Due to increased outsourcing, digitization, and globalization, vendor risk management has become a top concern for CISOs and senior management around the world.
These three forces have led to better products and services for consumers while giving organizations the ability to focus on core competencies while reducing costs and accessing new, global markets.
The unfortunate truth is a globally dispersed, highly networked, digitized organization faces an unprecedented number of cyber threats and resiliency risks that many businesses have chosen to ignore. This has resulted in governments establishing laws and regulations that require the establishment of third-party cyber risk management programs to better identify, assess, mitigate, and oversee the risks created by third-party vendors, fourth-parties, and even customers. These risks are known as first, second, third, and fourth-party risk.
Organizations that operate in highly regulated industries, such as financial services, healthcare, and energy have experience running these programs at scale. However, the regulatory scope has increased with the introduction of extraterritorial general data protection laws. Examples include the EU's GDPR, Canada's PIPEDA, Florida's FIPA, New York's SHIELD Act, California's CCPA, and Brazil's LGPD.
These laws mean that organizations in what were traditionally loosely regulated industries must now develop the expertise required to run a scalable and cost-effective risk assessment program across their supply chain to protect their customers and company.
Additionally, these laws often introduce data breach notification requirements which have increased the reputational and financial impact of poor vendor and cybersecurity risk management.
Today, more than ever before, security teams need to be able to translate technical details like security postures, cybersecurity risk assessments, vendor questionnaires, and information security policies into terms non-technical stakeholders can understand.
And that's exactly what many of these third-party risk management tools do, the issue is without past experience, it can be hard to choose the right solution for your organization. That's why we wrote this post to make it as easy as possible for you to compare BitSight, CyberGRX, and UpGuard.
Table of contents
- CyberGRX overview
- BitSight overview
- UpGuard overview
- BitSight vs. CyberGRX vs. UpGuard in-depth comparison
- Scoreboard and summary
- Other third-party risk management software comparisons
BitSight is a Cambridge-based company that aims to quantify the external cybersecurity posture of an organization using publicly accessible data. Its FICO-like BitSight security rating is used by underwriters for pricing cyber insurance, 3rd party research for third-party risk teams, and due diligence research for private equity and M&A activities, and more.
Additionally, these security ratings are used for security performance management and the assessment of third and fourth-party risk.
BitSight UI. Source: bitsight.com
CyberGRX is based in Denver, Colorado in the United States and founded by Fred Kneip in 2015. CyberGRX provides enterprises and their third-parties with a cost-effective and scalable approach to third-party cyber risk management.
It does this by collecting data and cyber risk assessments in a structured format and then sharing them on their information exchange platform. This allows assessors to quickly access information about a vendor while reducing the operational overhead for the vendor by reducing the number of similar questionnaires they need to fill out.
In December 2019, CyberGRX announced it had raised $40 million in Series D funding led by ICONIQ Capital.
CyberGRX UI. Source: www.cybergrx.com
UpGuard was founded in 2012 in Sydney, Australia by technologists from Australia's largest banks. Using their first-hand experience, they built a platform to fill an important need in the nascent DevOps market, reducing the risk of incidents through proactive documentation and configuration management.
With proprietary, patented data visualization and risk analysis algorithms, UpGuard gave Operations and Security teams the ability to discover and understand their risk exposure within the data center and cloud (e.g. Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Amazon Web Services) to reduce cybersecurity risk.
We then took this expertise and applied it to the assessment of external security postures, allowing you to instantly assess an organization. This assessment provides a security rating from 0 to 950. 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.
UpGuard is headquartered in Mountain View, California, with offices in Sydney, Hobart, Auckland, Mexico City, Madrid, Denver, Portland, and Atlanta.
BitSight vs. CyberGRX vs. UpGuard in-depth comparison
Learn about how BitSight, CyberGRX, and UpGuard stack up across ten categories including capabilities, usability, community support, release rate, API and extensibility, third-party integrations, customers, predictive capabilities, and security ratings.
BitSight and UpGuard provide security ratings that aggregate different risks into a single score that allows for immediate and easy comparison of different organizations, third-party vendors, and service providers.
CyberGRX is a little different. They rely on point-in-time assessments to determine enterprise risk and primarily focus on internal security controls and policies.
- BitSight: BitSight's security ratings are FICO-like and range from 250 to900.
- CyberGRX: Relies on a shared library, the CyberGRX exchange, of point-in-time risk assessments.
- UpGuard: Provides an always up-to-date score between 0 and 950 along with the following letter grades, A: 801-950, B: 601-800, C: 401-600, D: 201-400, F: 0-200. You can request your free security rating by clicking here.
According to Gartner, cybersecurity ratings will become as important as credit ratings when assessing the risk of existing and new business relationships…these services will become a precondition for business relationships and part of the standard of due care for providers and procurers of services. Additionally, the services will have expanded their scope to assess other areas, such as cyber insurance, due diligence for M&A and even as a raw metric for internal security programs.
Risk assessment methodology
Each service relies on a different risk assessment methodology to assess the potential risk of an IT vendor. BitSight relies on IP reputation which attempts to attribute malware traffic based on IP addresses. We've outlined in detail why we believe IP attribution isn't a complete solution for your third-party risk program.
CyberGRX provides a risk exchange based on a storehouse of validated third-party risk assessments. It's designed to remove inefficiencies in third-party risk management programs for vendors who are responding to the same risk assessments again and again. CyberGRX aims to let vendors do one assessment and share it with any company that wants it.
UpGuard scans for misconfigurations by looking at an organization's actual Internet footprint. These misconfigurations are then used to determine potential attack vectors and vulnerabilities that can lead to data breaches. Standardizing security assessment practices against recognized security frameworks, and making attestations easily shareable can help all businesses save time, resources, and increase trust in their supply chain. This is why UpGuard has also introduced a Security Assessment exchange to the market. UpGuard adds critical risk monitoring capabilities, integrated vendor processes, and accessibility to provide businesses with a complete solution for risk and compliance needs.
- BitSight: Relies primarily on IP reputation.
- CyberGRX: Relies on point-in-time risk assessments which can become out of date until the next assessment process.
- UpGuard: Runs hundreds of individual checks including email security and email spoofing risks (SPF, DKIM, and DMARC), website security (SSL, HSTS, header exposure), phishing and malware risk, explicit checks for 200 services across thousands of ports (mail, app, user auth, file sharing, voice, administration, database, unidentified, and open ports), domain hijacking risk (DNSSEC and domain registry issues), reputational risks (CEO rating and employee rating), credential management (exposure to known data breaches and data leaks detected by our data leak detection engine) and results of intelligent security questionnaires.
Not every solution is able to provide the same level of coverage. If your organization employs niche or specialist vendors, it may or may not be covered by the solution. This is a big deal. Successful cyber attacks, even on your smallest vendors, can lead to large data breaches. Just look at how one HVAC vendor led to the exposure of more than 110 million Target customers' personal data and credit card information.
- BitSight: 170,000 supported organizations.
- CyberGRX: 63,883 companies on the exchange.
- UpGuard: 2,000,000 organizations scanned daily and new vendors can be automatically added by customers.
2. Usability and learning curve
User experience, design, and functionality all have a big role to play when deciding on a solution. The better a product's product and design team, the quicker you can get up to speed and get what you are paying for. BitSight, CyberGRX, and UpGuard offer their services via SaaS with minimal installation or configuration required. Their products are easily accessible from web-based dashboards designed to help you find, assess, and remediate risks.
- BitSight: Provides high-level summation of vendor risk allowing easy comparison of vendors.
- CyberGRX: Risks detailed on each point-in-time vendor assessment, which means new risks are only detected during the next assessment process. Remediation requests are not available. Their risk assessments are aligned to NIST and ISO 27001.
- UpGuard: High-level summation of risk with the ability to drill down into precise technical details. Each risk is prioritized based on extensive research conducted by our in-house security team, and where possible remediation and protection suggestions are provided. Additionally, we have a library of pre-built questionnaires that can be sent and managed with the UpGuard platform including a pandemic (e.g. coronavirus), ISO 27001, PCI DSS, NIST Cybersecurity Framework, CCPA, and Modern Slavery questionnaires. Read our full guide on the top security questionnaires here.
|Usability and learning curve||4/5||4/5||5/5|
3. Community support
The more a company invests in its community, the quicker customers and prospects can get up to speed, reduce operational overhead, and drive business results. All three companies have blogs that are useful sources of information for cybersecurity awareness and vendor risk management training.
The level of investment each company has made in their community speaks volumes about their respect for the customer.
- BitSight: Company and product blog.
- CyberGRX: Company and product blog.
- UpGuard: The UpGuard cybersecurity and risk management blog is updated four times a week and our breach research blog has uncovered and secured some of the largest data breaches.
4. Release rate
Information security is always changing to keep up with changes in technology. New vulnerabilities are added to CVE on a daily basis, and attackers find new ways to exploit programming errors and invalid security controls constantly. CISOs need to be able to rely on their security tools to stay up to date, incorporating changes to respond to new threats and customer requests.
UpGuard has adopted DevOps principles internally to develop, test, and release software on a continuous basis, ensuring fast, consistent, and safe releases that are thoroughly tested.
5. Pricing and support
Third-party risk management software is an expensive industry. Often with opaque pricing policies designed to take power away from the customer. Vendor risk solutions are typically priced on a per vendor, per year basis except in some cases where reports can be generated for a fixed price.
CyberGRX has no transparency into their pricing, and BitSight is more expensive than UpGuard which may price out small to medium-size businesses and relegate large companies to managing only their most at-risk vendors. That said, all three providers have professional services designed to help with setup, ongoing training, and best practices.
- BitSight: Public pricing information is not available. Pricing is reported to start at $20,000 plus $2,000-$2,500 per vendor per year.
- CyberGRX: There is no public pricing available for CyberGRX, making it hard to know how much you would pay without talking to them.
- UpGuard: UpGuard has a transparent pricing model for UpGuard Vendor Risk and UpGuard BreachSight, which you can view here. Vendor Risk pricing starts at $179 for a one-time report on a vendor or $29 per month per vendor billed annually. UpGuard BreachSight pricing starts at $299 per month billed annually. If you have any questions, please let us know via email@example.com.
|Pricing and support||1/5||1/5||5/5|
6. API and extensibility
All three services have their own proprietary platform, but you may want to expose the data to an outside platform or consolidate reporting into a single product or service. If this is you, the good news is all solutions offer standard APIs to pull data into other enterprise applications.
|API and extensibility||4/5||4/5||4/5|
7. Third-party integrations
Not all vendor risk management teams have access to technical staff who have the expertise required to work with APIs. Because of this, standard third-party integrations can be an important part of decision-making.
- BitSight: Offers integrations with RSA Archer GRC, CyberGRX, OneTrust Vendorpedia, ProcessUnity, MetricStream, and more.
- CyberGRX: Integrates with BitSight, Optiv, and other platforms.
- UpGuard: Integrates with GRC platforms, ticketing systems like ServiceNow, and more.
The best proof of a product's worth is often its customers. With that said, all three companies have impressive customer lists, none more distinguished than the other.
- BitSight: Customers include The University of North Florida, Snam, EPAM, and PROSA.
- CyberGRX: Customers include ADP, Blackstone, aetna, GV, and ClearSky.
- UpGuard: Customers include NASA, the New York Stock Exchange (ICE), Morningstar, Akamai, Bill.com, IAG, and ADP. Read our customer case studies here and our Gartner reviews here.
9. Predictive capabilities
At the end of the day, the reason we invest in these tools is to prevent security incidents from happening. This makes a solution's ability to prevent data breaches and other cyber attacks the most important consideration.
What differentiates BitSight, CyberGRX, and UpGuard are how well their methodologies are able to determine real attack vectors, as well as their ability to detect data breaches and data leaks before they end up on the dark web.
- BitSight: The IP reputation methodology helps catch active malware installations, but that’s only one possible way a data breach can occur.
- CyberGRX: Relies on risk assessments which can quickly become out of date as new zero-day exploits are discovered and new IT infrastructure is used. The truth is that questionnaires, much like penetration testing, can be subjective and become inaccurate over time as new security issues emerge. Additionally, CyberGRX provides no controls for capturing data loss incidents.
- UpGuard: As UpGuard checks for misconfigurations across your Internet footprint, many important breach vectors are covered, including phishing, ransomware susceptibility (like WannaCry), man-in-the-middle attacks, DNSSEC, vulnerabilities, email spoofing, domain hijacking, and DNS issues. For example, we were able to detect data exposed in a GitHub repository by an AWS engineer in 30 minutes. We reported it to AWS and the repo was secured the same day. This repo contained personal identity documents and system credentials including passwords, AWS key pairs, and private keys. We're able to do this because we actively discover exposed datasets on the open and deep web, scouring open S3 buckets, public Github repos, and unsecured RSync and FTP servers. Our data leak discovery engine continuously searches for keyword lists provided by our customers and is continually refined by our team of analysts, using the expertise and techniques gleaned from years of breach research. The UpGuard methodology is continuously refined based on the actual data breaches we have discovered and reported to the world in the New York Times, Bloomberg, Washington Post, Forbes, and TechCrunch.
10. Security rating
Finally, let's take a look at how all three platforms compare when assessed by UpGuard's platform on March 30, 2020. It's important to note that UpGuard adheres to the Principles of Fair and Accurate Security Ratings:
- Transparency: UpGuard believes in providing full and timely transparency not only to our customers but to any organization that wants to understand their security posture, which is why you can request your free security rating here and you can book a free trial of our platform here.
- Dispute, Correction, and Appeal: UpGuard is committed to working with customers, vendors and any organization that believes their score is not accurate or outdated.
- Accuracy and Validation: UpGuard's security ratings are empirical, data-driven and based on independently verifiable and accessible information.
- Model Governance: While the datasets and methodologies used to calculate our security ratings can change from time to time to better reflect our understanding of how to mitigate cybersecurity risk, we provide reasonable notice and explanation to our customers about how their security rating may be impacted.
- Independence: No commercial agreement or lack thereof, gives an organization the ability to improve its security rating without improving their security posture.
- Confidentiality: Any information disclosed to UpGuard during the course of a challenged rating or dispute is appropriately protected. Nor do we provide third-parties with sensitive or confidential information on rated organizations that could lead to system compromise.
Although all platforms have a good security rating, UpGuard leads the pack by 82 points.
- BitSight: 700/950 or B letter grade
- CyberGRX: 837/950 or A letter grade
- UpGuard: 919/950 or A letter grade
Scoreboard and summary
Usability and learning curve
Pricing and support
API and extensibility
Deciding between BitSight, CyberGRX, and UpGuard isn't an easy decision. It will depend on your objectives, risk appetite, and budget.
At the end of the day, the easiest way to see which platform you like is to use each before deciding. That's why you can book a free tailored 7-day trial on UpGuard's platform here. You'll get access to UpGuard Vendor Risk and UpGuard BreachSight for those seven days.
Security ratings are important, as are point-in-time assessments but neither of them are a complete solution when used by themselves. That's why UpGuard uses both, examining an organization's Internet footprint across all vectors by which data exposure and service outage can occur, and sending security questionnaires.
Our vendor questionnaire library can help you go beyond security ratings and to the assessment of internal security controls that aren't as easily determined. UpGuard is also the only company to offer a complete 360-degree view of third-party cyber risk exposure and an internal cyber risk management solution, Core, allowing organizations to completely manage primary risk as well.
UpGuard's easy to use platform is a complete security platform that gives you great insight into your security posture and your vendors', as well as how your organization's security posture is perceived from the outside. Giving you and your business partners a clear understanding of how and where to improve your cybersecurity and information security to prevent cyber attacks and reduce cybersecurity threats.
Try UpGuard for free for 7 days by clicking here. Before your 7-day trial begins, we'll provide you and your team with a free, personalized 45-minute onboarding call with one of our cybersecurity experts. They’ll help you get the most out of the UpGuard platform by showing you how to:
- Continuously monitor your third-party vendors
- Detect and remediate any leaked credentials and data exposures
- Instantly assess your external security posture
Other third-party risk management platform comparisons
If you'd like to compare other third-party risk management software, see our other comparison posts:
- BitSight vs. SecurityScorecard
- SecurityScorecard vs. RiskRecon
- BitSight vs. RiskRecon
- RiskRecon vs. UpGuard
- BitSight vs. UpGuard
- CyberGRX vs. UpGuard
- SecurityScorecard vs. CyberGRX
- CyberGRX vs. RiskRecon
- Whistic vs. UpGuard
- Bitsight vs. Whistic
- SecurityScorecard vs. Whistic
- CyberGRX vs. Whistic
- RiskRecon vs. Whistic
- BitSight vs. Prevalent
- SecurityScorecard vs. Prevalent
- Prevalent vs. RiskRecon
- Prevalent vs. CyberGRX
- Prevalent vs. Whistic
- Prevalent vs. UpGuard
- NormShield vs. SecurityScorecard
- RiskIQ vs. UpGuard
- RiskIQ vs. BitSight
- RiskIQ vs. SecurityScorecard
- NormShield vs. UpGuard
- NormShield vs. BitSight
- NormShield vs. RiskRecon
- SecurityScorecard vs. UpGuard
- Prevalent vs. NormShield