Essential Security Metrics You Should Track
At the moment, many IT professionals are working on data security on the internet. To help with this, they develop various tools to measure the network’s resilience to cyber risks. Such measurements are called cyber security metrics. They reflect the effectiveness of the tools being implemented.
What’s happening now with cybersecurity in the world? Read David Geer’s Interview: Cybersecurity Now and in the Future.
As a rule, metrics are a kind of tool that facilitates choosing the right approach to cybersecurity. There are a huge number of different metrics that can be used to adjust actions and improve performance. These indicators cover various performance characteristics, security logs, and the efficiency of using certain resources.
However, despite the work that’s been done in this area, cybersecurity is still difficult to assess. Therefore, selecting key indicators for cybersecurity is quite a difficult task.
Today, we’ll tell you about the key security metrics that can help track your online protection effectiveness.
Read how to protect your cybersecurity during Covid-19.
Why are security metrics important?
Measurement is an important aspect of information security that all specialists in this field face sooner or later. Tracking metric values allow you to identify problems in time and take measures to fix them.
However, creating a catalog of metrics is an individual process for each organization. With the right approach, each metric serves a specific purpose, depending on the situation, and allows you to get answers to specific questions. If an organization does not know what metrics it needs in the field of information security, then it doesn’t need them – because it is not yet ready to perform measurements.
Security monitoring is a planned process that requires repetition. We can’t evaluate cybersecurity once and forget about it. Certain metrics assess and monitor data security measures, their effectiveness, possible risks, and interchangeability daily.
Analysis of key performance indicators (KPIs) and key risk indicators (KRIs) provides an overall picture of the entire security system’s functioning for any period. In other words, each person can clearly see the graph of improvements or deterioration of certain indicators. Thanks to this metric, you can plan further actions to ensure security.
In addition, such indicators are necessary for quantitative and qualitative analysis of security information, which is necessary for reporting in large companies.
So, security indicators are necessary both for ordinary internet users and large companies interested in preserving confidential information.
What is KPI in security?
Evaluation of work results based on KPI is a widely used method today. KPI (Key Performance Indicators) are a set of key performance measurements of the company as a whole or its separate structural unit, contributing to the achievement of strategic and tactical goals. KPI indicators are applied as follows:
- Goals are set for an employee or department, and deadlines are set for their completion.
- At the end of the selected period, the achieved result is compared with the plan.
- Depending on the implementation of the KPI plan, the remuneration of the employee(s) may be determined by the results.
This system allows you to make the evaluation of employees’ work as objective as possible. An important condition for the successful application of KPI is the format of the goals set. They should be clear, time-bound, real, and achievable.
KPIs are actively used in the work of various departments, and in particular for those units related to information security. The key goal of any company is to make a profit. Based on this principle, KPI indicators are determined in the classical approach to this method.
At first glance, information security services’ activities cannot be directly linked to business profitability indicators, and their impact on business results can be hard to quantify. At the same time, the role of information security in the successful and stable functioning of the business is huge. The effective preventive work of information security protects the company infrastructure from downtime and data loss or leakage; based on this, you need to create KPI for information security.
The structure and value of KPI for information security services may have their own characteristics depending on the company’s field of activity. The following is a summary of some quantitative KPIs for information security services.
KPIs you should monitor
- MTTI and MTTC
These are measurements of the average identification and response time for threats. MTTI is “mean time to identify” a threat, and MTTC is “mean time to contain” it. If both of these indicators show high values, then the chosen security model is ineffective, and the organization loses money. Therefore, these indicators are in the first place in our list.
- Number of systems with known vulnerabilities
A key indicator of cybersecurity is the number of currently vulnerable assets that exist in the company. It is important to manage any vulnerabilities that occur properly, for example staying on top of updates and security patches for all systems. Their competent scanning will demonstrate all the weaknesses and suggest the necessary action plan to improve the level of security.
- Number of SSL certificates configured incorrectly
An SSL certificate is a group of files that confirm ownership of the cryptographic key to a specific site from which data is transmitted. It is these files that prevent theft of digital property. Therefore, it is important to configure them correctly on the servers.
- The amount of data transmitted over the corporate network
In large companies, employees have unlimited access to the internet, which is fraught with traffic misuse. By viewing and downloading various movies or apps, employees open access to various botnets or malware that harm both technology and the network as a whole.
We’ve collected all types of existing malware. If you are interested in the protection methods against them, you can read the article and remember some working tips.
- Level of readiness
This is an analysis of the readiness of the devices used for safe operation, i.e. checking for updates and fixes.
- Mean time between failures (MTBF)
This is the amount of time that passes between system failures.
- Mean time to recovery (MTTR)
This is a required time to recover from an attack on a product or system.
- Days before correction
The time interval required to install all necessary security fixes.
- The cost of one incident
Cost of a system error: this includes the amount for detecting the threat, identifying it, and eliminating it.
Choosing security metrics
As you can see, there is no single and common list of metrics that would regulate cybersecurity effectiveness. As a rule, everyone chooses the necessary and working metrics for them.
The list of metrics we have prepared will help you monitor your security system at a basic level and prepare a report on the company’s cybersecurity for the administration. Also, it is useful metrics to check the technical holes of your protection system to prevent any cybersecurity threat and attack.
Be careful and use only working and reliable methods of protection and safety assessment.
For more tips and tricks, you can read our checklist on security measures on the internet.