Information Security Metrics for Executives and Board Members

By Phoebe Fasulo

Posted on Oct 14, 2019

Metrics are important, no matter how far up the corporate ladder you are. Information security metrics are arguably one of the most critical aspects for your company. Keeping your company secure and free from cyberattacks is of utmost importance—to you, to your clients, and to the well-being of your company. If you are a board member or executive who is used to many of the smaller technicalities being omitted in favor of a focus on the bigger end goals, maybe you are not receiving the full report of all the metrics. But here are a few things you need to know.

The details are important

When you have so many responsibilities and different events occurring all at once, it can difficult to keep up with the seemingly insignificant goings-on within your company. You may even be tempted to overlook the seemingly small details in favor of the bigger picture, and while that is understandable, it is not ideal.

One thing often overlooked is the company’s cybersecurity. Indeed, only about 36% of organizations have board members who are involved in tackling cybersecurity risks. But as people who make most of the decisions for the well-being of the company, it makes sense for them to be knowledgeable on all aspects of the company, including its cyber defense.

There are a host of cybersecurity metrics you can brush up on, such as:

  • Malware defense
  • Password strength
  • Return on security investment
  • Number of assets under security management
  • Patch latency, etc. 

Familiarizing yourself with basic information security metrics, if you did not know them before, is a great place to start getting more involved with your company as an executive or board member.

Small details are crucial to the well-being of your company. Asking questions and learning about all the behind-the-scenes information as a board member affirms that security is a priority and should be taken seriously and watched by executives. Try to stay informed about everything that you can, no matter how minor the fact may seem. Keep track of how often viruses and spam are blocked. Learn about your detection and response time—that is, the time it takes for your company to detect a problem and how long it takes for that problem to be fixed or dealt with. Prove that you want to be just as involved as any other employee. Your interest might just manifest a renewed spirit of work in your employees.

Open yourself up to communication

In a fast-paced work environment, email might well be your go-to form of communication. While you should pay attention to the emails that flood into your inbox on a daily basis, you should also send out some inquisitive emails when you have time. At the same time, around 26% of workers consider email a “productivity killer,” so encourage face-to-face communication too whenever applicable, as it has been known to increase productivity and creativity in workers.

You already know that more goals are accomplished when board members and executives get involved with information security metrics. Showing your interest and opening yourself up to employees of all levels will make you appear more open—and, therefore, more approachable. 

Board members’ and executives’ involvement in cybersecurity goals is crucial as security affects all aspects of the company and should therefore also involve the higher-ups to ensure they make the right decisions that will benefit the whole organization. In short, you will be able to make the right security decisions that better reflect your company’s best interests.

You are one of the leaders of your company. Most employees will look to you for guidance, and you should be open to learning new things to ensure you do not let them down. In fact, around 46% of employees report being unsure of what to do following a meeting—let your company rise above that by putting forth a concerted effort. Getting involved and learning new things about your cybersecurity could only benefit your company.

Know your vulnerabilities

Another way to be involved with security metrics as a board member or executive is to understand your company’s strengths and weaknesses. Knowing exactly where your company can bolster its forces when it comes to cybersecurity can help your company make strides forward to improve its security and thus its trustability. 

Learn what information can be compromised, and learn how to tie up any loose ends to prevent that from happening should a cyberattack target your company. Know the budget and any excessive spending your company has done in the past—understanding where your budget may have failed is key to creating a tighter, more functional budget. Likewise, you could take a glance at your successes in relation to your competition’s successes. Studying those companies in the same market as you could illuminate what you are doing wrong or something you are doing right.

If you can learn all your vulnerabilities and craft a realistic plan to improve them, your company will improve drastically—with your guidance, too, of course.

Think about the future

Your participation is key in your company’s cybersecurity efforts. Even if you do not play a major role in tackling incidents and breaches or in dealing with sensitive information, your presence indicates your interest in the company you are a part of. Keep an open mind and look toward the future—specifically, what you and others can do to improve the company and your security as a whole.


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