Cyber Ratings, also known as Security Ratings – what are they and how do you get one? Well, more on that later but Gartner insisted in 2021 that over the next 5 years Cyber Ratings will be as important as credit ratings for supply chain management and they will become a precondition of doing business.
Enter LinkedIn: Sorry, not sorry
Picture the scene: the CEO has read on LinkedIn that at least 65% of Cyber Attacks today are due to the negligence of a 3rd party. Although you love (or hate, a bit like marmite) your security questionnaires, you are now sifting through a sea of security vendors, all promising to protect your company from cyber threats involving third parties – with a magic number.
What are Cyber Ratings?
Enter cyber ratings, the ongoing trend in the cybersecurity market inspired by the beloved to all 😉 credit ratings market. Cyber ratings provide an aggregated score of a company’s cybersecurity posture based on externally observable data as analysed by Forrester. They aim to help businesses assess their own security and evaluate the cybersecurity risk of their third-party ecosystem. According to the World Economic Forum, cyber risk ratings can objectively assess an organisation’s cybersecurity posture based on various factors, including network security, data protection and incident response capabilities. It’s like having a report card that tells you where your supplier stands in the realm of digital fortification. Let’s dive into the pros and cons:
- Vendor Risk Management Made Easy: Say goodbye to the hassle of manually assessing your third-party vendors! Security ratings provide a convenient shortcut to evaluating their cybersecurity practices. It’s like having a personal assistant who sifts through mountains of data to give you a neat little score. Who needs hours of due diligence when you can make snap judgments based on a single number?
- Validation of Security Claims: Cyber ratings platforms can help companies validate the security claims made by third parties, as I’m sure you may be shocked to learn that some people may be less than truthful when a sale is in jeopardy over a security tick box. Their observed security posture can provide a sense of assurance and confidence when engaging with other businesses. It’s like having a truth serum that exposes any exaggerations or lies.
- Objective Assessment: Who needs subjective opinions when you can have an independent evaluation of a vendor’s cybersecurity practices? Cyber Ratings offer an “unbiased” perspective (well, at least in theory) to help you see through the smoke and mirrors.
- Some Transparency and Workflow Capabilities: Some cyber ratings platforms offer semi-robust process transparency and workflow capabilities. They provide detailed ratings model white papers, publicly available information, and workflow processes that enhance the understanding and usability of the ratings.
- Comparative Analysis: Cyber Ratings allow you to indulge in some healthy competition between your vendors. Compare their cybersecurity performance like you’re judging a beauty pageant and crown the winner with confidence.
- Third-Party Risk Portfolio Building: Building a diverse portfolio is not just for stock market enthusiasts! With security ratings, you can create your very own third-party risk portfolio. It’s like curating a collection of risky relationships and proudly displaying it to your colleagues. Show off your ability to identify potential vulnerabilities in your supply chain and be the envy of risk managers everywhere.
- Market Immaturity: The cybersecurity risk ratings market is still considered immature, being a new and unregulated industry. While accuracy and transparency have improved, Cyber Ratings heavily rely on data sources, but not all data is created equal. Some rating companies may use outdated or incomplete information, leading to inaccurate portrayals of security. It’s like basing your life decisions on Chat GPT3 and not consulting GPT4, Bing and Bard and you know, real life therapists.
- Limited Recourse for Low Ratings: One significant drawback of Cyber Ratings is the limited recourse or avenues for improvement if a company receives a low score. Suddenly, the ability to close a deal rests in the hands of a single number and an algorithm. This lack of recourse can be frustrating for organisations on the ‘blacklist’ (in many cases its red), raising questions about the fate of long-term valued partners, unless you want an excuse to purge them 😜
- Rating Reliability Roulette: The world of Cyber Ratings is a minefield of conflicting methodologies and scoring systems. Standardised metrics? Well, sort of. Different cybersecurity ratings companies may deliver varying risk scores based on the data selected for assessment. Subjectivity also creeps in with their own secret sauce in selecting and weighing criteria. So, grab a pinch of subjectivity to sprinkle on your assessment process.
- Stuck in the Past: Many Cyber Rating companies still cling to outdated methodologies that fail to keep up with the ever-evolving threat landscape. The lack of integrations with other risk and compliance management technologies hinders widespread adoption and effectiveness.
- Limited Scope: Cyber Ratings tend to focus on specific aspects of cybersecurity, conveniently ignoring other critical factors. Because who needs a holistic view of security when you can just evaluate one piece of the puzzle, right?
- Lack of Context with a dash of limited visibility: Context? Pfft! Cyber Ratings might not consider factors like industry specifics or your vendor’s risk appetite, disregarding relevant context. Get ready to be amazed by the wonders of publicly available information and self-reported data—surprise! It’s a mixed bag.
- Reliance on Historical Data: Want a blast from the past? Cyber Ratings got you covered. Their assessments might be based on historical data, which means they might miss the latest plot twists in a vendor’s security journey. It’s like predicting the future based on last year’s newspaper.
Conclusion: Cyber Ratings – the imperfect superheroes of supply chain security evaluations. While they bring some undeniable advantages, they also come with their quirks.
And here we are, at the end of this thrilling cyber rating journey! But before we bid adieu, let’s shine a spotlight on the true superhero of managing third parties and security ratings—HighGround.io.
With its cyber supply chain management feature about to release, HighGround.io leaps over the competition like a caped crusader, effortlessly balancing the need for security with a touch of whimsy. It’s like having a cyber butler who not only manages your third-party risks but also knows how to crack a good joke. So, whether you’re a David in a world of Goliaths or a Goliath in the world of David’s, HighGround.io is here to save the day, one security rating at a time. Go ahead, take control of your cybersecurity experience and let HighGround.io be your trusty sidekick. Together, we’ll conquer the realm of third-party management with a smile and a virtual high-five.
Learn more about HighGround.io’s Cyber Security Manager next week as we launch.