Every month, companies upload 18.5 terabytes of data to the cloud!
That’s a baffling amount of data, and a lot of it contains confidential or sensitive information. So how do companies ensure that their data is safe? By building robust vendor assessment programs, a big part of which is putting current and potential cloud solution vendors through Security Questionnaires.
So, for most cloud providers, the future is full of Security Questionnaires! That’s why we’ve put together a handy guide to help Sales Executives better understand Security Questionnaires and how to better respond to them.
A Bit About Security Questionnaires
Types and Formats
When it comes to Security Questionnaires, there is a broad spectrum of formats and types. You could receive an Excel document, a list of questions in an email, or even a link to an online portal like Ariba or Coupa.
As for the questions themselves, some companies issue Standardized Security Assessments like the Standardized Information Gathering Questionnaire (SIG or SIG Lite). Others turn a security standard like SOC 2 into an assessment. Bigger organizations sometimes come up with custom questionnaires.
When Might You Come Across Them
The point at which you might receive a Security Questionnaire spans across the entire sales cycles. A prospect might send one right out of the gate or might wait until the deal is pretty much closed.
The Main Challenges/Risks of Responding to Security Questionnaires
- Providing accurate information in your responses is critical to avoid losing the opportunity or running into compliance issues
- The questions are technical and require expert knowledge from your IT or Security team, which can makes the response process time-consuming
A Few Tips for Responding to Security Questionnaires
Understand the Requirements
Before you and your team start pouring over answers, make sure you understand who’s going to be reading these responses and what they are looking for. In most cases, Security Questionnaires are reviewed by technical experts who want to know the approach and the state of your company’s security processes. So make sure that your responses are straight-forward and clearly answer the questions being asked.
Security Questionnaires are not only read by technical experts, in most cases, they are also written by them. But not everyone speaks the tech language. If you’re not sure about something, get clarification from your prospect. Don’t guess or try to engage in mindreading. Just get on the phone and ask!
Your prospects care about your current security practices but also want to get a sense of what your Security team has in store for the future. So let them know what initiatives are in your security roadmap.
For example, if your company is in the process of getting a security certification like SOC 2, don’t just keep it to yourself – share that information with your prospect!
Reuse Your Content
Yes, Security Questionnaires can range in size and scope of information they are asking. But there is still a lot of overlap, which means you likely see a lot of the same or similar questions again and again.
If your content is scattered all over internal networks, emails, and devices, finding and reusing that content is next to impossible. On the other hand, when you have a centralized library of past answers that is easily accessible, responding to Security Questionnaires becomes easier and faster, both for you and your Subject Matter Experts.
Find a solution that will help you keep your content organized and up-to-date so that you can focus on other activities like building great client relationships and your Security team can focus on initiatives that are important to them.
These are just a few of the tips we have for you. Download our guide to learn more about how to make it easier for your Sales team to respond to Security Questionnaires.