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3 Great Reasons to Automate VRM with Assessment Copilot

Since the earliest days of business process automation, companies have been looking for ways to reduce the amount of manual work that goes into keeping the operation running. There have been lots of successes along the way, but automation still hits a stumbling block when it comes to more complex processes—like vendor risk management (VRM). 

Challenges for VRM automation

VRM is resistant to automation for a few key reasons:

  • Customized security questionnaires are aligned to specific needs and can vary vendor-to-vendor, so questionnaire-based assessments are hard to scale and are highly manual.
  • Control and oversight are important for risk mitigation and cybersecurity, so any automation that may jeopardize visibility or preclude human intervention doesn’t work for most organizations. 
  • Vendor security info can come in many different forms (trust centers, exchanges, old document management systems, etc.) and be collected in several different ways, making it diffuse and difficult to synthesize into a single, automated process.

Consequences of manual VRM

For all these reasons, the traditional approach to VRM remains largely manual. This is frustrating, but we could live with the manual stuff if it were leading to better risk-management outcomes.  

Unfortunately, manual processes often coincide with other organizational realities, like:

  • An increased demand for vendor services, which also increases the number of assessments that are necessary
  • Time-and-resource constrained VRM teams struggling to keep up with this demand
  • These finite resources are spent on managing administrative tasks rather than managing actual risk

Given these conditions, many companies are simply taking on more risk. In our annual survey of more than 500 InfoSec and Risk leaders, 93% of companies report that they would perform more assessments if they had the resources. And 96% say they would perform more in-depth assessments if they could. 

When the outcome of manual VRM is taking on even more risk with a diminished capacity to manage it, that means it’s time for a change. Assessment Copilot is an opportunity to leave “legacy” VRM behind and embrace an automated, modern approach. 

What is modern vendor risk management? 

First things first: what do we mean by “modern VRM”, anyway?

Modern VRM focuses finite resources on analyzing and managing risk rather than administrative tasks. Modern VRM allows you to automatically surface control-specific insights from a wider range of security information. Automation also makes it possible to apply this richer data to your preferred questionnaire or framework, so you can assess vendors exactly the way you want in a fraction of the time. That means:

  • Less time tracking down answers to specific questions
  • No need to read line-by-line through hundreds of pages of documentation
  • Greater capacity to assess more vendors
  • More information to make smarter decisions and effectively allocate resources
  • Faster speed-to-value from your vendor relationships without assuming more risk

Assessment Copilot is the AI engine of modern VRM

Artificial Intelligence (AI) makes it possible to overcome the challenges of automation we discussed earlier. The AI in Assessment Copilot:

  • Makes automation scaleable by sourcing specific answers from multiple data sources without the choke point of a manual questionnaire. 
  • Is guided by your controls, so you decide what information the AI has access to and who in your organization can view the resulting data. Assessment Copilot also allows you to quickly audit its results, giving you final approval on every assessment. Each of these checkpoints also trains the AI on your specific security needs, improving your outcomes with each assessment. 
  • Centralizes and summarizes security info from a variety of sources, so you can benefit from a deeper understanding of a vendor’s security posture without having to wade through raw documents. 

What AI capabilities make Assessment Copilot work? 

Assessment Copilot builds on Whistic’s existing foundation of industry-leading AI capabilities that includes:

Knowledge Base—Decide which data sources you’d like Assessment Copilot to access in a single location. This allows you to find answers to specific questions fast by searching your entire library of documentation and results in context, with links to sources and a confidence score. 

Smart Response—Query your Knowledge Base or upload questionnaires or frameworks and receive auto-populated responses. This allows you to self-complete even a customized questionnaire with the information you have. 

Vendor Smart Search—Find answers about a specific vendor (or try Vendor Insights to generate security insights across your entire vendor catalog without having to search through records individually).

These foundational AI pillars make it possible for Assessment Copilot to automate and enrich assessment-specific activity with:

SOC 2 Summarization—Create a summary of hundreds of pages of SOC 2 audits with the pushing of a button, extracting key details and risk insights attuned to your specific controls, exceptions, and requirements. 

Vendor Summary—Use a vendor’s provided documents or trust center to quickly identify, assess, and measure risk and compliance against your controls. 

Automated Review—Generate a final assessment report, review and share findings with executive leadership, and make more risk-based decisions.

3 Reasons to Automate VRM with Assessment Copilot

The biggest advantage of Assessment Copilot is that it integrates with your existing workflows—you don’t have to reinvent the wheel or commit additional headcount to benefit from modern VRM. Here’s three reasons this approach makes your VRM more effective.

Reason 1: Maximize the Questionnaire

Lots of VRM solutions claim to eliminate the questionnaire altogether (heck, we’ve even toyed with that here at Whistic). But the truth is, the questionnaire isn’t going away. In our 2024 TPRM Impact Report, we found that 79% of companies use some kind of customized questionnaire to assess vendors. 

And with good reason! Questionnaires are a consistent, repeatable way to capture and organize valuable information. When VRM teams are strapped for resources (more on that in a minute), the repeatability of a questionnaire can reduce variance from assessment to assessment. Plus, depending on your industry, specific frameworks might be required in very specific forms for compliance purposes. 

The problem isn’t with the questionnaire; it’s that getting information for the questionnaire is so much manual work. VRM teams can beg and plead for specific answers from the vendor (increasingly unlikely) or they can go line-by-line through a stack of documentation for the two pieces of information they need. Either approach is agonizing and time-consuming. 

But the AI in Assessment Copilot allows you to instantly extract the information you need from raw security information and apply it to your specific questionnaire. That means you can assess every vendor you want to with the assessment type you prefer or require. 

Reason 2: Maximize VRM Resources

Our survey data shows that the average VRM team spends 23.88 hours every week on vendor assessments. Higher-risk vendors, clarification follow-up, or unexpected assessments triggered by a security event only increase the demands on your time.

A small team can spend all of this time, week after week, simply collecting information. That’s before it can be analyzed or actually assessed for risk—to say nothing of actually managing the risks that do surface. It’s no wonder many companies simply forgo a rigorous assessment process.

Assessment Copilot reallocates time and resources from admin tasks to risk analysis and mitigation. Of course this means your organization will have a greater handle on existing risks, but it also helps you better understand your capacity for future risk—so you can make faster, more value-based decisions when it comes to selecting and adopting vendor solutions. 

Reason 3: Accept less risk

This one speaks for itself. If you’re one of the 93% of companies that wishes you could assess more of your vendors, or one of the 96% of companies that wants to do more in-depth assessments…well, now you can with Assessment Copilot. You don’t have to grit your teeth and just take on more risk to get where your business needs to go. 

Whistic AI Unlocks Modern VRM for Businesses Like Yours

The Whistic Platform leverages a powerful AI engine to deliver automated assessments. And it’s not just for buyers; vendors can also automate their Customer Trust processes and respond to more of their customers faster with our dual-sided approach. 

We are the industry leaders in the Artificial Intelligence that makes these major leaps possible. If you’re stuck facing the challenges of manual VRM, we’d love to show you how Assessment Copilot can modernize your approach. It only takes 30 minutes, so please set up some time to meet with our team of experts today!

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