CIS Releases Updated Consensus IT Security Metrics And Quick Start Guide

CIS Metrics feature eight new metrics to address industry needs, such as Incident Impact and Configuration Compliance

November 3, 2010

3 Min Read


East Greenbush, N.Y. – November 1, 2010 – The Center for Internet Security (CIS) today announced an updated release of its CIS Metrics, the industry’s first consensus metrics for information security. The release represents the next evolution of the Metrics and incorporates input from experts in the public and private sectors to provide additional guidance in a number of key areas. CIS also released today a new Quick Start Guide to help users more rapidly and effectively implement the CIS Metrics.

The updates released today feature eight new metrics to address industry needs such as Incident Impact and Configuration Compliance. Also included are taxonomies to help standardize metrics reporting, along with relationship diagrams for metrics data sets to enable easier integration into existing or custom automation solutions.

The updated CIS Metrics now comprise 28 definitions representing a balanced combination of processes and outcomes across seven business functions: Incident Management, Vulnerability Management, Patch Management, Application Security, Configuration Management, Change Management, and Finance.

CIS also released a new Quick Start Guide for the CIS Metrics. The Guide was developed in collaboration with CIS Members and others to further help organizations understand and implement the Metrics in order to achieve the most value from them. The Guide is designed for both technical and non-technical users and includes information on how to select what metrics to implement, how to create datasets and metrics results and how to present them in an effective manner.

The CIS Metrics and Quick Start Guide are available for download free of charge at:

Security professionals are under intense pressure to justify their program expenses. But the lack of widely accepted and unambiguous metrics for decision support causes organizations to struggle in making cost-effective security investment decisions. “By implementing these new Configuration and Incident Management metrics, along with the Financial metrics, organizations can now have a process for measuring the success of these information security business functions with the same frequency and rigor as traditional public financial results,” said Steven Piliero, CIS Chief Security Officer.

The CIS metrics are developed through consensus among more than 150 security experts from commercial enterprises, government and academia. Participants provide perspectives from a diverse set of backgrounds, including software development, audit and compliance, research and legal. The Metrics provide unambiguous definitions for security professionals to measure some of the most important aspects of the information security status of an enterprise.

Development of the new metrics was a collaborative process that involved coming to agreement on the additional metrics that are important to measure in all enterprises and agreeing on the best way to precisely define the means of measurement for each. The definitions were then vetted among the CIS membership.

Moving forward, the CIS consensus group will release electronic schemas for sharing metrics data and definitions via automation tools both within and across organizational boundaries. CIS will continue to collaborate with organizations in education, government, and the finance and healthcare sectors that are also working to implement metrics for information security.

CIS Featured in RSA Conference USA 2011 Security Metrics Panel Session

CIS also announced today that its CSO, Steven Piliero, will speak at the upcoming RSA Conference USA event on February 17th, 2011 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The panel session, titled “Security Metrics: A Beginners Guide,” is moderated by Caroline Wong, from Zynga and includes James Reavis from the Cloud Security Alliance. For more information visit:

About CIS

The Center for Internet Security (CIS) is a non-profit organization whose Benchmarking and Metrics Division helps enterprises reduce the risk of business and e-commerce disruptions resulting from inadequate technical security controls, and provides enterprises with resources for measuring information security status and making rational security investment decisions. The Division develops and distributes consensus-based benchmarks for secure configuration of operating systems, software applications and network devices. The consensus security configuration benchmarks are downloaded more than one million times a year, and are globally accepted as user-originated, de facto standards. More than 150 leading corporations, government entities, universities and security organizations are CIS members. For more information, visit

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