How to Define Cybersecurity Metrics for Web Applications?

Posted DateMay 18, 2020
Posted Time 5   min Read

Organizations from all over the world have made cyber-security one of their major priorities, with information security, cyber-attacks, data breaches, and malware buzzwords that are on everyone’s lips.

But although everyone is interested in improving the security of their organization, is there any way to actually measure the strength of this security?

How can a company’s existing strength be properly quantified? And what tracking can be done on improvements?

Any cyber-security program of any real worth needs to have performance indicators that are very carefully defined in order to provide comparable and meaningful values in the form of cyber-security metrics.

How to Measure the Security of an Organisation?

One of the most important positions in bigger companies is the Chief Information Security Officer, often referred to simply as the CISO

How to Measure the Security

The CISO often directly reports to a company’s CEO, with one of their primary tasks being to give information to C-suite management regarding current cyber-security status and trends as well as the requirements needed to support the making of informed decisions.

All organizations have their own technical and operational requirements, meaning they all need individually tailored cyber-security metrics.

Security metric programs for the development and maintenance of an appropriate series of indicators are a crucial component of all cyber-security programs and, on a broader level, all risk management programs that also feature a cyber-security component.

What Benefits Does Cyber-Security Metrics Provide?

A great deal of effort and time needs to be spent on the preparation of a cyber-security metrics set that is individually tailored to the needs of a particular company, but the reality is there are a lot of advantages to doing so.

Cyber-security metrics are very high-level indicators and provide the greatest advantages when used in a strategic capacity.

Benefits do Cyber-Security Metrics

There are a number of ways in which they can be of assistance within the boardroom.

Using metrics that are transparent and informative can help board members to comprehend the current status of a company’s cyber-security as well as new developments, making sure that the implications and importance of the cyber-security processes are fully understood.

Metrics can also assist security professionals with informing and having an influence on the making of decisions within a company by providing tangible reference values and discussion points.

The use of real figures can also help to justify requests for security resource allocations, which makes it easier for compelling and understandable cases to be made when extra resources are required within a firm’s IT budget to make improvements to cyber-security.

Corporate policies, regulatory requirements, and general industry standards are increasingly mandating specific controls for cyber-security for organizations, and metrics can assist with the monitoring and demonstrating that a firm is in complying with those controls in addition to helping with risk management.

Metrics can also be used to compare the performance of an organization against that of its industry peers in order to make comparisons regarding the spending amount and results of cyber-security and acquire a competitive advantage.

Further Advantages of Cyber-Security Metrics

Metrics also provide a practical advantage on an organizational and operational level.

The regular monitoring of important metrics can result in big issues that may not be observable just through operational data being able to be identified and thus deal with much earlier.

Advantages of Cyber-Security Metrics

The right metrics can also help to determine how effective the results of cyber-security controls and initiatives actually are, enabling performance monitoring and any required follow-ups.

Metrics can also help with internal performance, engagement, and awareness by helping with the setting of particular goals that can allow the security team to focus their attention on the areas of the greatest importance and be more diligent.

Important Cyber-Security Metric Features

When choosing the right metrics it is of vital importance to make sure they are both relevant and actionable.

Any security metrics that are going to be effective need to actually be necessary and correspond to some requirements of the business; otherwise it is not needed. Metrics should be there for one reason – to support effective decision-making.

Cyber-Security Metric Features

Metrics should also offer specific values rather than qualitative descriptions, as this allows for results to be compared directly across dimensions and periods.

Web Applications and the Development of Cyber-Security Metrics

Primary cyber-security metrics in regards to web application security will most likely put their focus on weaknesses and availability. Most companies will probably already have data sources for such areas, including dashboards, reports, and logs. However data gathering needs to be as automated as possible in order to gain the most benefit, and the leading vulnerability scanners offer enterprise-class features such as visibility and reporting.

Development of Cyber-Security Metrics

Starter cyber-security metrics sets include the total amount of cyber-security incidents that have been reported, any change in the number of such reports, the time it takes to identify and resolve attacks, the cost of each incident, and a measurement of the overall availability and resilience of the application concerned.

The combination of issue resolution data provided by vulnerability management processes and custom reports offer organizations a full picture of their vulnerabilities in regards to numbers, trends, fix time and severities, providing essential data for a web security metrics program.

The modern threat landscape is in a constant state of flux, and being able to monitor security performance in such an environment highlights the importance of objective measurement. The leveraging of a fully comprehensive security metrics program allows a number of goals to be achieved by organizations including greater visibility, better decision making, and being able to ensure internal security programs meet industry benchmarks.

The utilization of a metric-based approach to the monitoring and measurement of how this strategy performs is the simplest and most effective method of making sure that company procedures and policies are actually doing the job they are intended to do. Contact Indusface today!

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