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12 Cybersecurity Metrics You and Your Vendors Should Be Monitoring

“Yes” or “no” questions won’t help you better understand your cybersecurity posture — but actionable metrics will.

Cybersecurity is an issue facing every organization today – and if you aren’t taking the necessary precautions, your company, customers, and vendors could all be at risk.

Threats can take several forms: someone on the outside, a trusted insider, or an attack through the supply chain. The best way to address each of these threat vectors is using quantifiable cybersecurity metrics.


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What are cybersecurity metrics?

There is a major difference between perceived security and actual security. Perceived security is what you believe to be in place at your organization, but actual security is much more difficult to understand. Why? Because actual security requires verification – not just what you believe to be in place.

Cybersecurity metrics provide that verification. Measuring your cyber performance can help you determine the effectiveness of your security controls and processes and identify areas for improvement. Quantifiable cybersecurity metrics can help everyone in the organization – from members of the Security Operations Center (SOC) to executives in the boardroom – understand how a particular issue or behavior puts the company at risk.

What cybersecurity metrics should you be tracking?

Start by categorizing your metrics according to three key threat vectors:

1. External threats

Malware is the most common external threat. Once downloaded by an unsuspecting employee, malware spreads throughout the corporate network. To better understand the risk malware poses to your organization, examine the number and types of botnet infections (networks of computers infected by malware) that have infiltrated your network over time. Knowing this cybersecurity metric can help you focus your security resources to prevent data exfiltration.

External threat actors can also exploit holes in your network infrastructure. To mitigate against this risk, it’s important to measure the number of unpatched known vulnerabilities and misconfigured SSL certificates in your environment. Only then can you prioritize which systems require attention.

2. Insider threats

One of the greatest threats to your organization’s cyber posture is from its employees. The good news is there are several cybersecurity metrics that can help you reduce this risk.

The goal of any organization should be to provide employees only with the appropriate level of network access they need to do their job. By measuring the percentage of employees with “super user” rights you can reduce privileges where appropriate and focus attention on monitoring the employees you’ve trusted with the greatest amount of access.

3. Supply chain threats

Securing your organization doesn’t stop at your own network, it’s also important to take a close look at third-party vendors and risk that may emanate from your supply chain. To reduce this risk you need visibility into key cybersecurity metrics, such as how frequently your company verifies its third parties’ security controls and how many of those vendors you’re continuously monitoring for any change in their posture. It’s also important to analyze the risk posed by their partners, so you can get a complete picture of potential vulnerabilities throughout your entire supply chain.

Download this guide to learn about the 12 actionable cybersecurity metrics that will help you assess the security performance of your third-party vendors.

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