How Security Ratings Can Help Guide Cybersecurity Performance Management

Cybercrime has been growing at an alarming rate, and executives are now aware. Approximately 55% of enterprise executives plan to increase their cybersecurity budgets due to the dramatic rise in cyber attacks. 

However, simply increasing the budget isn’t likely enough to make a difference. Unlike many other departments, a budget increase doesn’t necessarily mean better performance. So how can enterprises determine how to use resources to reduce cybercrime?

Decision-makers need objective insights into the present state of the organization’s overall cybersecurity effectiveness to identify areas of improvement. Security performance management provides ongoing data about an enterprise’s cybersecurity landscape. Additionally, security ratings allow enterprises to understand how they stack up against industry standards, competition, and past performance. 

It’s time to explore a few inherent challenges to monitoring cybersecurity performance and how security ratings are a valuable tool to consistently understand — and improve — the cybersecurity of your organization. 

How Security Ratings Can Help Guide Cybersecurity Performance Management

The Challenges of Cybersecurity Performance Management

Most departments in an organization have clear KPIs to understand how they contribute, such as cost and revenue. However, cybersecurity doesn’t generate revenue but protects it. 

Adequately monitoring how well cybersecurity prevents attacks and intrusions is difficult but possible. Yet, even organizations with robust performance management systems may still be missing the mark. So let’s explore some challenges of standard cybersecurity performance management techniques.

Point-in-Time Assessments are Not Enough

Point-in-time assessments include penetration testing, red-team assessments, and social engineering assessment. Unfortunately, most traditional cybersecurity assessments evaluate a single point-in-time rather than measuring and understanding the entire cybersecurity continuum. 

Organizations need point-in-time assessments, but they should only constitute one portion of cybersecurity performance management. Cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving, and organizations need to immediately understand new threats rather than waiting for the next red-team assessment.

Reporting Too Many KPIs

Measuring cybersecurity KPIs is a step in the right direction but can also become a hindrance depending on how many are reported to decision-makers. There are dozens of potential KPIs to track, such as:

  • Intrusion attempts
  • Non-human traffic (NHT)
  • Level of preparedness
  • Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF)
  • Mean Time to Contain (MTTC)
  • Days to patch
  • Access management
  • Security ratings
  • And many more

Not every KPI translates into actionable insights into how to improve an organization’s security. While the cybersecurity team will likely want to understand every possible KPI, providing them to executives and decision-makers will lead to a sea of data that obfuscates the meaningful KPIs, like security ratings.

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Using Misleading KPIs

Like the above challenge, executives and decision-makers may misinterpret what a specific KPI means concerning the overall level of cybersecurity. 

For example, reporting that millions of intrusion attempts are prevented per week might impart a false sense of security. Even though it’s true, most of those attempts aren’t from skilled cybercriminals and don’t pose a threat. Yet, executives may see the figures and think the cybersecurity department is adequately funded.

It’s essential to track and report KPIs that accurately reflect the present state of cybersecurity.

How a Cyber Risk Rating Helps Understand Performance

Cybersecurity risk ratings are similar to credit scores — the higher the number, the better the security posture. Adequate cybersecurity risk ratings are provided by third parties, although they can be done internally. 

Adopting an effective cyber security rating tool can significantly help enterprises understand their real-time security state. There are several ways a security risk rating can help organizations improve their cybersecurity. 

Properly Prioritize Investments to Mitigate Risks

A risking rating will highlight critical vulnerabilities and strengths in your organization’s security. IT will understand what must be done to improve protection against threats rather than relying on a point-in-time assessment or a slew of KPIs.

Additionally, IT will have the information necessary to prioritize known risks based on severity. For example, if the impact of a given vulnerability doesn’t result in the intruder accessing sensitive data, but another vulnerability will, the security team will know which vulnerabilities to focus on correcting. 

Benchmark Cybersecurity Against Peers and Industry Standards

How does your organization stack up against the rest of your industry? Knowing your security rating will help you understand if you’re lagging behind or significantly ahead of your peers.

As businesses become increasingly integrated technologically, having a high-security rating can help secure new partners. A high rating will immediately let potential vendors and clients know that you’re proactively improving your cybersecurity. When they create a vendor risk rating matrix for your company, they’ll see why you earned a high-security rating.

Conversely, if you discover that you’re falling behind, you can take corrective actions before a vulnerability leads to a costly attack.

Facilitate Data-Driven Conversations with Decision-Makers

IT professionals might understand the importance of various KPIs, but that doesn’t mean decision-makers will. Having a security rating will allow IT to explain the current state of an organization’s cybersecurity to decision-makers so that they’ll understand. In addition, a security rating will shed light on exactly which areas need improvement, leading to specific recommendations and requests for additional funding.

Benefit From a Trusted Cybersecurity Risk Management Platform

You need a platform that will provide ongoing security ratings. The ongoing aspect is vital to separating ratings from point-of-time assessments. 
Centraleyes is a cybersecurity risk and compliance management platform that will help grant real-time insights and ratings to improve your security posture. Contact us today to discover how our platform can transform your cybersecurity and risk management visibility.

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