Given the urgency with which many cybersecurity programs are installed, it’s easy to understand why many businesses fail to produce reliable metrics to calculate the efficacy of their security protocols.
However, simple metrics can be applied to determine if your efforts are on track to protect your business, employees and customers.
Last year, a study found that 58% of companies worldwide fail to effectively measure cybersecurity investment and performance, which can be a big issue for making decisions about the future of your program or negotiating with investors or stakeholders.
Let’s look at a few key metrics you can apply to determine how your cybersecurity benefits your business and how you can use these metrics to prepare for the future.
Analyze Your Security Foundation
For small and new businesses getting a handle on their security program, it can be difficult to determine which facets of your security are being overlooked or need improvement. In order to create an infrastructure to monitor your security efforts, begin by validating controls and assessing what is working in your program.
First, focus on your business’s needs and goals and determine specifically how security can increase your success meeting those needs and goals.
At this beginning stage you’ll need to:
- Establish a baseline of your organization’s threat profile and identify high-risk scenarios that pose the greatest impact to your business
- Validate your basic security capabilities and create an analysis of how your program addresses high-risk possibilities
- Measure how well your program currently performs, such as how many system patches you perform over a set period or how many expired applications you discover
- Understand where the leaders in your industry stand compared to your program and what gaps exist in your current set up
- Create an action plan to address these gaps
After completing these steps, you’ll have an understanding of all the elements in place, their maturity to aid your business goals and a roadmap for improvement.
With the steps above completed, you’ll begin to develop a picture of how your program strategy aligns with your business goals, presenting opportunities to pivot your strategy to obtain your expected return on investment (ROI).
When measuring ROI, you’ll have to identify your business’s unique security needs. The performance metrics used to determine ROI will be different for every company, but there are two key areas you can invest in that will build stronger security in any industry: education and preparedness.
Examples of metrics to measure security ROI:
- If you can’t detect threats because of lacking endpoint visibility, then you need an initiative to improve visibility and a plan to continually improve it
- If an internal survey finds low security awareness among your team, you’ll need to apply metrics to your training program and determine how to increase test scores
- If your key threats from the first exercise show specific threats as more likely than others, you should install metrics to prove an increased level of detection capabilities for those threats
At this point you’re looking for metrics that continually improve. Should you find that employees are clicking bad links at a rate 5% less than the month before but you see no progress in the amount of false reports that are filed each month, focus your efforts on the lower performing facet to make progress in your overall security health. If you discover stagnant metrics, our SMB Cybersecurity Report offers solutions for developing your initiatives.
Measure Response Readiness
Every company’s program will mature at a different rate, but once you’re up-and-running with a security plan that covers your bases, identifies forthcoming threats and proves to be successful from a security and business perspective, you can begin to plan for new, undiscovered threats.
When working with a new client, many managed service providers will conduct security audits. For Switchfast, it’s a complimentary service we provide to assess the needs of our clients.
The most valuable metrics to gather in this stage are:
- Amount of time before a threat is detected
- The amount of time between detection and action
- Your organization’s ability to emulate the threat landscape and stress test your own security operations
To evaluate your preparedness, download our Disaster recovery checklist and test your team.
Defining metrics and assessing the results of your security program will help you build a comprehensive program and create a plan to minimize your disaster recovery time. With these metrics in place, you’ll be able to identify strategies that help keep your business safe in the face of evolving cybersecurity threats.
As always, robust education and access to security information will help build a team that keeps security in mind.