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Edge Ask The Experts

8/22/2019
07:45 AM
Stacey Halota
Stacey Halota
Edge Ask The Experts
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Which Security Metrics Should I Use?

Figuring that out actually begins with a broader question.

Question: I'm updating my security metrics program. Are there any old security metrics that I should definitely leave behind?

Stacey Halota, vice president, information security and privacy, at Graham Holdings: That depends. The best question to ask yourself as you update (or create) a metrics program is, "Why am I measuring this?" When you examine your metrics, are they driving desired change in your organization or helping maintain a desired control envionment? Do you have too many detailed metrics so that the message gets lost when reporting?  If the answer to the first question is no and the second is yes, those metrics should be re-evaluated. 

I have found that a few selected metrics that drive change are the most effective. For example, a metric that reports if Web application vulnerabilities are not fixed in the time frame mandated by our policy is helpful in keeping our websites secure. Metrics that mandate that a sensitive data inventory is performed each year help us to secure the data and comply with laws like GDPR. It is also useful to report metrics to senior management for accountability.   

What do you advise? Let us know in the Comments section, below.

Do you have questions you'd like answered? Send them to [email protected].

Stacey Halota joined Graham Holdings Company (then The Washington Post Company) in 2003. She leads the development and implementation of information security and privacy programs, including Sarbanes Oxley, privacy law, Payment Card Industry compliance, and other data ... View Full Bio

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tdsan
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tdsan,
User Rank: Ninja
8/25/2019 | 8:53:38 AM
Go beyond the surface
Where I do agree that the organization should perform an inventory of their assets, this doesn't take into consideration that the hacker can look beyond the surface, for example in California a US naval Base found a device that was connected to their production Network but it took 4 months in order to identify that device. If we used the process that you were referring to it would be a year until we found that device. I do believe that we need a better system for identifying nefarious applications and devices that are running on the network (perform baseline analysis where approved assets are only allowed to run where traffic patterns are matched against that asset) we need to have built-in intelligence in the applications which are often being overlooked, having a system in place that does patching analysis is good but patching only goes to a certain level. We need to be able to identify the vulnerabilities and perform data analytics that correlates with one another that go all the way up the stack.

In addition, there needs to be a sentinel in place that is constantly monitoring every aspect of the network, certain aspects of machine learning like Bluvector/carbon black or Sophos should be employed in all aspects of the environment to help identify anomalies (train the system to look for cross-talking or horizontal applications that don't have any reason to talk with one another). T
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