February 6, 2024
Rome wasn't built in a day. It took architects, city planners, and laborers many years to construct it, making small developments every day. Just as with Rome, cybersecurity programs, too, require significant time and investment to come to fruition.
However, without knowing their initial cyber risk exposure, it can be challenging for stakeholders to comprehend the full value that cybersecurity initiatives have already delivered to the organization. While a real-time view of the cyber risks the business currently faces is key for strategic planning, its evaluation in isolation ignores the full picture and minimizes the small yet necessary strides.
This limitation is precisely the reason why it's critical for chief information security officers (CISOs) to have access to how their organization's cyber risk landscape has evolved. Not only does this contextualization allow colleagues to see how much of a difference their various investments have made over the years, but it also arms CISOs with valuable KPIs that can be used to demonstrate their overarching contribution to the company.
By continuously conducting cyber risk quantification (CRQ) assessments and comparing the results over time, organizations can directly measure the success of their cybersecurity programs. CISOs can determine if they're meeting targets in a timely manner and, if not, adopt new and more efficient approaches. Indeed, continuous progression tracking illuminates unique insights that can be leveraged to hone cybersecurity strategies and boost resilience.
When key stakeholders, including cybersecurity leaders and other C-suite members, can directly visualize how the organization's susceptibility to cyber risks has decreased with time and how this reduction translates into financial savings, they gain a tangible understanding of the value that cybersecurity programs generate. From that point on, there's a slew of other benefits that can arise.
Monitoring the quantified progression of cybersecurity risks can lay the foundation for increased support from budget-makers. When executives witness that their investments are driving an overall reduction in the annual events likelihood (the likelihood of an organization experiencing a cyber event in the upcoming year) or the average annual loss (AAL) in financial terms, they are more likely to allocate additional resources to strengthen cybersecurity programs further.
By monitoring risk progress, board members can make more informed, data-driven decisions about the overall cybersecurity budget. For instance, CISOs can assess historical budget sizes compared to AAL trends and then determine the rate at which the former influences the ladder (i.e., a 10% budget increase results in a 17% decrease in AAL). Therefore, if the board's goal is to decrease the AAL at a faster rate, the data demonstrates they should invest more.
In addition to revealing cybersecurity improvements, viewing cyber risk progression across the years illuminates the specific risk trends an organization faces, allowing CISOs to anticipate potential vulnerabilities and attack vectors.
Moreover, cyber risk progression tools equip the CISO to demonstrate these patterns to the board and subsequently implement targeted countermeasures, enhancing cyber resiliency. By transitioning to a more proactive approach, organizations can much more easily stay ahead of malicious actors.
Utilizing a platform that showcases improvement over time, CISOs can also contribute directly to customer satisfaction, brand reputation, and, thus, profit. Many organizations like to boast of their commitment to cybersecurity, but few can provide evidence. Risk progress monitoring solves this issue, consequently instilling a sense of trust clients are increasingly seeking nowadays as they weigh their options between online service providers.
While continuous monitoring of quantified cyber risk progression primarily results in benefits for the organization, it is also a great metric for CISOs to highlight their professional achievements. Success in reducing cyber risks and the relative financial impacts reflects the proficiency of cybersecurity teams and their ability to execute targeted strategies. These insights may similarly lead to career advancement, increased responsibilities and privileges, and professional growth.
Cybersecurity performance management is a framework used by organizations to plan, monitor, and optimize cyber programs systematically, positioning cybersecurity as an ongoing process that can always be improved upon. However, because of this never-ending nature, adopting a cybersecurity performance management framework must also involve measuring and tracking past successes to demonstrate progress.
To do so, CISOs should choose the most relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) and monitor how they have improved over time. As such, it's essential for teams to leverage objectively-based cyber risk assessments that are defensible, communicable, and can easily be replicated.
On-demand financial cyber risk quantification solutions offer CISOs this option, leveraging real-world external intelligence and internal integrations to produce reliable results that demonstrate how an organization’s cyber risk posture has evolved over time and the factors that went into these changes.
While a cybersecurity performance framework can theoretically track a wide array of KPIs, it's important to keep in mind that this framework is geared towards higher organizational levels. The framework is meant to guide strategic decision-making and ensure that cybersecurity programs are aligning with business goals and driving the mission forward. Therefore, the metrics CISOs choose should be tailored toward board members and other C-suite colleagues.
These executives' stakeholders are typically not versed in cybersecurity terminology. Telling them that the average scores of cyber awareness tests have increased sounds impressive, but it doesn't communicate how those improved metrics directly relate to business success. Instead, KPIs such as the likelihood of experiencing various cyber events or certain attack vectors being exploited or the average financial losses the organization faces due to cyber activities resonate much more clearly.
When implementing a cybersecurity performance management framework, CRQ stands out as an exceptional tool for illuminating how an organization has improved its security posture within its unique cyber risk landscape over time.
Beyond objectively measuring risk reduction, CRQ also gives CISOs the ability to quantify the impact of their investments, demonstrate positive ROI, and consequentially transform cybersecurity into an essential business function recognized by key stakeholders.
Moreover, by translating cybersecurity achievements into broader business terms, CRQ facilitates greater collaboration with otherwise non-technically inclined executives. This teamwork is inherently necessary for building high-level resilience in the face of an increasingly risk cyber threat landscape. Being able to communicate improvement over time helps to build these relationships and ensures organizations can proactively plan for the future.
In addition to providing CISOs quantified insights regarding their organization's unique cyber posture, Kovrr's platform also comes equipped with a Risk Progression feature. This novel capability makes it easy for cybersecurity professionals to inspect the changes in their cyber risk over time and demonstrate improvements to key executives.
To get access to this feature and start understanding how your cyber program has progressed over time, contact our risk experts today or schedule a free demo.
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Combining traditional cyber risk methods with CRQ turns ambiguity into actionable data for CISOs, driving informed decision-making.
February 12, 2024
Risk Progression feature empowers CISOs and CRQ users to inspect and understand the changes in their cyber risk over time.