Quantifying and tracking your cybersecurity performance so you can compare your organization to others, also known as benchmarking, is necessary to improving the effectiveness of your security programs.
Unfortunately, benchmarking cybersecurity using point-in-time assessments, subjective judgements, or highly technical KPIs is not very effective. Without clear, easily understood, continuously tracked security metrics, you won’t be able to set actionable goals or measure the impact of your IT security initiatives.
Thankfully, there are security solutions that help organizations with their benchmarking efforts by providing them with these missing metrics. To maximize the effectiveness of your benchmarking, you have to use the best of these solutions. Let’s delve further into some key factors to consider when picking a cybersecurity benchmarking solutions provider.
Experience is vital in the benchmarking process. In order to get the greatest benefit from their benchmarking efforts, leading organizations turn to providers who have long track records. The best providers have a time-tested framework for efficiently diagnosing the strengths and weaknesses of a company’s security posture. That means asking the right questions and having the right data at their disposal.
When a benchmarking solutions provider works with industry leaders, they learn exactly what to look for when assessing a cybersecurity program. In addition, their employees accumulate a wealth of knowledge about what works and what doesn’t. These experienced professionals can help you communicate benchmarking metrics in easily understandable ways and help you use this knowledge to achieve concrete business goals.
A Clearly Defined Methodology is Key
This experience often translates into effective methods of gathering and analyzing information during the benchmarking process. The best providers will clearly outline their methodology and explain why their approach is superior.
The level of detail a benchmarking methodology includes is extremely important. If your organization has concerns about cybersecurity performance in certain areas, then a strategic benchmarking process should carefully address your concerns, while having all the data necessary to effectively compare your performance to peers.
Look for providers who know how to translate peer comparisons into action items for your organization. If the provider is simply going to tell you that 60% of companies in your industry have better file-share protection, this doesn’t give you any guidance moving forward. The provider should also be able to look in detail at the protections you have in place and pinpoint specific areas of weakness. In addition, all benchmarking data should be analyzed holistically to help you determine which remediation steps should be prioritized.
Look for an Outside-In Approach
Comparing cybersecurity performance to peers adds much-needed context to an organization’s security initiatives. However, most organizations aren’t forthcoming with their cybersecurity information. In order to effectively compare your performance to other organizations, you need an outside-in approach to benchmarking.
BitSight’s security ratings take the guesswork out of these comparisons. Each rating is backed by robust data accumulated and analyzed by a proprietary algorithm. This makes it much easier to compare your cyber security benchmarks to those of peers and competitors.
The best security benchmarking solutions also provide details about specific areas within IT security. BitSight provides several additional ratings in the categories of compromised systems and diligence. These include port security, TLS/SSL certificates, malware servers, potentially exploited machines, botnet risk, and many others. These ratings are the best way to determine the areas in which you’re falling short.
Equipped with cybersecurity ratings, you can track cybersecurity over time and set goals for your team. In addition, the clarity and precision of security ratings provides a good way of presenting resource requests to senior leadership. IT leaders can make the business case for cybersecurity by analyzing the gap between perceived performance and true performance, then having data-driven conversations with executives about which added resources could close the gap.
The best providers don’t just hand you a report, they help you understand the context around your benchmarking efforts. In the end, a security benchmarking solution should help you translate these benchmarking insights into clear, actionable steps that help you reach your business goals.
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