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What Are Some Good KPIs for a Vulnerability Management Program?

Posted DateFebruary 3, 2021
Posted Time 3   min Read

You measure your business performance against certain KPIs to know whether you can accomplish business goals. A similar logic comes into action when you want to manage the vulnerabilities in your IT architecture. Vulnerability management KPIs form the core foundation of a vulnerability management program.

Reasons You Need Vulnerability Management Metrics

  • The primary purpose of vulnerability KPIs is to prevent surprises!

Did you know that 60% of security breaches comprise vulnerabilities for which a patch is available but was not applied?

Take the case of Equifax, the world’s leading credit rating agency. It experienced a breach in 2017 due to poor patch management. The breach could have been avoided in the first place if they had a KPI for this.

  • They are the quantitative measurement of your security framework. They give a benchmark to audit your cybersecurity and vulnerability management policy, find loopholes and fix them at regular intervals.
  • They help you make informed, quick, and real-time decisions as and when the need arises for vulnerability assessment and management.
  • They give insights into the business context in terms of time, effort, and money required to be spent on a vulnerability management program.
  • They help you meet internal and regulatory compliance standards.

Types of Vulnerability Management Metrics

The vulnerability metrics can vary from one organization to another. It depends on the size of the organization, industry vertical, geography, number of employees, confidentiality or sensitivity of database, and several other business-specific factors.

The basic question you have to ask is what is the purpose of a particular vulnerability KPI for your organization. Here are some commonly used vulnerability metrics:

1. Time to Detect

This KPI is the average time that passes between the creation and detection of a vulnerability.

For example, an attack happened on Tuesday, but it was discovered only three days later by the system or IT people. The lesser this time gap is, the more efficient your vulnerability management program is.

2. Time to Resolution

This KPI determines the average time it takes to find a resolution to a vulnerability. If it takes longer, then the risk parameters intensify, and offenders get more time to make merry at your cost.

3. Time to Mitigation

This KPI determines the average time it takes to alleviate the attack. While Time to Resolution is about finding a resolution, Time to Mitigation relates to the deployment of resolution to contain the vulnerability from further worsening the situation.

4. Time to Turnaround a Patch

This KPI determines the average time taken to fix an unknown or undetected vulnerability. It shows the efficiency of your organization’s patch management process.

5. Number of Open High-Risk Vulnerabilities

This KPI helps you to keep track of a vulnerability that dates to several years, is high-risk and no one has found a patch yet. If you ignore it, it could turn into a monster someday. An Android vulnerability, a high-severity bug went undetected for five years!

6. Number of Exceptions Granted

This KPI determines the number of vulnerabilities that are pending resolution for some reason. These vulnerabilities may not be old or high risk, but you still need to track them regularly to mitigate future risks.

7. Vulnerability Re-Open Rate

This KPI determines the effectiveness of the resolution process. So, if a bug has been already fixed, but it re-opens once or frequently, it means that the remediation process is less effective. Higher the rate, the more flawed the resolution process is.

8. System Hardening

This KPI determines whether your organization’s applications, network infrastructure devices, and operating system are properly configured.

9. Data Scan Coverage

This KPI determines the number of IT assets for which you can find comprehensive and accurate data. More inventory you can cover, more control you have over your cybersecurity. This requires taking routine stock of every digital and physical IT asset that goes in and out of the IT infrastructure.

10. Risk by Business Unit or Asset Group

This KPI determines the risk level that each business unit or asset group of your organization faces due to vulnerabilities. This will help you to focus your vulnerability management program priorities accordingly.

KPI metrics for vulnerability management can become a tricky and complex affair if not done correctly. Hence, it is recommended to entrust this task to a trusted security advisor like Indusface. With several years of rich expertise and experience in securing critical web applications, Indusface can help you design a robust KPI vulnerability management program.

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