To meet regulatory requirements and growing customer expectations, enterprises have to ensure that they’re upholding the highest security and privacy standards. As a result, enterprises expect the same from their own vendors. At the end of the day, it wouldn’t make sense to do all the work of adopting the right security tools and meeting rigorous certifications only to expose your business to risk through a vendor relationship.
To navigate these requirements in the sales process, many enterprises have extensive security questionnaires that software vendors have to fill out in order to be considered for a contract.
In this article, we’re taking a closer look at what a security questionnaire is, and how you can navigate this process as a B2B SaaS vendor.
A security questionnaire is a set of questions designed to assess the security measures, policies, and procedures that a vendor has in place within their product or service. Enterprises typically use them to understand the risk exposure of working with a specific vendor as well as to compare vendors in a competitive sales process.
These questionnaires typically cover a wide range of topics, which vary depending on the type of vendor being assessed and can include the following:
The questions in a security questionnaire can be quite detailed and may require input from various departments within an organization. For a vendor, getting answers to a security questionnaire is typically managed by the sales rep who has to coordinate with a number of different individuals, including security team members. This can be quite an intensive process, taking team members away from their core competencies.
For enterprises, security questionnaires are important in that they help define a vendor’s security posture, which is a core aspect of the vendor risk assessment. They are an extension of the enterprise’s security team into the procurement process, and help ensure that only the most security-forward vendors become partners.
For vendors, this process is important as it allows them to build trust early on in their relationship with the enterprise customer. If a vendor can quickly answer all the relevant queries and show that they prioritize security, then they’re more likely to become a trusted partner.
On both ends, they can also help accelerate the beginning of the partnership. By providing a lot of important data up front, the vendor’s technology can be more quickly integrated into the enterprise environment.
Here are five things you can do to set your business up for success when answering security questionnaires for your enterprise prospects.
Lastly, make sure you keep a repository of past answers easily available to all your sales reps. Enterprises aren’t that different from each other when it comes to their security considerations, so it’s likely that there’s significant overlap between one security questionnaire and another.
As we indicated above, filling out a security questionnaire can be quite a daunting task. For vendors that are ramping up their sales across multiple enterprises, responding to these long lists of questions can become a full-time job — and it can also massively slow down the sales process. One way that companies can reduce the need to fill out security questionnaires is by becoming SOC 2 compliant.
Vendors that are SOC 2 compliant have already gone through the extensive process of meeting a number of different security requirements — most of which align with the asks in a security questionnaire. With a SOC 2 compliance report, a vendor can securely send that over instead of rounding up a team of people to answer a number of questions. Instead, all the sales rep has to do is have the prospect sign an NDA and then send over the SOC 2 report. (This is something that Pima can help you do faster than your competitors.)
While it’s true that becoming SOC 2 compliant will require a significant upfront investment — both in terms of time and resources — the ROI in terms of hours saved in the sales process is significant in the long run.
At Pima, we’ve made it easier than ever for SaaS vendors to share this important information quickly and securely. Learn more about our product on the homepage.