Metrics for security are in wide use in organizations today, with more than 80 percent of respondents to a new SANS Institute survey claiming some level of maturity on their effective use of security metrics.Yet close to half (47%) feel that a leading impediment for the effective use of security metrics is due to a lack of well-defined requirements for metrics.

"Metrics are – fundamentally – a communications tool, potentially very powerful in evaluating the maturity of an organization's security culture," said Barbara Filkins, survey author and Director of Research, SANS Analyst Program. "Regulatory frameworks are a starting point, but organizations need to look beyond a 'cookie cutter' approach and evaluate what needs to be measured to identify and mitigate business risk. Survey results were refreshing – supporting the need for mirroring organizational uniqueness – while providing actionable insight into how to meet the challenge of developing useful measures."

"One of the top factors common across organizations that avoid major damage from cyberattacks is the use of business-relevant security metrics" said John Pescatore, Director of Emerging Security Trends at SANS and survey advisor. "The survey pointed out that, all too often, the most easily collected security metrics satisfy auditors but have little connection to reducing business risk." 

While the analytics and data science are certainly important to metrics development, the survey concludes that the emphasis is more on educating and training how to implement a metric framework, taking into account how organizations must differ in achieving their goals and objectives for security.