NormShield and BitSight provide security ratings services (SRS). Security ratings services focus on the analysis of publicly accessible, external data sources to perform vendor assessment, security benchmarking, and risk analysis.
Although each player has a different approach to analyze and evaluate a company's security posture, each provider uses similar resources and techniques to collect data. Common data sources include the internet, hacker sites, social media, internet-wide scanners, reputation services, dark web, and sinkholes.
These services are becoming increasingly popular, largely due to the increasing cost of data breaches, which is now nearly $4 million.
Cybersecurity vendor risk management (VRM) is a top priority for CISOs, Vice Presidents of Security, and other members of senior management, frequently at the Board level. In addition to financial costs, regulatory and reputational costs are increasing too.
Governments have enacted laws and regulations designed to promote or even require the establishment of third-party cyber risk management programs to identify, assess, and mitigate risks created by vendors, fourth-parties, and customers.
For example, in the United States, California has introduced CCPA, and Florida has introduced FIPA to protect the personally identifiable information of its constituents. Outside of the United States, GDPR, LGPD, and PIPEDA are three relevant 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 significantly increased the reputational impact of inadequate vendor and cybersecurity risk management practices.
Adding to this, security teams have more to do than ever before. The job now encompasses much more than improving security postures and writing information security policies. Today, one of the most sought after skills is the ability to translate technical details from cybersecurity risk assessments and vendor questionnaires into terms that non-technical stakeholders can understand.
The good news is that that's what third-party risk management tools can help you do. The issue is that not all security ratings services are equal in terms of usability, analytics, compliance, technical depth, and threat intelligence capabilities.
Use this post to make an informed decision when comparing NormShield, BitSight, and UpGuard, so you can decide which tool is right for you.
Table of contents
- NormShield overview
- BitSight overview
- UpGuard overview
- NormShield vs. BitSight vs. UpGuard in-depth comparison
- Scoreboard and summary
- Other third-party risk management platform comparisons
NormShield is a cyber risk rating platform that leverages open-source threat intelligence and non-intrusive cyber reconnaissance to provide information about your vendor risk at scale.
It collects a wide range of information without touching the target customer. It leverages advances in data science and machine learning to provide higher frequency and precise real-time risk assessments.
Like other security ratings providers, its data collection provides continuous risk monitoring of third-parties.
The NormShield UI. Source: normshield.com
BitSight Technologies is a Cambridge-based company that aims to quantify the external cybersecurity posture of organizations using publicly accessible data. Its FICO-like BitSight security rating is used by underwriters at insurance companies 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, security ratings can be used for security performance management and the assessment of third and fourth-party risk.
BitSight UI. Source: bitsight.com
UpGuard was formed in 2012 in Sydney, Australia, by co-founders Mike Baukes and Alan Sharp-Paul, two technologists from Australia's largest banks. Using their first-hand experience, they built a platform to fill an essential need in the DevOps market. Namely reducing the risk of incidents through proactive documentation and configuration management for on-premise and cloud security.
UpGuard's patented data visualization, and risk analysis platform helps teams discover and manage their risk exposure. Whether that be in data centers like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, or Google Cloud Platform, cloud services, or on-premise devices.
We then used 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 will enable you to immediately assess your own organization's external security posture while continuously monitoring for data leaks and exposed credentials.
NormShield vs. BitSight vs. UpGuard in-depth comparison
Learn about how NormShield, BitSight, and UpGuard compare across ten categories:
- Usability and the learning curve
- Community support
- Release rate
- Pricing and support
- API and extensibility
- Third-party integrations
- Predictive capabilities
- Security rating
NormShield's Cyber Risk Scorecard analyzes your security posture using externally accessible data that does not require permission to acquire. It enables you to measure the risk level of a company and prioritizes the data it generates into an actionable, letter-grade, and color-coded report.
Like NormShield, BitSight provides 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.
UpGuard takes a combined approach using security ratings and risk assessments to provide a holistic overview of an organization's security risk. As you know, it's hard to get time-poor vendors to complete a questionnaire, but when they do, they provide valuable information that security ratings alone cannot. Namely, internal security issues and controls.
With that said, questionnaires are often subjective and rendered inaccurate over time as new security issues emerge. That's why UpGuard uses security ratings too.
Security ratings provide a data-driven, instantaneous, and always up-to-date measurement of an organization's external security posture. Together, risk assessments and security ratings offer an excellent overview of an organization's internal and external security performance.
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.
And Forrester expects cybersecurity ratings to become a de facto standard in the boardroom by 2025. Investors and traditional debt ratings agencies will include cybersecurity as a risk factor for rating the ability to repay company debt (influenced in part by the cybersecurity ratings market).
- NormShield: Provides a risk rating from A to F, like a report card.
- BitSight: a FICO-like rating between 250-900.
- UpGuard: Provides a FICO-like 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
Each service relies on a different risk assessment methodology to assess the potential risk of an IT vendor.
NormShield bases its Cyber Risk ratings on ten risk categories and 250+ control items. It gathers data through open-source intelligence tools and techniques hackers use like data collectors, crawlers, honeypot, as well as continuous scanning of databases, reputation sites, cyber events, hacker shares, and public vulnerability databases like CVE.
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.
At UpGuard, we agree that the standardization of security assessment practices against recognized security frameworks is a good thing. It helps remove bias, save money, and increase trust in the supply chain.
But we take it one step further than NormShield and BitSight by making it easy for our customers to publish completed security assessments, supporting documentation, and their security rating to the UpGuard Security Profile.
Additionally, we also provide real-time critical risk monitoring capabilities, data leak detection, leaked credential detection, integrated vendor processes, and accessibility to provide businesses with a complete solution.
- NormShield: Based on ten risk categories and 250+ control items
- BitSight: Relies primarily on IP reputation.
- 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 network 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). We give each identified issue a risk prioritization category, so you know what represents the highest risk.
Not every solution provides the same level of coverage. If your organization employs small specialist vendors, make sure the solution covers them. As you know, any vendor that handles sensitive data is a potential risk that you must monitor continuously.
- NormShield: Unknown
- BitSight: 170,000 supported organizations
- UpGuard: 2,000,000 organizations scanned daily, and customers can automatically add new vendors.
2. Usability and the learning curve
The usability and design of a product play a large part in how quickly you can get up to speed and start getting your money's worth.
NormShield, BitSight, and UpGuard offer their services via SaaS and are accessible from web-based platforms that can help you find, assess, and monitor vendors.
- NormShield: Interface that grades risk categories from A to F.
- BitSight: Provides high-level summation of vendor risk allowing easy comparison of vendors.
- 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, we provide remediation and protection suggestions. 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.
|Usability and the learning curve||4/5||4/5||5/5|
3. Community support
NormShield, BitSight, 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 blog that is a useful source of information for cybersecurity awareness training, as well as vendor risk management best practices.
- NormShield: Company and product blog.
- BitSight: 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 most significant data breaches.
4. Release rate
Information security needs to continually adapt and change to keep up with changes to the information and technology it protects.
You need to be able to rely on your security tooling, and that means they need to be able to incorporate changes quickly.
UpGuard has adopted DevOps principles internally to develop, test, and release software continuously, ensuring fast, consistent, and safe releases.
5. Pricing and support
Third-party risk management software is expensive. The industry often 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 for one-off reports for a fixed price.
BitSight is more expensive than UpGuard, and we were not able to find any information about NormShield's pricing. High costs can price out small to medium-size businesses and relegate large companies to managing only their most at-risk vendors.
- NormShield: Public pricing information is not available.
- BitSight: Public pricing information is not available. Pricing is reported to start at $20,000 plus $2,000-$2,500 per vendor per year.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Pricing and support||1/5||1/5||5/5|
6. API and extensibility
While NormShield, BitSight, and UpGuard have their platforms, customers may want to access the resources on a different platform or consolidate reporting into a centralized dashboard.
|API and extensibility||4/5||4/5||4/5|
7. Third-party integrations
APIs are useful for technical staff, but not all vendor risk management teams have access to developers. In this situation, standard third-party integrations are an essential part of decision-making.
- NormShield: Integrates with Supply Wisdom and VendorInsight.
- BitSight: Offers integrations with RSA Archer GRC, CyberGRX, OneTrust Vendorpedia, ProcessUnity, MetricStream, and more.
- UpGuard: Integrates with GRC platforms, ticketing systems like ServiceNow, and more.
The best proof comes from each solution's customers. NormShield, BitSight, and UpGuard all have impressive customer lists, but BitSight and UpGuard have more distinguished customers.
- NormShield: Customers include Polk & Wardwell, LLP, a Fortune 500 retailer, and an OTC financial institution.
- BitSight: Customers include The University of North Florida, Snam, EPAM, and PROSA.
- 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 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."
9. Predictive capabilities
The main reason we all invest in security tools is to prevent incidents from happening in the first place. The most important thing is the solution's ability to avoid data breaches and other cyber attacks the most important thing.
NormShield, BitSight, and UpGuard genuinely differ here.
- NormShield: Performs non-intrusive checks including passive DNS, attack surface detection, passive vulnerability scanning, DNS health, SSL/TLS strength, and email security, as well as asset reputation, credential compromises, hacktivist shares, social media monitoring, dark web search, cloud delivery network security, fraudulent apps, and DDoS detection. They do not, however, provide real transparency into the efficacy of these checks.
- BitSight: The IP reputation methodology helps catch active malware installations, but that’s only one possible way a data breach can occur.
- 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. It 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 NormShield, BitSight, and UpGuard compare when assessed by UpGuard's platform on May 04, 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 openness 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. You can also 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 reflect our understanding of how to mitigate cybersecurity risk. When this happens, we provide reasonable notice and explanation to our customers about the impact on their security rating.
- Independence: No commercial agreement or lack thereof, gives an organization the ability to improve its security rating without enhancing their security posture.
- Confidentiality: Any information disclosed to UpGuard during 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 23 points.
- NormShield: 801/950 or A letter grade
- BitSight: 706/950 or B letter grade
- UpGuard: 913/950 or A letter grade
|Usability and the learning curve||4/5||4/5||5/5|
|Pricing and support||1/5||1/5||5/5|
|API and expensibility||4/5||4/5||4/5|
The easiest way to decide between NormShield, BitSight, 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 assessments 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, UpGuard Core, allowing organizations to 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 outsiders see your organization's security posture. 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 cyber threat.
Try UpGuard for free for seven 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
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
- CyberGRX vs. UpGuard
- BitSight vs. CyberGRX
- SecurityScorecard vs. CyberGRX
- CyberGRX vs. RiskRecon
- Whistic vs. UpGuard
- BitSight vs. UpGuard
- SecurityScorecard vs. Whistic
- CyberGRX vs. Whistic
- RiskRecon vs. Whistic
- BitSight vs. Whistic
- BitSight vs. Prevalent
- Prevalent vs. RiskRecon
- Prevalent vs. CyberGRX
- Prevalent vs. Whistic
- Prevalent vs. UpGuard
- SecurityScorecard vs. Prevalent
- RiskIQ vs. UpGuard
- RiskIQ vs. BitSight
- RiskIQ vs. SecurityScorecard
- NormShield vs. UpGuard
- NormShield vs. SecurityScorecard
- NormShield vs. RiskRecon
- SecurityScorecard vs. UpGuard
- Prevalent vs. NormShield