Transforming Higher Education Vendor Risk Management with HECVAT

The field of higher education is growing increasingly digital in their operations, and with this shift toward online and cloud-based solutions has come greater vulnerability to cybersecurity threats. Most colleges and universities rely on a team of internal workers and external vendors to keep things running smoothly, but outsourcing carries inherent risks that must be managed in order to protect organizational security.


The Higher Education Community Vendor Assessment Toolkit (HECVAT) is a security assessment framework designed to help higher education institutions manage third-party vendor risk. Using the HECVAT allows organizations to streamline the risk management process, ensuring all vendors are held to a consistently high standard.


Here are several ways leveraging the HECVAT framework can help your institution identify potential security risks and protect against vulnerabilities.


Protect your cybersecurity


In the wake of the pandemic, higher education as a whole has been forced to adapt to a rapidly changing global health landscape. With this change has come an increasing demand for remote and hybrid learning options, bringing more and more institutional data online.


As higher learning continues to go digital, protecting cybersecurity will become increasingly vital. Third-party risk management is of key importance in this process, as every potential vendor should be thoroughly vetted before gaining access to your institution’s sensitive data. Failing to do so could have serious impacts, from loss of data to shutdown of important systems or functions.


The HECVAT helps your institution protect and maintain cybersecurity by making it easy to evaluate for red flags in the third-party risk management process. Simplifying an otherwise difficult and confusing process equips your institution with the tools to identify and select secure vendors with confidence.


Save time and money


The process of manually evaluating countless third-party vendors is an expensive and time-consuming one. And, assessing vendors without the help of a consistent framework leaves your institution particularly vulnerable to human error.


Employing the use of a well-established and industry recognized assessment tool like the HECVAT transforms the risk management process, freeing up time and money for other important tasks. The standardized framework makes assessing vendor standards and security simple and efficient, without compromising on accuracy.


Find the tool that suits your needs


No higher education institution is exactly like the next, meaning there is no one-size-fits-all approach to vendor risk management. The HECVAT is easily adaptable with three assessment tools for different institutional needs.

HECVAT Full: An exhaustive questionnaire with more than 250 questions, perfect for protecting your most sensitive data.

HECVAT Lite: A shortened, less intense version of the HECVAT Full, ideal for rapid assessment of vendors requiring access to less sensitive data.

HECVAT On-Premise: An assessment specific to evaluating on-premise software and appliances.


Third-party risk management is an essential component of protecting your higher education institution’s cybersecurity. Manually managing the assessment process is tedious and leaves your organization open to vulnerabilities caused by human error. Using standardized assessment tools like the HECVAT ensures the best defense of your critical data.


Here at Privva, we are experts in helping you manage vendor risk assessments. From sending to scoring, Privva streamlines your risk management process for best results. Reach out today to learn more about how Privva can help.


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