CyberGRX vs Whistic Comparison

Last updated by Abi Tyas Tunggal on May 7, 2020

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The amount of cyber risk the average organization is taking on has never been higher, a big part of it in the form of third-party and fourth-party risk. A household name reporting a data breach or data leak feels like a daily occurrence. And with the average cost of a data breach reaching close to $4 million dollars according to a recent study by the Ponemon Institute, organizations are looking for new ways to prevent them

The unfortunate truth is third-parties cause a lot of data breaches. That's why cybersecurity and vendor risk management (VRM) has become a top priority for CISOs, Vice Presidents of Security, and other members of senior management, even at the Board level. 

Beyond avoiding costs, third-party risk management is quickly becoming a regulatory requirement for many industries. Governments are enacting laws and regulations designed to promote or require the use of third-party cyber risk management programs to identify, assess, mitigate and oversee risks created by vendors, fourth-parties, and customers. 

This is business-as-usual for financial services, healthcare, energy, military, and government organizations. But it's a new problem for other industries.  

The introduction of general data protection laws with extraterritorial application means most organizations need to invest in developing vendor risk management practices

For example in the United States California has introduced CCPA and Florida has introduced FIPA to protect the personally identifiable information of their constituents. Outside of the United States, GDPR, LGPD, and PIPEDA are three important extraterritorial laws from the European Union, Brazil, and Canada respectively. 

Alongside the protection of PII and PHI, many of these laws have introduced mandatory data breach notification requirements which have greatly increased the reputational impact of inadequate vendor and cybersecurity risk management practices

To add to this, security teams have more expected to not only manage and improve security postures and information security policies, but to translate technical details from cybersecurity risk assessments and vendor questionnaires into terms that non-technical stakeholders can understand.

The good news is third-party risk management tools can help you do exactly that. The issue is it's hard to decide on which ones to assess, let alone what criteria to assess them against.  

That's why we wrote this post to provide you with a clear comparison between CyberGRX, Whistic, and UpGuard, so you can make an informed decision and choose the tool that is right for you.  

Table of contents

CyberGRX overview

CyberGRX is a Denver-based company that was founded by Fred Kneip in 2015. It provides organizations and third-parties with a cost-effective, scalable approach to third-party risk management.

The CyberGRX Exchange collects standardized data and cyber risk assessments, sharing them for others to use. This means assessors can access information about a vendor and vendors no longer need to answer the same questionnaires over and over.

In December 2019, CyberGRX announced it had raised $40 million in a Series D funding round led by ICONIQ Capital.

CyberGRX UI

CyberGRX UI. Source: cybergrx.com

Whistic overview

Whistic is based in Salt Lake City, Utah and aims to help companies hold each other accountable for protecting their shared data. Whistic's CEO is Nick Sorensen. 

Whistic helps its customers conduct and respond to security reviews.

Their platform has tools to help you onboard, assess, and track vendors, allowing you to compare third-parties against a set of predefined criteria based on vendor questionnaires, documentation, and metadata.

Vendors can assess themselves against one of the top vendor questionnaires and publish it to their profile, along with supporting documentation including audits and certifications.  

Whistic UI

Whistic UI. Source: whistic.com

UpGuard overview

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 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 data centers and cloud services to reduce cybersecurity risk. 

We then took this expertise and applied it to external security performance assessment. UpGuard Vendor Risk allows you to instantly assess the external security performance of any organization and produce a security rating from 0 to 950. 

Additionally, UpGuard BreachSight allows you to instantly assess your own organization's external security posture while continuously monitoring for data leaks and exposed credentials. 

Our data breach and security research has been featured in the New York Times, Bloomberg, Washington Post, Forbes, and TechCrunch.

UpGuard UI

CyberGRX vs. Whistic vs. UpGuard in-depth comparison

Learn about how CyberGRX, Whistic, and UpGuard compare across ten categories including capabilities, usability, community support, release rate, API and extensibility, third-party integrations, customers, predictive capabilities, and security ratings. 

1. Capabilities

CyberGRX and Whistic rely on point-in-time risk assessments to determine risk, primarily focusing on internal security controls and policies of third-party vendors or service providers.

UpGuard also uses cyber risk assessments but augments them with security ratings based on thousands of individual checks. The benefit of security ratings is that they are always up-to-date and continually refined based on new data.

As you know, getting a time-poor vendor to complete a questionnaire can take time. And the results can be subjective and are rendered inaccurate over time as new security issues emerge.  

That doesn't mean questionnaires don't have a place. They provide valuable information that security ratings cannot generally provide, that is, information about internal security issues and controls. 

When paired, security ratings and risk assessments provide a holistic view of an organization's internal and external security posture.

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.

Read our full guide on security ratings to understand all their use cases

  • CyberGRX: Relies on a shared library of point-in-time risk assessments.
  • Whistic: Relies on standardized security questionnaires.
  • UpGuard: Provides a 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.

Risk assessment methodology

CyberGRX provides a risk exchange platform that leverages a storehouse of validated third-party risk assessments. It is designed to remove inefficiencies in the assessors and the assessed's third-party risk management program by allowing vendors to complete a single assessment and then share it on the platform.

Whistic takes a similar approach to CyberGRX, and is focused on conducting and responding to security reviews. Their platform is designed to remove inefficiencies in third-party risk management programs for organizations and their vendors alike, rather than completing the same questionnaire over and over, they can choose to publish it to their security profile. 

At UpGuard, we believe the standardization of security assessments practices against recognized security frameworks and making attestations easily shareable helps everyone save time, resources, and increases trust across the supply chain.  

That's why, like Whistic and CyberGRX, UpGuard has developed a way for organizations to publish their security information and attestations by publishing it to completed security questionnaires and supporting documentation to a secure UpGuard security profile. 

In addition to completed security questionnaires, security profiles use security ratings to provide real-time critical risk monitoring capabilities. And the UpGuard platform also has integrated vendor and remediation processes to provide you with a complete solution.  

  • 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.
  • Whistic: Relies on point-in-time risk assessments that can become outdated until the next assessment process.
  • UpGuard: Augments point-in-time risk assessments with security ratings to ensure information is always up-to-date. Our security ratings algorithm 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). Each identified issue is given a risk prioritization category so you know what represents the highest risk. 

Scope

As you know, even small vendors can lead to large data breaches, e.g. the HVAC vendor that eventually led to Target's exposure of credit card and personal data on more than 110 million consumers.

CyberGRX has 63,883 companies on their exchange while Whistic relies on manual point-in-time risk assessment, so they may not cover small or specialist service providers. In contrast, UpGuard scans over 2 million companies every day.

Not every solution provides the same level of coverage. If your organization employs small specialist vendors they may not be covered by a solution. As you know, any vendor that handles sensitive data is a potential risk that should be continuously monitored and accounted for.

  • CyberGRX: 63,883 companies on the exchange.
  • Whistic: Unknown
  • UpGuard: 2,000,000 organizations scanned daily and new vendors can be automatically added by customers.
  CyberGRX Whistic UpGuard
Capabilities 2/5 2/5 5/5

 

2. Usability and learning curve

How easy a product is to use depends on the quality of the organization's product, design, and engineering teams, and will play a large part in how quickly you can get up to speed and start using the tool to its potential.  

CyberGRX, Whistic, and UpGuard offer their services via SaaS and are accessible from web-based platforms that can help you find, assess, and monitor 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.
  • Whistic: 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 the VSA questionnaire, CAIQ, SIG, NIST Cybersecurity Framework, CIS Security Controls, and Privacy Shield Framework.
  • 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. COVID-19), ISO 27001, PCI DSS, NIST Cybersecurity Framework, CCPA, and Modern Slavery questionnaires. Read our full guide on the top security questionnaires here.
  CyberGRX Whistic UpGuard
Usability and learning curve 4/5 4/5 5/5

3. Community support

CyberGRX, Whistic, and UpGuard all invest in their community and try to make it as easy as possible for customers and prospects to get up to speed, reduce operational overhead, and decide on the right product for them. 

Each company has its own blog that is a useful source of information for cybersecurity awareness training, as well as vendor risk management best practices.

  CyberGRX Whistic UpGuard
Community support 3/5 3/5 5/5

4. Release rate

Security controls need to constantly adapt and change to keep up with changes with the information and technology it is designed to protect. New vulnerabilities are added to CVE on a daily basis, attackers find new ways to exploit programming errors, and security controls become invalid constantly.

This means vendor risk management best practices are constantly changing too.

To be able to rely on a third-party risk management tool, you need to be sure they can incorporate changes quickly. 

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.

  CyberGRX Whistic UpGuard
Release rate 3/5 3/5 4/5

5. Pricing and support

Third-party risk management software can be expensive. The industry uses opaque pricing policies designed to take power away from the purchaser. 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. 

Whistic is more expensive than UpGuard while CyberGRX provides no transparency on their pricing and we weren't able to find any information online. High prices mean small to medium-size businesses cannot afford their solutions and even large organizations can only manage their most at-risk vendors.

  • CyberGRX: There is no public pricing available for CyberGRX, making it hard to know how much you would pay without talking to them.
  • Whistic: Reported to start at $25,000 and is based on the number of vendors managed in the platform or the number of security questionnaires to which you're responding.
  • UpGuardUpGuard 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 sales@upguard.com.
  CyberGRX Whistic UpGuard
Pricing and support 1/5 1/5 5/5

6. API and extensibility

While each service has its own platform, API access can help you pull data to a different platform or consolidate reporting into a centralized dashboard. 

The good news is CyberGRX, Whistic, and UpGuard all offer APIs to pull data.

  CyberGRX Whistic UpGuard
API and extensibility 4/5 4/5 4/5

7. Third-party integrations

If you don't have technical staff or the resources to hire them, and not everyone does, standard integrations can become an important part of decision-making. 

  • CyberGRX: Integrates with BitSight, Optiv, and other platforms.
  • Whistic: Integrates with RiskRecon, Active Directory, Okta, and onelogin.
  • UpGuard: Integrates with GRC platforms, ticketing systems like ServiceNow, and more.
  CyberGRX Whistic UpGuard
Third-party integrations 4/5 4/5 4/5

8. Customers

Sometimes the best proof is who is using the software and their testimonials. CyberGRX, Whistic, and UpGuard all have impressive customer lists, none more distinguished than the other. 

  • CyberGRX: Customers include ADP, Blackstone, aetna, GV, and ClearSky.
  • Whistic: Customers include Betterment, Invision, Airbnb, Zynga, and Robinhood.
  • 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.

Here's what a few UpGuard customers had to say about their experience. You can read more on Gartner reviews.

  • "UpGuard has given us a view of our vendor security posture. The ability to launch a questionnaire or ask for a plan of remediation for items that show as vulnerable is also a great added value and a time saver. UpGuard is also very customer focused. They respond quickly to issues and to questions and welcome any input that could improve the product. Overall it is one of the best value add tools we have."
  • "The simplicity of the product is fantastic. My team and I were able to be up and running in minutes. We monitor risks on over 25 vendors in near real-time and use these statistics to report to the C suite and Board of Directors. Upguard has become part of the critical cybersecurity metrics that we monitor and report upon."
  • "The ease of use and simplicity of the product is excellent. We were able to be up and running with 50 vendors within minutes not hours. The reporting is used for monthly statistics and is reported to our Senior Management. Upguard has become an integral part of our critical cybersecurity metrics that we monitor and report upon."
  CyberGRX Whistic UpGuard
Customers 5/5 5/5 5/5

9. Predictive capabilities

The main reason we all invest in security tools is to prevent incidents from happening in the first place. 

This makes a solution's ability to prevent data breaches and other cyber attacks the most important thing. 

This is where CyberGRX, Whistic, and UpGuard truly differ. 

  • CyberGRX: Relies on risk assessments that can become outdated as new zero-day exploits and security issues emerge or new IT infrastructure is used. Additionally, CyberGRX provides no controls for capturing data loss incidents.
  • Whistic: Like CyberGRX, Whistic relies on point-in-time risk assessments. The truth is, while important, security questionnaires, much like penetration testing, can be subjective and become inaccurate over time as new security issues emerge. They are only one part of adequate cybersecurity.
  • 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.
  CyberGRX Whistic UpGuard
Predictive capabilities 2/5 2/5 5/5

10. Security rating

Finally, let's take a look at how CyberGRX, Whistic, and UpGuard compare when assessed by UpGuard's platform on April 8, 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 81 points.

  • CyberGRX: 837/950 or A letter grade
  • Whistic838/950 or A letter grade
  • UpGuard: 919/950 or A letter grade
  CyberGRX Whistic UpGuard
Security rating CyberGRX Security Rating 837/950 Whistic Security Rating 838/950 UpGuard Security Rating 919/950
  4/5 4/5 5/5

Scoreboard and summary

  CyberGRX Whistic UpGuard
Capabilities 2/5 2/5 5/5
Usability and learning curve 4/5 4/5 5/5
Community support 3/5 3/5 5/5
Release rate 3/5 3/5 4/5
Pricing and support 1/5 1/5 5/5
API and extensibility 4/5 4/5 4/5
Third-party integrations 4/5 4/5 4/5
Customers 5/5 5/5 5/5
Predictive capabilities 2/5 2/5 5/5
Security rating 4/5 4/5 5/5
Total 3.2 3.2 4.7

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the easiest way to decide between CyberGRX, Whistic, and UpGuard 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.

At UpGuard, we believe security ratings are important, as are point-in-time assessments but neither of them is 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 IT risk exposure and an internal cyber risk management solution, UpGuard 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 infosec 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 3rd party vendors
  • Detect and remediate any leaked credentials and data exposures
  • Instantly assess your external security posture

Other third-party risk management platform comparisons

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