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Security Ratings: A Smart Choice to Kick off the New Year

Posted by Greg Franseth on Jan 12, 2022 10:22:37 AM

For many people, with the new year comes goals, resolutions, and a general sense to ‘do better’ than the year before. In these instances, whether it’s reading more books or spending less time glued to our phones, each resolution has to start with a baseline to measure improvement against. 

We have the same ambitions when it comes to cybersecurity, but the ‘do better’ boils down to reducing cyber risk. True, this goal might be the same year after year, but how we approach the goal is both enhanced and made more tangible through use of security ratings. 

What are cybersecurity ratings? 

If you ever wanted a snapshot measurement of your security posture, then cybersecurity ratings are your answer. The data-driven, dynamic measurement is completed by an independent security rating platform to provide organizations with an objective indicator of security performance. Much like credit ratings provide insights to financial stability, security ratings provide a numeric way to quantify cyber risk by accounting for both our assets and liabilities.  

Yes, security ratings are for everyone  

Naturally, the next question that most organizations have is – do we need a rating? The definitive answer is that ALL organizations can benefit from undergoing the evaluation. Use cases for completing a security rating include overcoming budget and staff limitations, gaining visibility into security posture and controls, board reporting and auditing, mergers and acquisitions, and third-party risk management. 

While each security ratings vendor uses their own approach and algorithms, all scoring methods typically evaluate: 

  • An organization’s external-facing discoverables, 
  • risks associated with those assets, 
  • and severity of related threats.

By capturing these details, and comparing it against a large body of comparable organizations, scores are calculated based on how many deviations exist.  

Quantifying your security rating  

Metrics are only as valuable as the actions they prompt us to take. We can track them, put them into pretty graphs, measure them, but it all comes down to how we use them. In the context of security ratings, one of the more impactful features is how the rating quantifies losses. Ratings vendors not only provide a score, but can also define the financial impact of malicious attacks including, denial of service (DDoS), ransomware and extortion, data and privacy breaches, and third-party service provider failures that result in outages, disruption, or data loss. In addition to cyber attacks, the metrics can quantify potential losses related to the failure to meet compliance regulations. Using these numbers, companies can not only work on improving their cyber risk score, but also tie that back to real world financial impacts. For example, if through an assessment your organization found an unknown, unpatched system and promptly reduced the risk by patching, your risk score would improve of course, but your potential financial losses would reduce too. And while that alone is compelling, by quantifying the losses, there is an exact dollar value applied to that risk reduction that security teams and business leaders can use for reporting purposes. 

Scoring is easy and free 

These are challenging times in cyber security. We’ve seen the fallout from Log4j, critical infrastructure is under attack, ransomware is at an all-time high – we’ll spare you from continuing the list. While much feels out of our control with no ability to predict everything malicious actors will do, starting with a cyber security rating is one way to regain that sense of control and follow through with data-driven decisions. 

To help organizations get on the right track to risk reduction, Cadre partners with leading security rating vendors to provide a free, no obligation score and customized report. Get started with your assessment.