A third-party risk assessment is essentially the way your clients evaluate how safe their information is in your hands. As Nashville’s leading cybersecurity service, ImageQuest believes that all businesses must understand cybersecurity so that they can best respond to these potentially unsettling and lengthy questionnaires.

Keep reading for information that explains more about the process, your client’s goals, and, more importantly, how to get your business ready when – not if – you are required to participate in a risk assessment.

What is a risk assessment?

According to cybersecurity service experts, small businesses and vendors in Nashville are often asked to participate in a risk assessment. Essentially, this is the process by which your clients determine if you are doing enough to keep their information safe. You might be asked to complete a risk assessment questionnaire before doing business with a new client. Your responses can mean the difference between signing a contract and losing their business for good.

As a vendor, you pose a security threat to your customers if you do not have cybersecurity best practices in place. Many corporations will effectively blacklist potential vendors that are not security-minded.

What can I expect during a risk assessment?

Depending on your client, this may be something as simple as an email requesting your security procedures. However, 100-page questionnaires are not uncommon. Unfortunately, most business owners are not provided any warning before receiving a risk assessment.  This can leave you scrambling for answers and looking for a cybersecurity service to provide them. Nashville business owners can trust ImageQuest to help, but it is always best to have policies and procedures in place before this happens.

Some of the information your clients may request include:

  • Your employee training programs. They want to know how your employees are instructed to handle data as well as how they are taught to react to potential phishing schemes. 
  • How you store data. Ideally, all information will be behind digital lock and key. If you are currently relying on free cloud services, your clients’ information is highly vulnerable.
  • Current technology. There might be many questions about your operating system, hardware, and online network.
  • How often you perform penetration testing. ImageQuest’s techs note that cybersecurity service is often followed up with penetration testing, which is essentially an ethical and authorized cyber attack on your business’s systems. Your clients may request to view the results of such testing.

Depending on your answers, you might never hear back about the questionnaire. But you can be assured if your answers do not align with what the client wants, they will let you know. Keep in mind that not responding is not an option. Even if you are not fully prepared, answer as thoroughly and honestly as possible.

Before You Are Assessed

As already mentioned, having cybersecurity measures in place is the best way to be prepared for a risk assessment. And there is never a wrong time to take action.

Start by contacting a cybersecurity service. Nashville businesses can rely on ImageQuest to get the ball rolling. This may begin with basic security measures, such as employee training and an internal risk assessment. Depending on the results, additional measures may be needed. ImageQuest can help you implement, document, and routinely evaluate your digital security. This will ensure that you are fully prepared to complete an external risk assessment.

Your cybersecurity documents can help you answer client questions. If you are in an industry that frequently undergoes risk assessments, consider creating a standardized information gathering sheet, which, combined with your supporting documentation, might be accepted in place of the requested information. Print a copy of everything you send to your client for future reference if they follow up with additional questions.

It takes time, and it is an investment, but your business’s security is something you can not afford to neglect. A Nashville leader in cybersecurity service, ImageQuest can get you where your clients need you to be. Not only does this increase your trustworthiness but it also provides better security for your entire organization. It is an undeniable win/win for everyone.