To gauge your understanding of the matter presented by this blog title, we must first answer the question, “What is a cybersecurity score?” A cybersecurity score, also known as a cyber risk score, is a number that represents the state of an organisation’s technological environment in terms of its vulnerability to cyber threats. It is theoretically the security version of your credit score.
You may be asking yourself, “Why does cybersecurity scoring exist?” Well, living in the 4th Industrial Revolution means that today’s societies are driven by digital technologies. Digital in this sense means a mashup of impactful technologies used as a platform where social, mobile and IoT generates and requires large amounts of data enabled by hyperscale cloud and the Internet. As we’ve established in the last three articles of this series, I’m stating the obvious by saying the current cybersecurity landscape is perilous.
Because of the rise in cyber attack sophistication, organisations must have security defences in place encompassing threat detection tools and information protection frameworks. These measures then must be assessed and evaluated to ascertain how secure an organisation’s technological infrastructure truly is.
Working our way up the question ladder, we have reached the point of “How?” Just like credit scores, cybersecurity scoring is not a standardised process. It varies from one cybersecurity score provider to another. Your score is obtained by undergoing a comprehensive cybersecurity assessment that investigates your whole system, pulling data from different avenues to highlight areas of your cybersecurity that should be improved.
In today’s world, cybersecurity scores are essential in many ways:
Assessing risk level: Way to state the obvious, right? Cybersecurity scores reflect the success of your current security initiatives. They highlight the aspects of cybersecurity that organisations may have overlooked or not even thought about so you can begin remedying them before anything bad occurs. It also provides solid proof for CISOs to justify the need for a cybersecurity upgrade within the organisation.
Cyber Insurance: Much like the process of getting car insurance, cyber insurance underwriters will use an organisation’s cybersecurity score to determine the risk of insuring that entity. This way, organisations can negotiate insurance rates according to their risk scores.
External Relationships: You may not have realised this but we have reached a point in the transformation of our world where an organisation’s cybersecurity posture is a major consideration in business decisions. To establish if a partner or supplier is suitable, certain entities nowadays use cybersecurity scores. This is because a higher cybersecurity risk translates to greater liability.
The market is currently littered with cybersecurity score providers ready to help organisations assess and monitor their cyber risks. But wait! Organisations mustn't take cybersecurity scoring as a one-off task. As the landscape constantly evolves, businesses must be sure to regularly assess their cybersecurity posture. We do it with regular health check-ups, routine dentist appointments and frequent car maintenance so we should be able to do it for our cybersecurity as well. This time, unlike credit scores, regular checks do not leave a black mark against an organisation’s name.
Having a score that reflects a low-security risk can open doors for your organisation and ensure you aren’t the next victim utterly destroyed by a cyber attack. Now, let me ask again, “Do you know your organisation’s cybersecurity score?”
About Dr Dzaharudin Mansor
Dr Dzaharudin is the National Technology Officer (“NTO”) for Microsoft Malaysia. With more than 33 years of professional experience in ICT, he engages with key national technology stakeholders including academics and policymakers to contribute to national development. Passionate in technology, he works closely with academia, holding advisory positions at several universities.