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Measuring Success: Cybersecurity Performance Metrics that Count

Cybersecurity Performance

Some time ago, businesses could go by with just a little help from their antivirus software friends. But as cybercriminals became sleeker with innovative tactics, the old lines of defense just didn’t work anymore. 
Staying vigilant in the face of today’s possible hacks requires a more thorough strategy. Long gone are the days when you could set an antivirus software and forget about it for about two or three years. These days, you need to continuously evaluate how effective your security controls are, what are the weak access points, compliance guidelines, and other elements of a sound security strategy.
But how do you determine how effective the tools are? Especially if your company leader wants to know the effectiveness of your strategy. You need to bring them value, be it through ROI or other results that are harder to quantify.
In this article, we will single out metrics that help determine how good your cybersecurity performance is.

The Best Cybersecurity Performance Methodologies

The two best methodologies you can use to assess cybersecurity performance work the best when combined.

The first one entails just measuring everything. Collecting data from all points of your cybersecurity strategy means you are aiming to create a culture of measurement and make decisions based on facts. The fallback of this method is that you can get overwhelmed with all the data to the point where it doesn’t bring you value. The truth is that you don’t need heaps of data to make management decisions. 

The second method entails collecting data and then applying analytical techniques that describe the nature of the data. Here, you don’t really go for numbers. Rather you go for scales that have grades such as “nominal, ordinal, ratio”, etc.

The Best Cybersecurity Performance Metrics to Use

Now we’ll go over some metrics that can give you practical ideas on forming your cybersecurity performance plan.

The Proportion of Devices with Endpoint Protection

In a company’s cybersecurity program, endpoints like laptops, servers, and printers are among the most vulnerable components, in part because they are handled by another fragile component: people. Every device should be taken into account for endpoint protection as part of a cybersecurity program, and any unprotected endpoints should be noted. This performance metric for cybersecurity aims for a value as near to 100% as possible.

Cybersecurity Performance Metrics

Number of Systems with Vulnerabilities

A crucial cybersecurity indicator for assessing the risk your company faces is the number of exposed assets in your environment. Although managing updates and patches is a difficult task, it is crucial to do so to close security gaps, especially those related to access control. A vulnerability scan that covers all of your assets will show you what needs to be done to strengthen your company’s security posture. An effective vulnerability management program is not just a matter of courtesy.

Amount of Users with “Super-user” Access

The most effective methods for managing information security involve giving users complete discretion over how much access control they have to the company’s resources. Employees should only have access to the assets, systems, and data they need to do their jobs. By identifying the access levels of every network user, you can change them as necessary by preventing any illogical super users or administrators.

The Time It Takes to Deactivate Former Employee Credentials

You can determine whether the IT and HR departments are on the same page by tracking these cybersecurity KPIs. In a perfect world, access for users who have been fired by the company would be promptly revoked through responsive access control. Maintaining them in use poses a danger since it exposes private data and may compromise devices.

Average Time to Handle Breaches

How long does it take to update the software when vendors provide security updates? Delays in installing security patches expose the organization to a known vulnerability that could be used to launch a cyberattack. Fast patch installation is recommended, as is virtual patching while patches are unavailable. Applying patches as soon as possible—within days or even hours following the publication of the update—is the aim.

Average Rating of Security Vendors

Attacks on supply chains are becoming a bigger concern to businesses of all kinds. A cybersecurity program must include ongoing monitoring of vendors’ cybersecurity defenses as well as the regular third-party assurance of both new and existing vendors. All third parties engaged by your company should receive high-security ratings and low-risk ratings from this KPI.

Final Word

If you want to know if your cybersecurity strategy is doing the job, you should do more than just secure your access controls. A good strategy incorporates KPIs that are both quantifiable and quantifiable. By combining the lessons learned from the metrics above, you can do your company a big favor. Along with getting continuous monitoring, you will also get results that will firmly set you on the right path.

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