5 Key Questions to Ask Before Buying A VRM Tool

Finding the right vendor risk management (VRM) tool is a unique process for every organization, as needs and requirements vary across program maturity, industry, and company size. While most organizations seek to increase efficiency with automation capabilities, there are other things you need to consider when you explore the market.

These questions will help you choose the best VRM tool that will take your program to the next level.

Key Question 1: Are there hidden costs?

There are low-priced vendor license packages in the market that require the purchase of additional service and maintenance to make them fully functional. This impacts both the initial investment and annual renewals.

You’re obviously looking for a good deal that adds value to your business without draining your budget. But when it comes to pricing, you need a transparent offering.

Pro Tip: Investigate whether the package includes everything you need for your vendor risk management program, from unlimited assessments to flexibility of configuration.

Key Question 2: Can you configure the program without buying additional services?

On top of hidden costs, some packages offer solutions that require significant technical expertise to implement, customize, make changes, or integrate, leading to high dependency on the provider and frustration and low productivity of your team. Some implementations result unsuccessful due to the inflexibility of a heavily discounted, low usability package that fails to meet specific needs.

Pro Tip: Make sure you can configure your program to fit your needs without paying for additional services. From setting up your risk assessment workflow stages to configuring integrations and customizing your alerts, thresholds, reminders, and more.

Key Question 3: What does customer support include?

A scalable, successful VRM program needs expertise in implementation to meet your organization's unique requirements. Implementation can take months without on-time support, lowering your ROI and jeopardizing your business.

Pro Tip: Look for a partner that offers extended support, promptly answers your questions and requests, and guides you with expert know-how through all the stages of your program, including onboarding, adoption, and continuous improvement. Extra points if they offer training and workshops!

Key Question 4: What is the average implementation time?

If the previous questions led to the conclusion that you will have to purchase additional services or support, and this wasn’t detected in the initial scoping, implementation can quickly go over six months. Especially if you are looking to integrate your VRM tool with other core business apps, such as ticketing systems, GRC tools, or reporting solutions to pull and push vendor risk information from and to these apps.

Pro Tip: Seek for transparency in verbal and written communications around the offer and what it entails, with details on how long it would take to get your workflow up and running.

Key Question 5: How secure is the platform?

Your risk assessment and overall vendor management process involves the exchange of confidential security documentation, such as questionnaires, certifications, internal controls, data retention policies, penetration tests, and third-party audits. Plus sensitive information about your standards, such as cybersecurity analytics, the data types you process/store, internal employee information, and what controls you have in place.

This data and all communication with your vendors need to be secured and properly safeguarded against unauthorized access.

Pro Tip: Ask about SSO, MFA, encryption, and any other security measures that ensure only you and your vendors have access to the assessment process and documents.

Now That You Know What to Look For…

Choose the package that satisfactorily answers all of the questions above. With BitSight VRM, for instance, you’ll have full access to a fit-for-purpose VRM platform to set up a customized and automated workflow, plus a dedicated customer support manager to help you with implementation and tailoring your program to meet your needs. You will also be able to communicate with your managed vendors securely, anytime, and at no cost.

Security is guaranteed with SSL authentication and encryption, ensuring data integrity, confidentiality, and availability. A vendor needs to accept the invite and log in to BitSight VRM to join an organization’s vendor list, and only the organization’s team and the vendor can see the questions, answers, artifacts, and communication history, with built-in access and permission management capabilities.

When it comes to support, BitSight offers a dedicated customer success manager that responds to questions within one business day, as well as free access to integration engineers, a comprehensive implementation plan and workshops to ensure success, and additional support for vendors that need to fulfill requirements.

Are you ready to get your VRM program up and running? Download our ebook “5 Keys to Building a Scalable VRM Program”.