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Effective Security Measurement

Putting together a security policy and implementing a program is only half the battle. The way enterprise security goes these days, it’s important to be able to gauge just how effective your security program is.

It comes down to a few simple guidelines for security metrics you can follow to make sure that your company’s investment into security brings good returns:

  • Understanding the target audience: Security analyses produce different types of reports, most of them highly technical in nature. While this is definitely a goldmine of information for administrators, a network manager is not going to find it very useful. So, your security metrics should keep the target audience in mind and present information accordingly.
  • Making it quantifiable: While it’s good to understand the various factors involved in network security, solid returns are obtained only when the metrics are quantifiable. This means that your security program should be able to produce verifiable numbers as to what parameters are being influenced and by how much.
  • Clarity: A good metrics program is able to make things clear to the end-user. Always keep in mind that the end result of any security program is the returns, which is what you will be accountable for.
  • Data availability: The availability of data has a huge impact on metrics. If a metric ends up only projecting the recorded values or making large-scale assumptions, it’s not going to be of much use. Build your security metrics around data is regularly and easily available.

The primary characteristic of a good security program is focus. It needs to define targets very clearly, and also be able to show the impact it generates.