Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Operations

11/12/2016
09:00 AM
Kelly Sheridan
Kelly Sheridan
Slideshows
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Security Metrics Checklist

Which metrics are the best indicators of a strong cybersecurity team? Experts say security pros should be recording and reporting these data points to demonstrate their success.
Previous
1 of 9
Next

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

It's easy to assume the best sign of security success is an absence of malicious activity. However, it's unrealistic for security pros to adopt the "no news is good news" approach to defense, security experts say.

Pete Lindstrom, vice president of security research with IDC's executive program, says the argument of "when we're successful, nothing happens," is the wrong approach. He says security departments tend to focus more on incidents and less on the "bits and bytes" of their programs.

CISOs, IT managers, and other security leaders need to record and report metrics to their CIOs and business executives to demonstrate the performance of their teams. But right now, most security teams lack definitive guidelines for gauging their success.

"The challenge with measuring security metrics is you never know what your security operations are not seeing," explains Jeff Schilling, chief of customer operations and security at Armor. This causes some metrics, like the number of hosts, to be false because teams have a tough time parsing false positives and don't know if they're finding all their infected hosts.

With so many unknowns, he continues, it's difficult to paint a full picture of performance. 

There are a few metrics today's security leaders are studying to gauge the success of their employees, explains Joseph Carson, CISSP, who handles EMEA product marketing and global strategic alliances for Thycotic. 

Some businesses measure their success by the number of security incidents they are experiencing and handling at any point in time, for instance. Others evaluate their system vulnerabilities by recording where their systems are patched, where they have been exposed, and the number of identified viruses trying to compromise systems within the organization, he says.

Security pros also evaluate the behavior of the perimeter, and record instances like firewall incidents and potentially dangerous websites. The number of solutions implemented is another common metric considered when evaluating security posture.

"Most of these things relate to different types of security measurements," Carson says. "But it also comes down to how well organizations can collect inventory from Web system applications and users in the environment." 

The problem with many of these metrics is they don't bridge the gap between business and security. Security pros should be focusing on metrics like the location and accuracy of information, and efficiency of alerts, to paint a better picture of their security strategies. 

"Many of the metrics we measure today don't translate into the business," Carson explains. "If an incident occurs, what is the business impact?" 

Here are eight key metrics for measuring the success (or failure) of a security program:

 

 

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Previous
1 of 9
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
I Smell a RAT! New Cybersecurity Threats for the Crypto Industry
David Trepp, Partner, IT Assurance with accounting and advisory firm BPM LLP,  7/9/2021
News
Attacks on Kaseya Servers Led to Ransomware in Less Than 2 Hours
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  7/7/2021
Commentary
It's in the Game (but It Shouldn't Be)
Tal Memran, Cybersecurity Expert, CYE,  7/9/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
The State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
In this report learn how enterprises are building their incident response teams and processes, how they research potential compromises, how they respond to new breaches, and what tools and processes they use to remediate problems and improve their cyber defenses for the future.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-37742
PUBLISHED: 2021-07-30
app/View/Elements/GalaxyClusters/view_relation_tree.ctp in MISP 2.4.147 allows Stored XSS when viewing galaxy cluster relationships.
CVE-2021-37743
PUBLISHED: 2021-07-30
app/View/GalaxyElements/ajax/index.ctp in MISP 2.4.147 allows Stored XSS when viewing galaxy cluster elements in JSON format.
CVE-2021-37746
PUBLISHED: 2021-07-30
textview_uri_security_check in textview.c in Claws Mail before 3.18.0, and Sylpheed through 3.7.0, does not have sufficient link checks before accepting a click.
CVE-2020-26563
PUBLISHED: 2021-07-30
ObjectPlanet Opinio before 7.13 allows reflected XSS via the survey/admin/surveyAdmin.do?action=viewSurveyAdmin query string. (There is also stored XSS if input to survey/admin/*.do is accepted from untrusted users.)
CVE-2021-37606
PUBLISHED: 2021-07-30
Meow hash 0.5/calico does not sufficiently thwart key recovery by an attacker who can query whether there's a collision in the bottom bits of the hashes of two messages, as demonstrated by an attack against a long-running web service that allows the attacker to infer collisions by measuring timing d...