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Top 10 Questions in Vendor Cybersecurity Questionnaires

Oct 31, 2018 by Joel Keller

When building a vendor questionnaire or reviewing a questionnaire completed by a vendor, it’s essential to ask the right questions to properly understand the vendor’s cybersecurity environment. It’s especially important to provide and/or retrieve accurate information surrounding the following top 10 cybersecurity questions.

The Top 10 Vendor Cybersecurity Questions

  1. Are penetration tests performed by a qualified third party? If so, how often are they performed and when was the last test performed? Ensuring your vendor has regularly scheduled penetration tests performed by a third party is essential in knowing how secure their environment is and where the weaknesses are so they can be secured before they are exploited by an attacker.

  2. Is there a formal information security program in place? A security program provides the framework for keeping a company at a desired security level by assessing the risks that are faced, deciding how those risks will be mitigated and planning for how to keep the program and security practices up-to-date.

  3. Is there a formal logical access review process? Having regularly scheduled access reviews of users is essential in knowing who should have access to your system and who no longer needs access.

  4. How has your vendor implemented the principle of least privilege? Role-based access privileges are vital in only allowing employees to have access to data they need while denying access to data they do not need to perform their job.

  5. How is data protected in transit between the vendor and the client as well as between the vendor and the end-user? How is data protected at rest on servers and backup media? Encryption of data in both in-transit and at-rest stages is extremely important to keeping it safe from unauthorized access.

  6. How is retired media (hard drives, flash drives, CDs, documents, etc.) sanitized? Physical and electronic data should be disposed of in a secure manner when no longer needed to keep information from falling into the wrong hands.

  7. Are employees and contractors required to attend security training? Providing security awareness education to users of all systems is an important step in limiting user errors that could harm your network and information.

  8. What due diligence is performed on contractors and vendors prior to and post contract? Completing due diligence over your vendor’s third party vendor (your fourth party) is important especially if they have access to your data. You want to make sure they have a secure environment to help keep your information secure.

  9. Is there a formal incident management program in place? Proper incident handling procedures allow situations to be analyzed and prioritized so that the next appropriate course of action can be taken to address the problem.

  10. Does your vendor describe technical prevention measures in place? Utilizing various security tools such as firewalls, anti-virus products and intrusion detection and prevention systems allow you to help secure your network from threats.

So, the next time you find yourself building or reviewing a vendor’s cybersecurity questionnaire remember to pay special attention to the above questions. It may take some time to build and/or review a cybersecurity questionnaire accurately, but it could save you a lot of time in the future.

Learn best practices for when your vendor experiences a data breach. Download our infographic.

10 best practices when handling a vendor data breach

Joel Keller

Written by Joel Keller

Joel is an experienced cybersecurity analyst with experience working in Litigation Support, Manufacturing and Healthcare information security sectors. Prior to his role with Venminder, his experience has been in the areas of digital forensics, governance, risk and compliance and vulnerability management.

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