How Do UpGuard Cyber Security Ratings Work?

Last updated by UpGuard on January 15, 2020

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With the ongoing problem of data breaches along with the risks associated with third-party vendors, assessing and controlling cyber risk has become a priority for all organizations. UpGuard Cyber Security Ratings (CSR) help give business context to the complexity of cybersecurity. They provide a 360-degree view of cyber risk, both internal and external to the organization.

What are UpGuard Cyber Security Ratings?

Historically, cyber risk been measured through a combination of manual processes such as employee surveys and rudimentary automated scanning. However, without reliable, comparable risk assessments, organizations cannot benchmark their cybersecurity performance and improve it over time.

UpGuard Cyber Security Ratings (CSR) are a single, easy-to-understand score from 0-950 that represent an organization's cybersecurity performance. Similar to a consumer credit score for cybersecurity. A higher rating represents better performance. Our ratings are updated in real-time, and all available online through UpGuard's software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform.

UpGuard CSR takes into account historical security performance and performance over time. Alerts are generated upon significant changes in ratings, and actionable information is provided to remediate specific risks. The simplicity of the UpGuard platform means that less training is needed to get started and to understand the data.

How do we calculate Cyber Security Ratings?

Based on billions of data points, we calculate an instant snapshot of an organization that covers the following basic elements of security:

  • Security misconfigurations
  • Indicators of malware, phishing, and similar attacks
  • Susceptibility to web vulnerabilities
  • Weaknesses in security practices and hygiene
The above factors combine to create a basic security rating for the organization. We provide a small subset of these data points for free in our free website security assessment.

Vendor Risk Management

Given the number of data breaches caused by third-party vendors, their cybersecurity performance is an integral factor of an organization's CSR. So in addition to the basic rating of an organization's own digital presence, the UpGuard VendorRisk product layers in their vendors' cybersecurity performance.

UpGuard VendorRisk helps with vendor risk management by automating the often tedious, time-consuming process of regular security questionnaires. When we calculate an organization's CSR, we are also able to include vendor security performance in two ways:

  • Vendor security ratings.
  • Vendor responses to security questionnaires.

Both these indicators are automatically assessed and factored into an organization's overall cyber security rating.

How are Cyber Security Ratings used?

UpGuard CSR is being used in a variety of ways, from benchmarking to cyber insurance and investment management.

Benchmarking of security performance

CISOs, CIOs and IT security professionals use UpGuard CSR to measure their organizational cybersecurity performance over time. Data is available for trend reporting and analysis, all the way down to specific risks that can be assessed and remediated to improve their organization's security posture.

Ratings can also be compared to industry averages and competitors, to help move organizations towards best practice.

Cyber Insurance

Cyber insurers and brokers are beginning to use ratings to measure the health of their book of business. Combined with other insurance factors, security ratings are being used to help underwrite risk and calculate premiums.

Investment management

Institutional investors use UpGuard CSR as part of their due diligence, and especially to monitor the security performance of their portfolio companies. Venture capital investors sometimes hold positions in hundreds of companies, any one of which could pose a risk to their portfolio. With the speed of technology adoption, a data breach or cybersecurity incident is almost inevitable. UpGuard helps investors understand and protect their investments, by giving portfolio companies actionable security insights and reporting.

What about Cyber Security Ratings for my internal IT assets?

Customers using the UpGuard Core product also benefit from 360 degree monitoring of their compliance, system integrity and security. UpGuard Core helps with:

  • Testing of internal IT platforms, verifying their integrity.
  • Validation of system changes, maximizing IT service uptime and availability.
  • Security by scanning for security vulnerabilities across the organization.

Using these indicators, UpGuard generates a CSR for internal IT platforms and assets. Customers who use the UpGuard suite are in a unique position where they are able to assess a 360 degree view of their cybersecurity performance.

Ready to get started? Book a free, tailored demo to see how UpGuard Cyber Security Ratings can help your organization.  

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