Security Performance Management

The Competitive Advantage of a Strong Security Program

Sibel Bagcilar | September 2, 2020

In today’s competitive marketplace, more and more companies are realizing that maintaining a good security posture is a crucial market differentiator — playing an essential role in their ability  to earn customer trust and protect their brand reputation. In fact, as stated in a recent Forrester study commissioned by BitSight, Better Security and Business Outcomes With Security Performance Management, “companies win and lose business based on both real and perceived security performance challenges — meaning security is now responsible for protecting, enabling, and even creating, revenue growth opportunities.”

As customers want to ensure they’re working with secure businesses, it’s increasingly critical to have a means for measuring and improving your security performance over time. Read on to learn how BitSight Security Ratings empower you to assess your security posture on a daily basis so that you can effectively mitigate risk while generating revenue and growing your customer base.

Understand the effectiveness of your current security program

Traditional cyber assessments only provide a point-in-time snapshot of security performance — making it increasingly difficult for you to perform truly comprehensive, real-time comparative evaluations. In order to maintain the desired security posture in today’s ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape, it’s critical that you continuously monitor your growing attack surface so that you can discover and mitigate vulnerabilities in a faster, more streamlined way. This real-time context is essential to your ability to identify any gaps in your existing cybersecurity controls and determine how to improve your program over time.

Of course, gaining this context — which has become increasingly critical to maintaining your reputation as a secure organization — requires you to have an agreed-upon metric through which to measure your cyber risk and security performance. Having a solid process in place for using this type of assessment KPI throughout your program can have major benefits to your organization overall. In the Forrester study, 82% of respondents reported that improved security performance measurement would improve company business continuity, while 81% claimed that it would improve company reputation — both of which are “direct indicators of the business’s ability to take in and grow revenue.”

That’s where BitSight Security Ratings come in. Based on independent, objective, and comparable data, these ratings empower teams to better understand their organizations’ security postures so they can prioritize resources based on the areas of greatest risk. Through this data, you can continuously monitor your IT infrastructure for vulnerabilities such as unpatched systems, misconfigured software, open access ports, and compromised systems. And as BitSight Security Ratings are updated on a daily basis, you can ensure you always have the latest information at your fingertips to make strategic security performance management decisions.

Prevent a potentially damaging breach

There’s no question about it: The threat landscape is expanding and organizations continue to be a main target for malicious actors. In fact, according to Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report, 72% of data breaches involve large business victims. And experiencing one of these security incidents can have a variety of damaging repercussions. From the financial side of things, the average total cost of a data breach is $3.86 million, according to a recent report by IBM. And, in terms of the potential reputational damage, it’s important to keep in mind that falling victim to a breach could shift customer perception of your organization. As Forrester states, “more than one-third of companies agree that they have lost business due to either a real or perceived lack of security rigor.”

Given this threat climate, organizations around the world face an enormous amount of internal and external pressure to protect their data and prevent themselves from falling victim to a security incident. But in order to make strategic security performance management decisions, they need to have a solid understanding of their risk of a breach — and how to mitigate any issues that could open up their network to malicious actors. 

BitSight is the only Security Rating Service provider with a third-party validated correlation to breach. According to AIR Worldwide, companies with a BitSight Security Rating of 500 or lower are almost five times more likely to have a breach than those with a rating of 700 or more. By understanding your BitSight Security Ratings for specific risk vectors — from software vulnerabilities to open ports — you can determine the likelihood that the vector in question will lead to a breach or other security incident. And armed with these insights, you can focus your remediation resources on the areas with the highest exposure and risk concentration.

Report on performance to retain current customers and win new business

It’s never been more important to be able to report on performance to both internal and external stakeholders — and use this information to make data-driven, outcomes-focused risk management decisions. In fact, according to the Forrester study, “79% of companies agree that customer/partner demands for cybersecurity reporting have intensified in recent years.”

Of course, in order to make security performance understandable and accessible to executives and customers, you need to have a standard set of KPIs through which to monitor and communicate the effectiveness of your program over time. As security ratings are a data-driven, objective, and dynamic measure of security performance, thousands of organizations around the world use this KPI to manage and report on cyber risk where transparency may have historically been lacking. In fact, according to the Forrester study, “43% of companies using cybersecurity ratings also report them out to customers and partners, more so than any other metric.”

With BitSight Security Ratings, it’s easier than ever to have data-driven business conversations about security that facilitate effective communication across the organization. Quickly pull meaningful metrics that are easily understood by key stakeholders to determine if you are meeting security performance standards and where to invest limited resources to achieve the greatest improvement over time.

Now, more than ever, your board, senior leadership team, customers, and prospects want to ensure you have a strong security program in place. Learn more about how BitSight Security Ratings could help you streamline and improve your process for identifying points of exposure, developing remediation plans based on the areas of greatest impact, and reporting clearly to all relevant stakeholders.

Forrester Study - Security Performance Management

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