What if you could reduce the time it takes to request and respond to vendor security questionnaires from days, weeks, or months to minutes—or even seconds?
The possibilities inherent in that question are the stuff risk and InfoSec leaders daydream about when they need a break from their manual spreadsheets, email inbox, or security documentation as they respond to another questionnaire.
But advances in AI are bringing those possibilities to life. The Whistic quest to eliminate the security questionnaire for good has led us to major investments in AI capabilities, and we are so excited to share the latest leap forward: Smart Response.
What is AI-powered Smart Response?
In short, Smart Response uses a powerful AI engine to automatically source responses to security questionnaires from your existing security documentation and previous questionnaire responses. Here’s how it works:
- Users upload all security documentation, certifications, and previous questionnaire responses into Whistic’s Knowledge Base. Knowledge Base becomes a centralized repository for your security posture (p.s. You can also query your Knowledge Base using AI-powered Smart Search to locate specific documents).
- Whenever a questionnaire request is received, it can be uploaded into Smart Response. Users have the option of automatically answering the questionnaire with AI.
- If they elect to use the AI capabilities, Smart Response will scan their Knowledge Base for context-based answers to the questions. This contextual search means that Smart Response identifies question intent, not simply specific phrasing. So, it even works for customized questionnaires.
- Questionnaire answers are populated automatically and within minutes. Smart Response provides an answer to the question, a confidence score that reflects its degree of certainty, rationale for its response rendered in Natural Language, and a citation of the document from which the answer was sourced.
- Users can then accept or reject answers where appropriate. If the answers are accepted, those questions and responses are added to Knowledge Base, so Smart Response will have them ready for the next questionnaire.
- Once the questionnaire is completed, you can share the responses through commonly used platforms like Slack or Salesforce with Whistic integrations, or download the responses for email.
8 Ways AI-powered Smart Response Can Transform Your TPRM
The better headline for this article might’ve been, “What’s NOT to Love About Smart Response?”. It would’ve at least been much shorter. We’ve been working closely with our customers who are already using Smart Response, and here is just a sampling of things they’re excited about.
1. Frees up InfoSec
What could the best and brightest members of your security and risk teams do if they didn’t have to spend endless hours responding to security questionnaire requests? It’s a question many companies don’t have the answer to, because they’ve never been able to liberate their InfoSec teams from the manual work of answering assessments—plus all the back and forth on follow-ups or one-off questions.
Smart Response AI automatically responds to questionnaires and sources all relevant documentation. That means that even if you wanted or needed to audit the AI responses manually, you’d have all the information you’d need to do so at your fingertips. The opportunity value in time going back to InfoSec can have a massive impact on your business.
2. Eliminates the fear of the questionnaire
Smart Response is fantastic at responding to industry-standard, pre-answered questionnaires in minutes, but what about the custom questionnaires that really slow things down? The Smart Response AI engine understands the intent of a question, regardless of how it’s phrased.
That means it can source your security documentation for meaningful answers to even customized questionnaires. It’s a win-win: software buyers get the confidence and specificity of their own customized questionnaire, and software vendors can build trust and close deals faster.
3. Gives you the “why”
It’s critical that responses to security questionnaires are thorough, accurate, and trustworthy. Smart Response not only answers security questions, it also provides the reasoning and confidence score behind its conclusions. It will also provide citations in your security documentation, as well as identify the relevant portions of the document it’s referencing.
Better yet, Smart Response will not make a guess if it doesn’t know the correct answer to your query. If it doesn’t have an answer that seems precise enough, it will not mark the question answered—but it will still provide its rationale and any associated documentation. That gives you the opportunity to check on that question quickly, and either reject or approve the response. If you accept the response and add it to your Knowledge Base, Smart Response will answer the question with confidence the next time.
4. Minimizes the manual
With Smart Response, you no longer have to maintain a question-and-answer library or keep it up to date manually. Whenever you add documentation to your Knowledge Base, add responses to previous questionnaires, or accept an answer to a custom query, Smart Response will reference them contextually and automatically. Goodbye, manual step.
Even if there are good reasons to manually audit responses, you won’t have to do any of the tedious manual work of poring through documents for answers; Smart Response brings those materials right to you.
5. Empowers Sales to close more deals
Out of necessity, Sales teams are often involved in responding to questionnaires, fielding one-off security questions for prospects, or going back and forth with InfoSec for answers or clarifications. To reduce this headache and allow Sales to focus on closing deals and providing great client service, Smart Response comes with permission controls that give limited Whistic access to non-admin users.
That means that InfoSec retains control of your security documentation and visibility, so Sales can query your Whistic Knowledge Base for answers—without having to speak with InfoSec at all. Best of all, Smart Response comes with Natural Language capabilities, so your Sales team can actually understand and effectively communicate the answers to one-off questions or follow ups. That’s better, faster service, so Sales can focus on closing more deals and InfoSec can focus on reducing risk.
6. Raises the security acumen of your business
Because Smart Response provides thorough answers, cites specific security documentation, responds in plain language, and includes context, it can be an incredibly useful tool for educating more people across the organization about your security posture.
In fact, one Whistic customer has even started using Smart Response to train new hires on its security team. By using the tool to respond to questions, they are organically exposed to a broad range of security information and the rationale behind it. The same customer also reports that Smart Response will help them better allocate security resources; more junior team members can now handle questionnaire responses while gaining more expertise. This frees up senior security leaders for more complex tasks AND helps to build a deeper bench for your InfoSec team.
7. Builds customer trust
It’s easy to get excited by the speed and accuracy of Smart Response, but it’s really about much more than simply checking a box so you can move on to something else. It’s about helping you and your customers truly understand security posture.
Purchasing new software is a huge deal. It’s not just the cost; new software changes the way a company works, and that’s a big commitment. Buyers need assurance that their security concerns are addressed. Smart Response gives them a depth of information that builds trust. It also helps them more accurately identify and understand potential risks, so they can adjust their management strategy and better avoid costly breaches.
8. Creates a safer, stronger business
Smart Response moves the focus away from all the arduous processes and places it back on security insights and intelligence. We just touched on the impact this can have on software buyers, but sellers benefit, too.
Smart Response makes it easier to identify strengths and weaknesses in your own security posture every time you are assessed. It helps you devote the right resources to the right problems at the right time. And, by saving your responses to new or custom questions, it helps you identify security trends over time, so you can adapt your approach. It also gives you tools to measure this growth, so you can prove ROI and secure important security investment.
Start Getting Questionnaire Responses in Minutes or Seconds
There’s so many reasons to be excited about Smart Response; we could’ve gone on and on. But the best way to find out if it’s a good fit for your business is to see it for yourself.
We offer two easy ways to experience the Whistic difference in a fast, easy, hassle-free environment:
- Want to jump right in? We offer an absolutely FREE Basic Whistic Trust Center. To make sure you get the most out of your free experience, we provide a personalized 20-minute consultation to show you how it works and maximize your value.
- Want a full overview of the entire dual-sided, AI-driven platform? Schedule a full demo with our team of experts. We’ll show you all the ways Whistic can accelerate the total TPRM process for both software buyers and sellers. That’s right; we can help you out whether you're being assessed or doing the assessing.
It’s never been easier to save time, maximize resources, and accelerate sales. Get started today!