Skip to main content

About the author

Roland Thomas

Associate Director | Corporate Development

Roland is an Associate Director in Thomas Murray’s Corporate Development team. He joined Thomas Murray in 2018 with responsibility for group strategy, partnerships and corporate finance. More recently, Roland’s role has focused on establishing Thomas Murray’s cyber risk business, starting in 2021 with the launch of our Orbit Security platform, and the development of our expert cyber risk consultancy. Roland has a BA in English Language and Literature from Oxford University.

In this guide:

  • What are security ratings?

  • Why are security ratings important?

What are security ratings?

Security ratings are data-driven, objective, simple indicators of a company’s security posture. They update regularly, providing continuous assessments of breaches, vulnerabilities, and misconfigurations in the public-facing IT infrastructure of an organisation that could be exploited by threat actors. 

They have two main use cases. 

Firstly, IT security teams use security ratings to monitor their own organisations and any subsidiaries. So that the team can improve and report on its security posture over time, the solution should aggregate all available threat intelligence for the team, prioritising the highest-risk issues facing its organisation and identifying the most urgent remediation activities. 

Secondly, IT security, third-party risk, compliance and other teams use security ratings to monitor the security posture of their organisation’s critical service providers (CSPs) and other third parties. A good security ratings provider will engage with high-risk third parties on a client’s behalf to help them improve their security posture. 

Every provider has its own methodology, as well as its own strengths and weaknesses. The key thing is to know what is most important to you. 

Why are security ratings important?

Security ratings play a significant role in assessing and understanding the cybersecurity posture of organisations. They provide an objective measurement or score that indicates the effectiveness of an organisation’s security controls and practices. 

Risk assessment 

Security ratings help organisations assess their own security risks and vulnerabilities. By evaluating their security posture against industry standards and benchmarks, organisations can identify areas of weakness and prioritise remediation efforts. It enables them to understand their overall risk exposure and make informed decisions regarding security investments and resource allocation.

Third-party risk management 

Security ratings are valuable in evaluating the cybersecurity posture of third-party vendors, suppliers, or business partners. Organisations can use security ratings to assess the risk associated with engaging with these entities and determine if they meet the required security standards. This helps in making informed decisions regarding partnerships and vendor selection, reducing the likelihood of being impacted by the security weaknesses of third parties.

Regulatory compliance

Security ratings can assist organisations in demonstrating compliance with regulatory requirements and industry standards. By continuously monitoring their security ratings and ensuring they meet the necessary criteria, organisations can stay compliant and avoid penalties or legal consequences. Security ratings provide an objective and measurable way to track compliance efforts and identify any gaps or areas of non-compliance.

Benchmarking and performance tracking

Security ratings enable organisations to benchmark their security posture against industry peers and competitors. By comparing their ratings with others in their sector, organisations can gain insights into where they stand relative to their peers and set goals for improvement. Additionally, security ratings allow organisations to track their security performance over time, measure progress, and validate the effectiveness of security initiatives.

Incident response and insurance

In the event of a cybersecurity incident or breach, security ratings can provide crucial information for incident response teams and insurance providers. Security ratings help in understanding the severity of the incident, evaluating the impact, and guiding the response efforts. Insurance providers may also consider an organisation’s security rating when assessing cyber insurance coverage and premiums.

Stakeholder confidence

Security ratings can enhance stakeholder confidence by demonstrating a commitment to cybersecurity and proactive risk management. Organisations with higher security ratings are perceived as being more diligent in protecting sensitive data and reducing the risk of data breaches. This can positively impact customer trust, investor confidence, and business relationships.

By leveraging security ratings, your organisation can proactively identify and address security weaknesses, reduce risks, and enhance its overall cybersecurity posture.

Orbit Security

Orbit Security

Security ratings for enhanced attack surface management and third party risk. Monitor for breaches and vulnerabilities that could be exploited by threat actors.

Learn more

Contact an expert

Robert Smith

Robert Smith

Head of SaaS Sales and Customer Success 

Roland Thomas

Roland Thomas

Associate Director | Cyber Risk