Harnessing the Power of Data and Metrics for Effective Security Strategies

Discover how centralized security data can drive value, enhance decision-making, and expand visibility across your organization.

April 5, 2024 · READ

It’s no secret that data has become the foundation for driving strategy and making informed decisions in business. Sales, marketing, finance, and customer support teams all depend on data to monitor their progress, identify trends, and prove their impact through effective reporting. Corporate security teams should be no exception, yet often lag behind other business functions in data collection and usage, not to mention impactful security reports. Let’s change that!

In this article, we’ll delve into the importance of effective security data metrics collection and visualization and the power of security reports in improving your team’s value and future funding. Drawing inspiration from our webinar, “Measure What Matters: The Top 10 Reports Every Security Leader Should Have,” we’ll explore how security teams can leverage security data for better decision-making. Build your security maturity through practical solutions and insights, plus a quick glance at our must-have reports, to help optimize your corporate security strategies.

The power of security data in making risk-informed decisions

“If you do not have reliable data or are missing key information, you’re making decisions based on a gut feeling and using your professional opinion as best as possible. But ultimately, this is a gamble,” says Resolver’s LeeAnn Kincal.

To eliminate guesswork, security leaders need access to accurate and comprehensive data. Security teams can drive value across the organization by harnessing the four key benefits of data capture: increased visibility, clearer insights, identifying trends, and influencing stakeholders to see security as a vital tool in achieving corporate objectives.

Increased visibility: Comprehensive data insights enable security teams to gain a better view of their organization’s security landscape, revealing potential vulnerabilities and emerging threats, and trends that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Clearer insights: Reliable data translates to sharper insights. With accurate information, security leaders can assess incidents and breaches more effectively, leading to better decision-making.

Identifying trends: Data capture facilitates the identification of patterns and trends in security incidents, allowing proactive measures to mitigate risks before they escalate. By analyzing historical data and patterns, security teams can recognize recurring issues, attack vectors, or vulnerabilities.

Influencing stakeholders: Data-driven insights are a powerful tool for engaging stakeholders across the organization. By showcasing security’s value through tangible metrics, security teams can garner support and funding for their strategies.

Incidents by type & severity dashboard

4 critical reasons security data metrics improve outcomes

Metrics: The cornerstone of a holistic security strategy

Metrics can help provide actionable intelligence to security teams, allowing them to reduce risk and improve their overall posture. But first, teams need to know what to measure and report on. “There are many aspects of security that can be measured,” says Kincal. Teams should first align on what matters to their organization’s objectives (safety, reputation, theft prevention, financial targets), then decide what metrics to capture to help inform reporting to stakeholders.

Visualization and reporting capabilities built into your chosen security risk management tools can help simplify the process. “Whether there is a specific focus that you’re monitoring — like an incident type or severity — or whether you’re looking for a holistic overview of your security landscape and being able to compile down into one dashboard and report displaying that,” Kincal continues, “The approach with visualization tools simplifies this process to help you analyze all of your data regardless of your focus.”

Program overview dashboard

Organizations can get a comprehensive view of their security landscape by collecting, analyzing, and visualizing data from multiple sources. Over time, this leads to more proactivity in identifying risks or potential vulnerabilities that have historically been overlooked or ignored. See below for examples of metrics dashboards that can help drive better security outcomes.

Driving proactive security risk management with actionable data

Actionable data means teams have collected an amount of information consistently, providing enough volume to begin to analyze the metrics to reveal trends or patterns and create data-informed action plans with the results. Organizations can proactively monitor emerging risks and threats and track progress in mitigating existing risks, measuring the effectiveness of security programs, and getting ahead of incidents over time.

Centralized, accessible security data metrics can allow a better understanding of how different components within an organization are connected so that security teams can implement more effective countermeasures.

Issues by location dashboard

Security leaders need reliable data to accurately assess the potential or actualized impact of any incident or breach on the people, places, and assets in their responsibility. “The more data you have, the more reports you receive from your staff, and the more you’re aware of what is happening across your security landscape,” explains Kincal. This awareness helps security teams prepare for what might be coming with more efficiency and accuracy before possibilities turn into costly incidents.

The role of security data metrics in developing effective policies

Metrics also play an essential role in developing effective policies and procedures for responding to incidents. Knowing which security data metrics are most relevant for measuring organizational resilience can help organizations develop more comprehensive strategies that consider both current and future risks. Security teams should strive to understand which metrics best reflect their organization’s performance so they can make data-informed decisions. (Read our guide to determining what security metrics help drive value.)

Reporting sources dashboard

Trust and risk-informed security decision-making

Overall, having access to meaningful data is essential for any successful security strategy as it allows organizations to better monitor emerging threats and track their progress towards mitigating existing risks. Having reliable security data metrics helps build trust between stakeholders by assuring that appropriate actions are taken when responding to incidents or breaches.

In addition, metrics empower security leaders with the information needed to make quick yet informed decisions while reducing the risk of making decisions based on guesswork or intuition alone. Being able to speak to metrics also helps security leaders build a security culture in their organizations, providing context for policies to aid in security protocol compliance.

Incident by loss frequency dashboard

By understanding security data metrics, organizations can elevate their security strategies, enhance risk management, and ensure a proactive approach to protecting their people, assets, and reputation. Resolver’s thought leadership provides valuable insights and best practices, empowering security teams to drive value and make informed decisions in an ever-evolving threat landscape.

The top 10 security reports every security leader should have

To enhance security data metrics and strategies, security leaders must have access to key reports that provide valuable insights. These reports help identify risks, measure performance, and drive informed decision-making. Here are examples of the top 10 security reports every security leader should have:

Incident Trend Analysis: Identifies patterns and trends in security incidents to proactively address vulnerabilities and prevent future incidents.

Threat Intelligence Report: Provides up-to-date information on emerging threats, allowing security teams to stay ahead and implement necessary measures.

Risk Assessment Summary: Assesses the organization’s risk landscape, highlighting potential vulnerabilities and guiding risk mitigation strategies.

Security Incident Response Summary: Summarizes the organization’s incident response activities, including response time, resolution rates, and lessons learned.

Compliance Status Report: Tracks compliance with relevant regulations and standards, ensuring adherence and mitigating compliance-related risks.

Security Awareness Training Metrics: Measures the effectiveness of security awareness training programs, identifying areas for improvement and reinforcing security best practices.

Access Control Audit Report: Reviews user access privileges and identifies potential access control issues or unauthorized access attempts.

Security Operations Center (SOC) Performance Report: Evaluates the SOC’s effectiveness in monitoring, detecting, and responding to security incidents.

Key Risk Indicators (KRIs) Dashboard: Provides a snapshot of critical risk indicators, enabling security leaders to promptly identify and address high-risk areas.

Executive Security Summary: Offers a high-level overview of the organization’s security posture, emphasizing key security metrics and providing insights for executive decision-making.

By leveraging these top 10 security reports, teams gain a holistic view of their organization’s security landscape, enabling them to proactively address vulnerabilities, enhance incident response, and mitigate risks.

Want to see security dashboards in action? Check out our webinar video replay of “Measure What Matters: The Top 10 Reports Every Security Leader Should Have,” where we cover common barriers to gathering accurate and actionable security data and how to overcome them. Transform your security data strategy and improve your security reports by watching now!

This content was originally written on July 20, 2023, and updated for data and content relevancy.

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