How to Prove Your Organization’s Cybersecurity Investment is Paying Off

Sibel Bagcilar | December 30, 2020 | tag: Security Performance Management

In light of recent widespread breaches and security incidents, such as the cyber attack targeting SolarWinds, security and risk managers are under more pressure than ever to prove that their cybersecurity investments are actually paying off. 

Learn how to maximize your cybersecurity ROI through taking a risk-based approach to benchmarking performance, setting goals, tracking progress, and reporting on improvement over time using metrics that matter.

Benchmarking performance


Benchmarking is essential to your ability to make informed, comparative decisions about where to advocate for increased resources — and where to focus your cybersecurity efforts to achieve continuous improvement.

At a basic level, you need to have a solid understanding of the latest standards of care in your industry in order to benchmark effectively. Of course, it can be difficult to stay ahead of the latest security performance expectations in our evolving threat landscape, where yesterday’s standards may not cut it today.

With BitSight Peer Analytics, you can gain unprecedented visibility into the security benchmarks that exist in your industry, sector, and peer group — based on the security performance data of hundreds of thousands of global organizations. Based on a comparison of risk vectors, these data-driven insights make it easier than ever for you to identify gaps in your security performance that need to be addressed so that you can remain competitive in your market.

Setting goals and tracking progress


In order to get the most out of your cybersecurity investments, you need to have a process for identifying paths to reduce cyber risk — and assessing whether your actions against these goals are showing a positive effect on your security posture.

This type of risk-based evaluation of improvement over time empowers you to assure your senior leadership that you have a strong security program in place. But in order to create an informed action plan, you need to be able to weigh different strategies and outcomes.

That’s where BitSight Forecasting comes in — empowering you to model different scenarios and paths of remediation to project future security performance. These insights make it easier than ever to answer difficult questions, such as:

  • What level of security performance is realistic for our company within a certain time frame?
  • Which activities will empower us to reduce our cyber risk quickly?
  • How can we spend our security budget most effectively?

Reporting on improvement over time


Here’s the big one, the grand finale if you will: In order to truly prove to the board and other stakeholders that your organization’s cybersecurity investments are paying off, you need to be able to report on your improvement over time — in a language that makes sense to the business.

By taking a risk-based approach to cybersecurity reporting — as opposed to a compliance-based or incident-based approach — you can assess performance based on actual exposure to cyber threats and highlight the value of your cybersecurity efforts.

Here, it’s critical to convey actionable information in context. But what does that really mean? Well, it’s all about helping the stakeholder in question understand what role a number plays in the overall risk landscape of your organization.

This context may include any of the following:

  • Past performance: What were these same numbers like last month, or last quarter? Are you improving or getting worse over time? 
  • Risk concentration: How are different business units and subsidiaries across your organization performing?
  • Industry benchmarks: How does your performance compare to your peers and competitors?
  • Financial quantification: What’s at stake financially with your current risk posture
  • Cybersecurity frameworks: How do your findings align to cybersecurity frameworks for your industry — such as the NIST Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Security, CIS Critical Security Controls, ISO 27001, or PCI DSS? 

Maximize your cybersecurity ROI


There’s no question about it: Your organization is being held increasingly accountable for its cybersecurity outcomes. By tracking and improving your security program performance over time, you can quantify the impact and effectiveness of your investments in a language that makes sense to the board and other stakeholders.

Interested in learning more about how to present metrics in context for maximum impact? Check out our ebook, A Practical Guide to Risk-Based Cybersecurity Reporting.

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