reside.