Security ratings or cybersecurity ratings are a data-driven, objective, and dynamic measurement of an organization's security posture. They are created by a trusted, independent security rating platform making them valuable as an objective indicator of an organization's cybersecurity performance.
Just as credit ratings and FICO scores aim to provide a quantitative measure of credit risk, security ratings aim to provide a quantitative measure of cyber risk.
The higher an organization's security rating, the better its security posture.
Common use cases for security ratings
Security ratings are commonly used by third-party risk management (TPRM) teams to manage vendors, investment targets, and insurance applicants, as well as internal security teams as part of their cybersecurity performance management process.
The reason security ratings has been widely adopted is because they can supplement and often replace time-consuming vendor risk assessment techniques like security questionnaires, on-site visits, and penetration tests. Most importantly, they are always up-to-date.
This gives cybersecurity teams the ability to instantly identify security issues, allowing them to prioritize vendor risks and first-party risks need to be remediated first.
Third-party risk management use cases
Third-party risk management teams use security ratings to:
- Understand third-party risk and fourth-party risk (vendor risk) posed by supply chain, third-party vendor, and business partner relationships.
- Underwrite and better price as it provides visibility into the security program of policy holders
- Independently assess the information security controls of an investment or M&A target
- Enable governments to better understand their vendors' cybersecurity performance, a key component of FISMA compliance.
- Reduce the operational burden during vendor selection, due diligence, onboarding, and continuous monitoring.
- Improve vendor remediation efforts by providing context around what needs to be fixed first.
Cybersecurity performance management use cases
Internal security teams use security ratings to:
- Continually assess their own security posture
- Provide CISOs with a simple, understandable rating that can be presented to key stakeholders including the C-Suite and Board.
- Benchmark and compare themself to their industry peers, competitors, sector, and vendors. This can assist with decision-making and provide context about what security controls or remediation your organization needs to invest in.
- Provide assurance that your organization cares about preventing security issues like data breaches, malware, and ransomware to customers insurers, regulators, and other stakeholders