What are the Key Metrics for Measuring Cybersecurity?

With cyber-attacks constantly evolving, it only makes sense that cybersecurity measures are constantly assessed and enforced as well. To measure these threats, here are some of the most important cybersecurity metrics to ensure your company's safety.

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What are Metrics in Cyber Security?

Cyber security is everybody's concern now. Individuals and people around the globe are taking interest in improving their organisation's security.

To assess these risks, a benchmark or guideline is required. How else can anyone quantify a company's current strength against these attacks? For this purpose, performance indicators and carefully defined metrics are required.

These cyber security metrics help companies and cyber security experts to make informed decisions. One thumb rule for deciding which metric to include is its complexity, if a non-technical person can’t understand these metrics then it is necessary to pick digestible metrics which can be easily implemented and studied.

How do You Measure Cybersecurity Effectiveness?

Cyber security metrics are tailored to meet the requirements of particular companies and come with several advantages. These metrics not only prepare a company for risks but also helps security professional understand and tackle these cyber security threats. Take a look at some of the most important metrics for measuring cyber security:

  1. Level of Preparedness

    This is the first metric to consider. The starting point of any risk assessment and elimination is to check how prepared your organisation is. For this, regular vulnerability scans and management are necessary. These will let common vulnerabilities and exposures be identified so that the company is aware of its preparedness against such threats.

  2. Mean Time to Detect (MTTD)

    In case of an attack, how long will it take your security team to detect it? Many times security threats don't get noticed immediately which is enough to increase the damage. By calculating MTTD or mean time to detect, you can know how long will a threat take to get noticed. If it is high, you can take appropriate steps.

  3. Mean Time to Contain (MTTC)

    What is the average time taken to fix a threat? Companies need to be aware of the mean time to resolve (MTTR) a cyber-attack so that issues like system downtime or others don't cause tremendous loss. This will also let you work towards a swift strategy to resolve the aftermath of a cyber attack.

  4. Time Taken to Fix a Patch

    Companies need to improve their patching cadence to mitigate high-risk vulnerabilities. It is thus important to know the time your team takes in implementing security patches that may be exploited by cybercriminals. Often, these criminals use threat intelligence tools to manipulate these lags.

    Patch cadence also includes determining any third-party risks that your vendor may be subject to. It is equally important to determine the risks your vendor may be exposed to so that these vulnerabilities can be remediated.

    It is also important to know how long will it take your vendor to recognize and respond to these threats. If the time taken by vendors during incident response is high, then you're likely to suffer serious third-party data breaches.

  5. First Party Security Ratings

    For non-technical employees or colleagues, the security rating is one of the best ways to communicate cyber security metrics. These security ratings are determined by a company's requirement and are based on different criteria like network security, DMARC, email spoofing, phishing attack, data leaks, risk of man in the middle threats and other vulnerabilities. These security ratings can be easily used to assess risks and can help you spot the security metric that requires attention.

  6. Risk of Unidentified Devices

    It is easy for employees to accidentally introduce malware or other viruses while using their own devices. this is very common in companies with BYOD or bring your own device policy. Since often these IoT (Internet of Things) devices are poorly configured, it's crucial to have a network intrusion detection program. Your organisation's security will surely benefit from an intrusion detected system.

  7. Frequency of Security Incidents

    While you may calculate the time taken to detect or mitigate the threat, it is very important to track the number of times these incidents take place. If your organisation is facing frequent attacks, it is time to consider tightening your security as well as buy appropriate cybersecurity insurance to tackle any financial losses that it may incur.

  8. Intrusion

    Another common risk to an organisation's security is an intrusion attempt. Companies should know the number of times bad actors have tried to gain unauthorised access. This can be best assessed by analyzing your security system's firewall.

  9. Access Management

    Administrative privileges come with certain responsibilities, most of them open to risk if not used wisely. Do you know how many employees in your company have administrative privileges? If used carelessly, these can lead to a gap wide enough to invite cyber attacks. One of the best ways to deal with this risk is by providing least access or least privilege which is cost effective, simple and can drastically reduce privilege escalation attacks.

  10. Performance Comparison

    Market research is among the best applicable strategies to tackle various problems. When it comes to cyber security, it helps to compare your organisation's cybersecurity performance with your industry peers.

    Especially during board presentations, this can be easily done to throw light on the company's vulnerabilities and steps taken to prevent or deal with them. Companies can easily benchmark their security performances against their peers in the industry over a given timeframe to assess their company's cyber security.

Wrapping it Up,

Selecting KPIs and KRIs for any company must be done as per the company's needs, regulations, the industry and appetite for risk. However, ensure that these metrics are clear to everyone so that these metrics are not too complex to be studied. These metrics are also useful in the cost estimates and can lead the organisation to allocate resources accordingly. Another very good way to save your company significant costs is by investing in good cybersecurity insurance so that in case of a worst-case scenario, the organisation has the necessary backup.

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