How to Handle the Dreaded Cybersecurity Questionnaire

So you are a small business owner and are about to land your first big client. Everything is going well but before they sign the contract, they hand you a cybersecurity questionnaire. Now the panic sets in. Does this sound familiar?

Maybe you feel like you don’t even know how to begin answering these questions. Or you don’t think you can answer the questions in a way that satisfies your customer’s cybersecurity compliance obligations.

You’re not alone.

For many larger businesses, these questionnaires become necessary for a number of reasons. For instance, complying with cybersecurity regulations, ensuring due diligence, fulfilling requirements of their own cybersecurity programs and cyber insurance policies.

According to Sonatype, there has been a 430% increase in open-source software (OSS) supply chain attacks in the last year. Coupled with supply chain attacks, like the Solarwinds breach, it’s likely that these questionnaires will hang around for a while.

What to Consider Before Filling Out the Cybersecurity Questionnaire

So how should your organization handle the cyber security questionnaire? Before you answer, there are a few things to consider:

  • Your client’s needs
  • The data you will share
  • The relevance of the questionnaire
  • Any possible alternatives to the questionnaire

It’s important to make sure that, first and foremost, your answers to the questionnaire are addressing your client’s needs. You also need to make sure that you can actually share the data that is being asked of you. You don’t want to put your own security, or the security of your other clients, at risk.

Always question if the information they are asking for is necessary. In many cases, they may have a blanket questionnaire for all vendors that might not be relevant to your business.

The Questionnaire is Necessary...Now What?

Once the questionnaire is decidedly necessary, you can assign it to your employee who’s best equipped to answer the questions.  In some cases, staff from more than one department may be involved.  When it comes to addressing any concerns with your own cybersecurity protocols, your answers should take into account the following:

  • Any current or previous cybersecurity assessments
  • How do you plan to remediate any current gaps in your cyber security planning
  • How your cybersecurity plan puts you in compliance with various regulations

Once this assessment is complete, it can help to identify where your organization is thriving and where you can improve. Demonstrating that you’re taking measures to improve your organization’s cybersecurity shows that your business takes its cybersecurity seriously. A good place to start is by implementing the NIST Cyber Security Framework.

QuickProtect Can Help

If your organization hasn’t done a cybersecurity assessment in a while or if you’re unsure where to begin, QuickProtect can help you. Our cybersecurity specialists can help you answer cybersecurity questionnaires and address any gaps in your own cybersecurity posture.  In addition to improving your own cybersecurity, addressing these gaps can help you close more clients.

Contact QuickProtect now to learn more.

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