November 22, 2022
4
minutes

The Founder’s Guide To Solving Security Questionnaires In A Market Downturn

Business success in 2023 will demand an entirely different playbook than it has over the past few years as companies pivot away from a “growth-at-all-costs” mindset and focus on mission-critical projects like shoring up sales’ win rate and boosting existing team productivity.

Higher interest rates have put the focus on revenue and expenses closer to the present. The layoffs and spending reductions  have impacted both startups and public companies. Raising revenue efficiency and eliminating chaotic processes are still the most efficient ways of reaching organizations’ growth goals.

Building a resilient business is always top of mind as a founder and revenue leader. When SecurityPal announced its Series A funding this fall I discussed how companies should shift gears in a market downturn. Founders need to balance competing priorities but I think one in particular – increasing go-to-market agility – will separate healthy businesses from the “zombies” relatively soon.

Organizations that can embrace agility in their go-to-market functions stand the best chance of thriving over the coming years. With its impact on revenue, cross-functional dependencies and daunting complexity in the enterprise, organizations need to solve go-to-market bottlenecks like the Security Questionnaires that so often hold up productivity and revenue – now.

Here’s why Security Questionnaires deserve your attention and how you can solve this critical bottleneck at scale.

Growth’s Double-Edged Sword

Security Questionnaires are already holding up revenue and forcing valuable security tradeoffs at countless companies. Organizations trying to solve this bottleneck with internal teams and tooling face two main challenges: the increasing Security Review volume driven by (among other things) state-specific privacy laws in the United States and customized, in-depth Reviews that come with upmarket growth.

The United States is becoming more like Europe when it comes to region-specific privacy laws. As the UK has decided to replace the EU’s GDPR privacy standard with its own, our state legislatures are busy drafting scores of new localized rules for companies who do business there. These aren’t guidelines; compliance is mandatory in states like California, Colorado, Virginia, Connecticut, and others. Four more states are actively debating privacy bills like California’s and countless others have drafted legislation ready to go. This is a sea change in how businesses should attack Security Questionnaires.

Most companies also see a natural rise in Security Review volume as they grow. Local privacy laws will open the Security Questionnaires floodgates and overwhelm internal teams with Questionnaire formats they’ve never seen. Winning those customers shouldn’t come at the expense of value-adding security projects, better serving customers, enhancing risk mitigation, or any number of tasks that Security Review teams complete to put themselves closer to revenue.

Enterprise Security Questionnaires arguably pose the biggest challenge to GTM teams. It’s no wonder why these customers are so sought after: growing in the enterprise helps companies build more business durability. Larger customers are less likely to churn unexpectedly as they seek out partners that can support their long-term success. But these same coveted customers are more likely to demand incredibly long, complex, and customized Security Questionnaires as a prerequisite of getting their business.

Teams that answer enterprise Security Questionnaires are fighting physics to complete them at all. Answer Libraries – the databases companies typically use to respond to Security Reviews – have a half-life that’s proportional to the rate at which your Security Posture changes and your headcount changes. Answer Library updates are usually assigned to one team which, after spending days on a single Questionnaire, then has the unenviable job of updating the Answer Library again. It’s a workflow built in good faith that just doesn’t work. Founders and builders need an alternative approach.

Future-proofing Security Questionnaires

In my own search to solve Security Questionnaires, I discovered that a managed service – underpinned with accessible technology – is the only way to truly complete them. Organizations need the speed and answer quality of a scaled analyst team while also retaining access to a continuously updated Answer Library they can access but don’t need to manage.

Some companies that found themselves on the back foot over the last several months got there by prioritizing short-term gains over building a resilient, future-proof business. Whether or not that applies to your team, future-proofing Security Questionnaires is an opportunity to stay ahead of competitors no matter what 2023 and beyond brings.

Curious what SecurityPal can do for you? Book a meeting with us today.

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Pukar C. Hamal
Chief Executive Officer