Metrics and chill: Cybersecurity Metrics for protection and peace of mind
You know that awkward moment when you realize your cybersecurity is weaker than you assumed? It’s kind of like thinking it’s time to take your relationship to the next level, but your boo isn’t ready for the commitment. Having an inaccurate grasp of your cyber risk is a little embarrassing, sure, but it can ultimately lead to serious consequences for your company.
Believe it or not, just 22% of CEOs believe the information they possess on the risk of organizational data exposure is comprehensive enough to form informed decisions— and this statistic has remained pretty constant over the last decade. Yikes. Luckily, Cybermaniacs is that into you, and we have your back when it’s time to hone in on metrics for your cybersecurity program.
It’s just as important to establish a cybersecurity baseline as it is to set expectations in a new relationship. Your baseline becomes a reference point you can use to identify deviations from normal behavior, which helps to expose intrusion attempts and other security issues. The process of establishing a baseline starts with a monitoring system and network activity over a period of time; this includes observing security metrics in your corporate network, such as traffic, resource utilization, and user activity.
Vulnerability is great in relationships but not so much in cybersecurity. Once you’ve established a baseline and thoroughly assessed your number of vulnerabilities, you can begin to adopt the appropriate metrics. What is the risk of incurring a security incident when it comes to organizational devices and departments? What kind of protection do you need to mitigate those risks?
Sometimes people use CSM and KPI interchangeably, but the difference is important.
Cyber security metrics are like the love language of security teams– practical strategies that help with the daily measurement of romantic satisfaction security results. Key performance indicators, on the other hand, are like a relationship’s 5-year plan–specific, measurable goals tied to the organization’s overall objectives, which provide methods of assessing whether those goals are being met.
KPIs might include reducing the number of security incidents by a certain percentage or improving MTTD (Mean time to detect) and MTTR (Mean time to respond) over time. Your organization’s Chief Information Security Officer works with other important stakeholders to identify KPIs, continue to gather and analyze important data, and use CSM to identify areas for improvement.
To All the Cybersecurity Metrics I’ve Loved Before
Cybersecurity metrics let business leaders and managers make more informed, data-driven decisions about improving security systems (if only we could apply these to our dating lives!).
Here are some examples of common metrics:
- Mean time to detect (MTTD): This cybersecurity metric measures the average time it takes an organization to detect a security incident or breach. A low MTTD means quicker detection, a curbed possibility of damage, and a quicker road to remediation.
- Mean time to respond (MTTR): Once a security issue is quickly detected, having a fast MTTR means less time between you and containing a threat.
- Mean time to contain (MTTC): A low MTTC is extremely important; security teams have a greater chance of limiting the impact of security incidents and reducing the possibility of further damage. MTTC can include any activities involved in isolating the affected systems or networks.
- Patching cadence: This is the frequency and regularity with which your organization applies software patches and system updates to address vulnerabilities and improve overall system performance. Finding the right cadence for your organizational patch releases means potentially avoiding future security incidents and limiting identified attack vectors; like regular vaccination, keeping your systems patched and up-to-date is an investment in your organization’s long term health.
- Unidentified devices: These sneaky sleeper agents can pose a huge security threat. Unidentified devices on your network might be running vulnerable software, or have already been compromised by bad actors to be a launching point for further attacks (think Draco bewitching the cupboard to let Death Eaters into Hogwarts). Sometimes an employee introduces an unauthorized device into the corporate network– an action that might seem harmless without a proper understanding of the consequences.
- Effective Training: Security metrics are driven by employees who are well-educated on which metrics are being focused on and why; this means that proper training that engages and educates your whole team on what to do in the event of an attack goes a long way. Human Risk Management [link to blog] can also help prevent these attacks in the first place. Remember— at the end of the day, every member of your organization is part of the security team.
- Security Ratings: One way to help colleagues outside of the IT department manage and recognize risk is with security ratings. Employees can perform a cyber security maturity assessment aligned to industry standards in order to contextualize the current baseline and number of vulnerabilities. Like reminding your bestie not to compromise her standards by dating a guy who calls all of his exes crazy and doesn’t own a belt, security ratings aligned to universal standards with independent assessments can help evaluate third-party vendors to ensure they meet the organization's cybersecurity standards.
Take it slow
Trustworthy, sustainable metrics don’t just happen overnight, and they can evolve with changes and company needs over time. Fostering a long term relationship with your metrics has ongoing benefits for the integrity of your security systems.
One thing about Cybermaniacs is that we will always cheer on the relationship between your organization and effective, individualized cybersecurity metrics. We can offer assessments to figure out your baseline cybersecurity score, bespoke training that engages employees, and more! Book a quick call today to learn more.