Businesses’ today rely on 3rd party providers, particularly Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. But is every SaaS provider inherently secure? Definitely not. That’s where the necessity of 3rd Party Provider Assurance comes into play.

Understanding 3rd Party Provider Assurance

3rd Party Provider Assurance is the process of evaluating and ensuring that a vendor’s product or service meets specific security and compliance standards. The practice involves assessing the external provider’s security measures, policies, and procedures.

Why 3rd Party Provider Assurance is Vital

  1. Risk Mitigation: Ensures that the provider’s services do not expose your organisation to unnecessary risks.
  2. Compliance: Helps in maintaining alignment with legal and industry regulations.
  3. Trust Building: Instils confidence in your clients and stakeholders that the services being utilised are secure and reliable.

Cyber Security Criteria for SaaS Providers

Most people assume that SaaS is inherently secure. However, that’s not always the case. Here’s a (very basic and introductory) table to help you define the cyber security criteria for assessing a SaaS provider:

Criteria Questions to Ask
Data Encryption How is data encrypted during transit and at rest?
Compliance Standards What regulations do you adhere to?
Access Controls How do you manage user access and authentication?
Incident Response Plan What’s your plan in case of a cyber breach?

FAQ: 3rd Party Provider Assurance and Cyber Security Criteria for SaaS

1. Why is 3rd party provider assurance necessary?

  • Answer: To ensure that the external provider’s services meet the required security, compliance, and quality standards. Without proper assurance, organisations risk exposure to cyber security threats, non-compliance with regulations, and potential financial and reputational damage.

2. Isn’t SaaS inherently secure?

  • Answer: While many SaaS providers invest in robust security measures, it’s a mistake to assume all SaaS offerings are equally secure. Organisations must assess individual providers to ensure they meet specific security requirements.

3. How do I evaluate a SaaS provider’s security?

  • Answer: You can evaluate a provider’s security by asking them to provide details about their security practices, such as data encryption, compliance standards, access controls, and incident response plans. The provided table above can be a helpful tool.

4. What regulations should a SaaS provider comply with?

  • Answer: The regulations will vary based on the industry, location, and specific needs of your organisation. Common ones include GDPR for data protection in Europe, HIPAA for healthcare in the U.S., and more.

5. Can I trust a SaaS provider’s self-assessment?

  • Answer: While a provider’s self-assessment can be informative, it is advisable to seek third-party verification, such as industry certifications (e.g., ISO 27001), or conduct an independent audit to validate their claims.

6. What if a SaaS provider does not meet my security criteria?

  • Answer: If a provider does not meet your specific security criteria, it may be prudent to look for alternative providers or work with the provider to understand if they can enhance their security measures to meet your requirements.

7. Where can I find more information on cyber security standards for SaaS?

  • Answer: Industry bodies like NIST, ISO, and regulatory agencies often provide guidelines and standards for cyber security. You may also consult with cyber security experts or consider industry-specific forums and publications.


3rd Party Provider Assurance is an essential part of cyber security that ensures your organisation’s safety, compliance, and reputation. By understanding the critical factors and applying proper assessment tools, you can ensure that your SaaS providers meet the standards that align with your organisational goals.