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ABA: The American Bankers Association
Press Release

New ABA White Paper: Security Ratings Explained

WASHINGTON —

As the world becomes more connected and cyber threats continue to grow, it is more critical than ever for businesses to have a robust risk management program in place. To help financial institutions understand one potential component of a robust plan, the American Bankers Association today released a new white paper titled, “Security Ratings: A Tool as Part of a Risk Management Program.”

Several providers are now offering security ratings—also known as risk scores or risk ratings—as a way to measure an organization’s cybersecurity. In the white paper, the association explains the pros and cons of security ratings, how the ratings work and how they should be used by financial institutions.

“As we see more security ratings hit the market, we want to ensure that banks and others understand how they fit into a broader risk management program,” said Paul Benda, senior vice president, risk and cybersecurity policy at ABA. “A robust plan includes multiple tools in the toolbox and if used appropriately, security ratings can be one of those tools.”

Security ratings can provide valuable insight and serve as a helpful starting point when evaluating a firm’s cybersecurity program, according to the paper. But the association warns that the ratings cannot provide a full picture of an organization’s cybersecurity program, because the providers rely on a combination of data points collected or purchased from public and private sources and are unable to evaluate a firm’s internal infrastructure and controls.

In the paper, ABA also provides recommendations for programs that can provide insight into internal controls and layered approaches to cybersecurity.

“Cybersecurity remains a top priority for banks across the country, and we are continuously looking for ways to improve effectiveness and efficiency,” said Benda. “There are many resources out there, so understanding how they work is key.”

To read the white paper, click here.

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About the American Bankers Association

The American Bankers Association is the voice of the nation’s $20.3 trillion banking industry, which is composed of small, regional and large banks that together employ more than 2 million people, safeguard $15.8 trillion in deposits and extend nearly $11 trillion in loans.

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Sarah Grano

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