What Are Security Ratings?

Security ratings, or cyber security ratings, are a data-driven, objective and dynamic measurement of an organization’s security performance. Thousands of organizations around the world use BitSight Security Ratings as a tool to address a variety of critical, interconnected internal and external use cases at scale in order to enable more effective decision making throughout the global business ecosystem.

Security ratings are useful to manage cyber risk in any inter-organizational interaction where transparency has historically been lacking, including:

  • Understanding the risk posed by a third party or supply chain business relationship -- security ratings improve an organization’s ability to manage cyber risk from business partners.
  • Insurance underwriting, pricing, and risk management, allowing carriers to gain better visibility into the security performance of insureds in order to assess and price risk.

Additionally, security ratings are useful for managing an organization’s internal cyber risk, including:

  • Continually assessing the security posture of one’s own organization and providing transparency to key organizational stakeholders.
  • Benchmarking and comparison to peers and sector-wide performance.
  • Providing greater assurance to customers, insurers, regulators and other third-party stakeholders about an organization’s cybersecurity performance.

What are Security Ratings?

Security ratings provide a comprehensive, outside-in view of a company’s overall cybersecurity posture. Similar to credit ratings, BitSight Security Ratings range from 250 to 900, with a higher rating equating to better overall security posture. Security ratings add a quantitative metric to the assessment process and give you a simple indicator of your organization’s security risk.

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Security Ratings are Based on a Large Pool of Data

Security ratings don’t rely on traditional techniques like penetration testing, questionnaires, or on-site visits. Instead, security ratings are valuable, objective indicators of an organization's cybersecurity performance that is both material and validated. These ratings are derived from objective, verifiable information and are created by a trusted, independent organization.

BitSight leverages externally observable data from sources across the world, then maps this data to individual organizations. BitSight collects terabytes of information into four data categories including compromised systems, security diligence, user behavior, and public disclosures. This data is weighted according to the risk it presents to organizations and used to calculate a rating. For more details, read How BitSight Calculates Ratings.


Security Ratings Help Identify & Remediate Cyber Risk

IT security leaders are always trying to find better ways of identifying and understanding cyber risk. Having accurate metrics will provide greater clarity and accuracy to the process. Research shows that BitSight Security Ratings correlate to data breaches and provide insight into vulnerabilities facing your organization and your third parties. In fact, companies with a BitSight Security Rating of 500 or lower are nearly five times more likely to have a breach than those with a rating of 700 or higher.

When organizations use security ratings to make integral business decisions, it’s critical that the ratings themselves are accurate and trustworthy. BitSight performs intensive analysis on all data that goes into the BitSight Security Ratings platform in order to ensure that said data is trusted, tested, and actionable. Over 2,100 customers use BitSight Security Ratings to manage cyber risk in their business ecosystem.manage cyber risk with security ratings

Objective Third-Party Risk Assessments

Assessing the security of every third party has been immensely time-consuming for many companies who rely on traditional methods. Sending cyber risk assessment questionnaires to each third party inquiring into their security posture requires a lot of tracking and follow-up. Moreover, questionnaires are subjective and often times rendered inaccurate shortly after they are completed and new security issues emerge. Other processes like on-site visits and penetration tests are also resource-intensive and cost prohibitive when done at scale. All of these gaps can lead to greater third-party risk exposure. Is there a better approach?

Security ratings complement these more traditional risk management methods by providing continuous, objective, and actionable data. BitSight Security Ratings for Third-Party Risk Management enable organizations to continuously monitor and quantify the cyber risk of their third parties to efficiently scale their third-party risk management programs.

  • An objective, quantitative security rating (as opposed to qualitative questionnaires) makes it far easier to track a company’s performance over time. If their security posture weakens, you’ll be able to see the change in the rating.
  • Ratings make it easier to collaborate and develop remediation plans with third parties or set security performance standards in a contract.

Manage Your Internal Security Performance

BitSight for Security Performance Management helps security and risk leaders take a risk-based, outcome-driven approach to managing the performance of their organization’s cybersecurity program through broad measurement, continuous monitoring, and detailed planning and forecasting in an effort to measurably reduce cyber risk.

BitSight for Security Performance Management enables security and risk leaders to:

  • See how your investments in your cybersecurity program are performing in the same way your key business partners are assessing your cybersecurity program’s performance.
  • Align your investments and actions with the highest measurable impact for your organization’s cybersecurity program over time.
  • Efficiently and dynamically allocate your team’s limited resources on the most critical areas of cyber risk within your organization.
  • Facilitate data-driven, risk-based conversations about cybersecurity among key stakeholders including your security team, executives, board members, regulators, investors, and key business partners.


Another aspect of managing internal security performance is benchmarking against industry peers. Formal cybersecurity benchmarking can help IT, security and risk leaders better understand the maturity of their cybersecurity approach. It helps organizations answer questions like:

  • How effective are our current security policies and procedures?

Questionnaires and existing tools for network security are unable to continuously compare security performance against industry averages and peers. This is where security ratings can help.


Want to see how your security rating compares to industry peers? Request your Free Security Rating Snapshot report now.

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Request your free Security Rating Snapshot to find the gaps in your security program and how you compare to others in your industry.

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