SecurityScorecard and UpGuard are two popular security ratings services (SRS). Security ratings services focus on the analysis of publicly accessible, external data sources to perform vendor assessments, security benchmarking, and risk analysis.
You are likely looking to understand the reasons why many organizations are investing in security ratings tools to help them manage, scale, and automate their first-party and vendor risk assessment processes.
Security ratings provide a data-driven, instantaneous, and always up-to-date measurement of an organization's external security posture. You can read our complete guide on security ratings here.
Most security ratings providers use similar resources and techniques to collect data, but different approaches to analyze and evaluate that data, and how it determines a company's security posture. This means that the predictive capacity of each service can vary.
For reference, common data points include the Internet, hacker sites, social media, Internet-wide scanners, reputation services, dark web, and sinkholes.
Security ratings are becoming increasingly popular, as they can help prevent data breaches and other cyber attacks. Data breaches, according to a recent study by IBM and the Ponemon Institute, have an average cost of nearly $4 million globally.
This is why vendor risk management has become a top priority for CISOs, senior management, and frequently the Board. In addition, to financial costs, regulatory and reputational costs are on the rise too.
Governments have brought in new laws and regulations that promote or require the establishment of third-party cyber risk management programs to identify, assess, and mitigate risks created by vendors, fourth-parties, and customers.
While the United States does not have a nation-wide equivalent to GDPR, California has CCPA, Florida has FIPA, and New York has the SHIELD Act to protect the personally identifiable information of its constituents.
Outside of the United States, Brazil has introduced a very similar law to GDPR called LGPD.
Alongside the protection of PII and PHI, these laws introduce mandatory data breach notification requirements, significantly increasing the impact of inadequate vendor and cybersecurity risk management practices.
The job of a security professional encompasses much more than improving security postures and writing information security policies. One of the most sought after skills is the ability from cybersecurity risk assessments and vendor questionnaires into terms that non-technical stakeholders can understand.
And that's what many third-party risk management tools claim to do. The issue is not all security ratings platforms are equal in terms of capabilities, usability, community, pricing, releases, integrations, customers, or predictive threat intelligence capabilities.
We hope this post gives you the context you need to make an informed decision about SecurityScorecard vs. UpGuard, so you can decide on which tool is right for you.
Table of contents
- SecurityScorecard overview
- UpGuard overview
- SecurityScorecard vs. UpGuard in-depth comparison
- Scoreboard and summary
- Other third-party risk management platform comparisons
SecurityScorecard is a New York-based security ratings platform that uses traffic and other publicly accessible data to build security ratings to evaluate vendors, price cyber insurance, among other use cases.
They also monitor "hacker chatter," social networks, and public data breach feeds for indicators of compromise.
SecurityScorecard's last funding round was a Series D from Nokia Growth Partners, Moody's, AXA Strategic Ventures, Intel, Google Ventures, Boldstart Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, and Evolution Equity Partners.
The SecurityScorecard UI. Source: securityscorecard.com.
UpGuard, formerly known as ScriptRock, was founded by Mike Baukes and Alan Sharp-Paul, two technologists from Australia's largest banks. Using their first-hand experience, they built a cyber resilience platform to fill a need in the DevOps market. Namely the reduction of incidents through proactive documentation and configuration management for on-premise and cloud security.
UpGuard Core uses patented data visualization and risk analysis to help teams discover and manage their internal risk exposure regardless of whether the assets are hosted 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.
The New York Times, Bloomberg, Washington Post, Forbes, and TechCrunch feature our data breach and security research. We have offices in Mountain View, Sydney, Hobart, and remote employees around the world.
SecurityScorecard vs. UpGuard in-depth comparison
Learn about how SecurityScorecard 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
SecurityScorecard provides security ratings that aggregate different risks into a single score that allows for immediate and easy comparison of different third-party vendors and service providers.
UpGuard's platform monitors your internet footprint to provide insights into your digital attack surface, vulnerabilities, and external security posture. The difference is that UpGuard can also monitor your third-parties' security posture providing you with a holistic view of your organization's security risk.
We then take this analysis and group it into an easily understandable security rating that allows anyone to understand the risk of a particular asset or vendor. For security operations and threat management teams, the security rating can break down into its underlying parts which can be used as part of remediation workflows.
In addition, UpGuard uses risk assessments and security questionnaires to provide context into the internal security controls of your organization and its vendors. These more manual solutions provide valuable information that can be missed by endpoint security or attack surface management solutions like RiskIQ.
For reference, security ratings provide a data-driven, instantaneous, and always up-to-date measurement of an organization's 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.
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).
- SecurityScorecard: Provides a security rating from A to F, like a report card.
- UpGuard: Provides a score between 0 and 950 for first, third, and fourth-parties 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 its own proprietary risk assessment methodology to assess the potential risk.
SecurityScorecard relies on misconfiguration monitoring and 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 believe an accurate and up to date inventory of you and your vendors' public-facing digital assets is a must for any cybersecurity program. It's no longer enough to only manage your own security posture. You need to know that your vendors are keeping the data you provide them safe too.
That's why UpGuard takes a standardized approach to security assessment across first and third-party risks by using a combination of security ratings, self-assessments, and vendor assessments against recognized security frameworks.
With UpGuard, you and your vendors can publish your security rating, completed security assessments, and supporting documentation directly on the platform.
Additionally, UpGuard's platform provides real-time risk monitoring capabilities, integrated vendor processes, and data leak detection to provide businesses with a complete solution.
- SecurityScorecard: Primarily IP reputation with some misconfiguration assessment.
- UpGuard: UpGuard assesses first, third, and fourth-parties and 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). We give each identified issue a risk prioritization category, so you know what to focus on first.
Your assets are only one of the ways that your organization can be exposed. As we saw with Target, even a non-technical vendor like an HVAC provider can lead to the exposure of more than 110 million consumers' credit card and personal data.
Not every solution provides the same level of coverage. If your organization employs small specialist vendors, ensure the solution covers them. As you know, it is best practice to monitor any vendor that handles sensitive data continuously.
- SecurityScorecard: 1,000,000+ companies rated
- UpGuard: 2,000,000 organizations scanned daily, and customers can automatically add new domains or vendors.
2. Usability and the learning curve
The usability and learning curve of a product can play a large part in your decision. Not only can they help you get up to speed quicker, but they can also improve return on investment and general joy using the product.
SecurityScorecard and UpGuard offer their services via SaaS and are accessible from web-based platforms that can help you find, assess, and monitor vendors.
- SecurityScorecard: Simple interface for quick grade reports and charts.
- 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||5/5|
3. Community support
SecurityScorecard and UpGuard invest heavily in community support and try to make it as easy as possible for customers and prospects to get up to speed, reduce their operational overhead, and decide on which tool is right for them.
Both have their own blog that is a useful source of information for cybersecurity awareness training and vendor risk management best practices. Only UpGuard has published robust data breach and data leak research.
- SecurityScorecard: Company and product blog.
- UpGuard: The UpGuard cybersecurity and risk management blog is updated frequently, and our breach research blog has uncovered and secured some of the most significant data breaches.
4. Release rate
Information technology is in constant flux, so the information security controls designed to protect it need to adapt to keep up with it, and this is why vendor risk management best practices are always changing.
Your security tools need to be able to incorporate further information for you to be able to rely on them.
UpGuard has adopted DevOps principles internally to develop, test, and release software continuously, ensuring fast, consistent, and safe releases. In the words of one of our customers on Gartner, "Upguard is constantly rolling out new useful features and are very receptive to customer input. Their flexibility gives them a definite edge in this market because they are willing to improve."
5. Pricing and support
Cybersecurity is an expensive industry. Vendors often use opaque pricing policies designed to take power away from the purchaser.
With that said, most solutions are priced on a usage basis, either by company size, the number of assets monitored, or modules needed.
SecurityScorecard is more expensive than UpGuard and does not have a pricing page on their website. If you're a small company, you may not be able to afford what seems to be an enterprise pricing strategy.
- SecurityScorecard: Public pricing information is not available. Reports say pricing starts at $16,500 for self-assessment plus five vendors, and additional vendors cost $1,500-$2,000 per vendor per year.
- UpGuard: UpGuard has a transparent pricing model for UpGuard Vendor Risk and UpGuard BreachSight, which you can view here. UpGuardVendor 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||5/5|
6. API and extensibility
While SecurityScorecard and UpGuard have their platforms, you may want to access resources in a different platform or consolidate statistics into a proprietary centralized dashboard.
|API and extensibility||4/5||4/5|
7. Third-party integrations
APIs are great if you have access to technical talent, but not all security and vendor risk management teams do. Without developers, you're more reliant on the company's partner ecosystem and third-party integrations.
- SecurityScorecard: Offers integrations with GRC platforms such as RSA Archer.
- UpGuard: Integrates with GRC platforms, ticketing systems like ServiceNow, and more.
Often the proof comes from the customer. SecurityScorecard and UpGuard have impressive customer lists, and neither is more impressive than the other.
- SecurityScorecard: Customers include Symantec, Pepsico, Two Sigma, and Stony Brook University.
- 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."
- "Upguard has a fantastic and dedicated customer service team. They actively engage customers and listen to what we need. I have also been very impressed with their development team's ability to adjust to our needs and requirements."
- "Rolling out Upguard was very easy and the support team have been exemplary helping with questions and platform updates to suit our unique needs."
9. Predictive capabilities
The real reason we invest in security tools is to prevent cyber attacks from happening, which is why a solution's ability to predict and to avoid data breaches and cyber threats is the most important thing.
SecurityScorecard and UpGuard genuinely differ in predictive capabilities.
- SecurityScorecard: The IP reputation methodology helps catch active malware installations, but that's only one possible way a data breach can occur. Yes, they use additional data but lack the transparency to prove the efficacy of their scores.
- UpGuard: As UpGuard checks for misconfigurations across you and your vendors' Internet footprint, many important breach vectors are covered. Such as phishing, ransomware susceptibility (like WannaCry), man-in-the-middle attacks, DNSSEC, vulnerabilities, email spoofing, domain hijacking, network security, 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 repositories, and unsecured RSync and FTP servers. Our data leak discovery engine continuously searches for keyword lists provided by our customers. Additionally, 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 RiskIQ, SecurityScorecard, and UpGuard compare when assessed by UpGuard's platform on May 6, 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, IT 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: 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. When they do, 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 both platforms have a good security rating, UpGuard leads by 34 points.
Scoreboard and summary
|Usability and the learning curve||4/5||5/5|
|Pricing and support||1/5||5/5|
|API and extensibility||4/5||4/5|
At the end of the day, the simplest way to decide between SecurityScorecard and Upguard is to use each service before deciding.
That's why you can book a free tailored 7-day trial on UpGuard's platform here. Before your 7-day trial begins, we’ll provide you 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
At UpGuard, we believe security ratings are important, but so are point-in-time assessments, neither is a complete solution when used by alone. 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.
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 Technologies 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
- SecurityScorecard vs. Prevalent
- BitSight vs. Prevalent
- Prevalent vs. RiskRecon
- Prevalent vs. CyberGRX
- Prevalent vs. Whistic
- NormShield vs. SecurityScorecard
- Prevalent vs. UpGuard
- RiskIQ vs. UpGuard
- RiskIQ vs. BitSight
- NormShield vs. UpGuard
- NormShield vs. BitSight
- NormShield vs. RiskRecon
- RiskIQ vs SecurityScorecard
- Prevalent vs. NormShield