Essential Cybersecurity KPIs to Track for Effective Risk Management

What is A KPI?

Simply put, a KPI is a measurement to evaluate the effectiveness of individuals, teams, or entire companies. These metrics provide insights to management about the alignment of the business (or specific units or individuals) with their intended goals, as well as areas that require enhancements.

The most effective KPIs closely align with strategic objectives and priorities. Although an extensive array of KPIs exists, attempting to measure every process and objective would result in a futile and resource-intensive endeavor. Thus, a discerning approach is necessary, concentrating performance measurement efforts on pivotal areas. 

For instance, KPIs related to brand equity and awareness become crucial if a key business objective is to fortify brand presence. Consequently, KPIs offer a means to translate organizational goals and priorities into measurable criteria quantifiably, facilitating the evaluation of overall company performance.

Essential Cybersecurity KPIs to Track for Effective Risk Management

How Do KPIs Work?

Typically quantitative, KPIs often employ straightforward figures, percentages, or ratios to gauge performance, rendering them easily understandable. However, KPIs frequently need more explanatory depth. For instance, a KPI may point out that only 30% of customers would endorse a service to others. That number does not explain why the customer satisfaction rate for that service is so low. It’s vital to emphasize that KPIs do not contribute to performance enhancement; their role only indicates whether desired objectives are being met.

Another important point to remember when discussing KPIs is that quantity isn’t the same thing as quality. For example, say you manage to meet a target of increasing traffic to your website by 20% by publishing a lot of free content. But that content’s quality has decreased because your team has less time on each article or blog. So, although you’re getting more visitors, the average time visitors spend reading your content has dropped. Overall, sales and leads haven’t increased – even though you’ve been successful according to the quantity measure of the KPI. 

That being said, it’s essential to use KPIs in a strategic manner that links to your broader business priorities.

Performance Evaluation in Risk Management

Performance evaluation is a cornerstone of effective KPI risk management and an essential practice for ensuring good governance. Performance evaluation usually comprises six key activities:

  • Monitoring
  • Measurement
  • Analysis
  • Evaluation
  • Internal audit
  • Management review

By conducting performance evaluations, organizations can ensure that their risk management process remains continuously aligned with business strategies and objectives. In essence, metrics are measurable indicators of crucial performance milestones, offering valuable data to gauge an organization’s risk management effectiveness. Cybersecurity KPI dashboards are key tools that play a vital role in this context. 

KPIs for Risk Management

Risk management meetings often look to key performance indicators (KPIs) to help inform debates and discussions.

There are many risk KPIs: some measure the process, some measure the result, and some estimate the amount (or value) at risk. Others look to be leading indicators predicting the direction of travel a chance will likely take. The key is to have a range of metrics covering the breadth and depth of risk-relevant activity. 

KPIs focus on assessing business performance and help provide insights into an organization’s risk posture, facilitating informed decision-making and strengthening cybersecurity defenses. Let’s explore how a well-implemented security risk metrics program can pave the way for a proactive and efficient risk management strategy in the ever-evolving landscape of technology risks.

Why bother with KPIs at all?

KPIs have several benefits that are worth noting. They facilitate operations in the following areas:

  1. Setting performance goals
  2. Developing measures of productivity
  3. Improving competitive advantage
  4. Improving products, processes, and services
  5. Confirming performance against strategic plans
  6. Identifying new business opportunities

Some equally important advantages to using KPIs:

  1. Reduce costs
  2. Increase value for money
  3. Reduce volatility of outcomes
  4. Limit risk to as low as reasonably practicable
  5. Monitor performance against contracted or internal requirements

Start Getting Value With
Centraleyes for Free

See for yourself how the Centraleyes platform exceeds anything an old GRC
system does and eliminates the need for manual processes and spreadsheets
to give you immediate value and run a full risk assessment in less than 30 days

Learn more about Essential Cybersecurity KPIs

Real-World Examples of Cybersecurity KPI Metrics

Let’s chart a course through some commonly used cybersecurity KPIs and explore their significance in measuring an organization’s cybersecurity effectiveness.

Security Incidents

This KPI measures the total number of security incidents experienced by an organization. Data breaches, malware infections, unauthorized access attempts, and system compromises are included. Tracking security incidents helps organizations understand the frequency and severity of security threats. A higher number of security incidents may indicate potential vulnerabilities in the organization’s security measures, prompting the need for more robust defenses and incident response capabilities.

Mean Time to Recovery (MTTR)

The Mean Time to Recovery KPI measures how long an organization takes to recover from a system failure or a security incident. A shorter MTTR indicates the organization has robust incident response and recovery procedures. Swift recovery minimizes business disruption and ensures that critical services are restored promptly.

Cybersecurity Awareness Training

This KPI evaluates the effectiveness of an organization’s security awareness training program. It tracks the maintenance of documentation for security awareness training and the inclusion of all organization members, including senior executives. A well-trained workforce contributes to a more robust security culture and helps reduce the risk of security incidents caused by human error or negligence.

Compliance with Risk Frameworks and Security Policies

This KPI measures the degree of adherence to security policies, standards, and regulatory requirements. It helps ensure security controls and measures are implemented per the defined guidelines. Cybersecurity KPI compliance is essential to reduce the risk of non-compliance-related penalties and strengthen the organization’s security posture.

Risk Scores and Security Ratings

Financially Quantified Internal Risk Scores

Centraleyes’ risk scoring feature calculates risk level using an additive type of formula that outputs an overall risk score based on the following:

  • The status of the 5 NIST functions: identify, detect, protect, respond, recover
  • Corporate assets
  • Risk appetite, with the option to compare risk scores based on selected tier-level
  • Your risk score as compared to the cyber insurance policy coverage

These factors are all interactive, and board members can go deeper into the metrics to see what components factor into the final output. 

Third-party Risk Scores

Third-party risk scores should factor into your organization’s overall risk score. Using advanced vulnerability scans of vendor domains and prepopulated questionnaires, you can gain insight into each vendor’s risk posture individually and identify areas that need security fortification in your supply chain. 

Quarterly Comparisons and Future Predictions

Detailed comprehensive reports should be prepared quarterly to capture the various systems risks’ statistics, analysis, and impact. From these analyses, the team presents a variety of visual diagrams representing the risk metrics and measures at different levels to the management.

Centraleyes built an interactive 4D matrix that calculates impact, probability vs. cost, and time resources. Users can break down each element to see how results were derived and how to achieve risk target goals.

In addition to risk based on likelihood and impact, companies must also assess their ability to respond to risks that will emerge in the future. Gaps are identified and filled as needed to respond to unpredictable events effectively.

Budget Allocation and Status of Risk Management Investments

Ensure cybersecurity investments continuously improve by gaining deep visibility into current and historical performance. Convert compliance investments from an overhead cost to a business enabler with the ability to measure your progress toward operational resilience.

The Role of Metrics in an Automated GRC Program

In an automated Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) program, metrics are crucial in measuring and assessing various aspects of an organization’s operations, risk management, and compliance efforts. GRC programs ensure an organization operates efficiently, minimizes risks, and adheres to relevant laws and regulations. Metrics provide quantifiable data that help organizations evaluate their performance and make informed decisions to improve their overall GRC posture.

Effectively managing risks within a business requires a straightforward process of identifying risks and a way to use data for intelligent decision-making. With Centraleyes, taking complex technical risks and turning the data into easy-to-understand visuals is easy. 

This is primarily done by looking at trends, putting numbers to potential losses, and valuing essential business assets. When the risk management team can show relevant cybersecurity metrics for the board that include solid facts and numbers, they can leverage these variables to steer a strategic risk course across the enterprise.

Start Getting Value With
Centraleyes for Free

See for yourself how the Centraleyes platform exceeds anything an old GRC
system does and eliminates the need for manual processes and spreadsheets
to give you immediate value and run a full risk assessment in less than 30 days

Looking to learn more about Essential Cybersecurity KPIs?
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