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SANS Institute Outlines Path to Effective Security Metrics Use

While use is maturing, this year's SANS Security Metrics Survey reveals that much still needs to be done to fully realize the potential power that metrics bring to organizations' security postures

  • Bethesda, MD
  • August 4, 2020

Metrics for security are in wide use in organizations today, with over 80% 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. Results and analysis of the survey, “Improving the Bottom Line with Effective Security Metrics,” will be shared along with actionable advice in a two-part webcast on August 12 and August 19.

“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.

Webcast Details

Full results of the survey and advice to help you and your organization on the quest for better metrics will be shared during a webcast on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. EDT (17:00 UTC), sponsored by Cisco, Code42, and ThreatConnect, and hosted by SANS Institute. Register to attend this webcast at

Get additional perspective in a second webcast on Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. EDT (17:00 UTC), in which representatives from Code42 and ThreatConnect will join Barbara Filkins and John Pescatore to explore real-world use cases of businesses effectively selecting and using security metrics. Register to attend this webcast at

Register for either webcast to be among the first to receive the associated paper, written by SANS Analyst Program Research Director Barbara Filkins, with advice from SANS Director of Emerging Trends John Pescatore.

About SANS Institute

The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. Today, SANS is the most trusted and, by far, the largest provider of cyber security training and certification to professionals in government and commercial institutions worldwide. Renowned SANS instructors teach more than 60 courses at In-Person and Live Online cyber security training events, and more than 50 courses are available anytime, anywhere with our OnDemand platform. GIAC, an affiliate of the SANS Institute, validates practitioner skills through more than 35 hands-on, technical certifications in cyber security. The SANS Technology Institute, a regionally accredited independent subsidiary, offers a master’s degree, graduate certificates, and an undergraduate certificate in cyber security. SANS Security Awareness, a division of SANS, provides organizations with a complete and comprehensive security awareness solution, enabling them to easily and effectively manage their ‘human’ cybersecurity risk. SANS also delivers a wide variety of free resources to the InfoSec community including consensus projects, research reports, webcasts, podcasts, and newsletters; it also operates the Internet's early warning system – the Internet Storm Center. At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners, representing varied global organizations from corporations to universities, working together to support and educate the global information security community. (