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Secure Data Protection

How to Measure Cybersecurity Risk in a Business

February 14, 2022

6 minutes

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In modern business, it’s vitally important to be able to measure cybersecurity risk, understand how it affects the overall security of your business, and know how you can mitigate those risks.

Read on to learn more about the steps you can take to get a better idea of your risks and vulnerabilities and see what you can do to secure them with a holistic cybersecurity strategy.

What is Cybersecurity Risk?

Cybersecurity risk acts as a predictive measurement of how vulnerable a business is to cyberthreats. Though it’s not a concrete number or rating, businesses can gather enough information to decide how high or low their risk of attack is based on different factors like sensitivity of handled information, what industry they do business in, and how many potential vulnerabilities lie in their network.

Related: 8 Top Cybersecurity Threats to Your Business

Ways to Measure a Business’ Cybersecurity Risk

Though it’s not an exact science, there are a few ways to measure and understand a business’ cybersecurity risk.

Here are a few ways that, if measured and understood, can help you know where your liabilities are and how susceptible you may be to an attack.

1. Benchmark Programs Against Competitors

One of the most effective ways to measure your cybersecurity stature is to compare your system to those of your competitors and peers within your industry.

Seeing and comparing cybersecurity performance with your competitors can help you make a more informed decision on where your biggest weaknesses are and what you need to do to fix them.

2. Assess Third-Party Cybersecurity Risks

Sometimes the biggest risk to a company’s network is its third-party vendors or software that they use or work with every day.

59% of businesses have experienced a data breach because of a third party so it’s worth exploring and understanding a third party’s cybersecurity standing before using their tools or doing business with them.

To do this, you can send third-party questionnaires on cybersecurity, determine a set of compliance requirements for your business that third parties must adhere to, and have a general understanding of the risks that come from working with third parties.

3. Monitor Cybersecurity Analytics

Sometimes the numbers will help you tell the story of your cybersecurity risks. Monitoring the right metrics can clearly show you where you are most vulnerable. Here are a few of the key cybersecurity metrics to track:

  • Mean Time to Identify (MTTI) and Mean Time to Respond (MTTR): These two statistics identify how long it takes your current cybersecurity system to detect and respond to threats that enter your network. A long MTTI or MTTR can be big contributors to higher data breach costs. The MTTR is a direct measurement of how long some business-critical systems remain offline due to an attack. There are additional statistics set inside the breach response timeline such as mean time to repair (MTTR), mean time between failures (MTBF), mean time to failure (MTTF), mean time to restoration (MTRS), and mean time between system incidents (MTBSI).


  • **Data Transfer Volume: **This metric gives businesses an idea of the amount of data being downloaded or uploading files. Misuse of company resources by downloading potentially dangerous files online can leave the door open for hackers and tracking data volumes can help you identify if this is happening.

  • **User Access Statistics: **There are a few metrics to track within user access, including how many users have certain access levels and how long it takes to deactivate accounts, for example.

  • Device Numbers: Every device on a network is a potential vulnerability if not protected. To make sure a business’ endpoints are secured, you need to know how many are in use, where they are used, the data they’re accessing, and more.

4. Identify Vulnerabilities

Identifying vulnerabilities comes from a lot of internal monitoring and awareness. Examine your processes for updating software, changing passwords, managing access, and other cybersecurity best practices to get a better idea of where your weaknesses are.

Do you have unprotected devices or are a huge number of remote employees connecting to a business network via an unsecured Wi-Fi network? Are you doing the most that you can to protect them and the business?

5. Perform a Cybersecurity Risk Audit

Part of identifying vulnerabilities can be performing a cybersecurity risk audit which dives deeper into every nook and cranny of a business’ digital environment.

There’s no better way to get a thorough understanding of where you are most vulnerable to attack.

The biggest hurdle for most companies is not knowing where to start or how to do an audit that reaches every part of the business.

Sometimes the best option is to get the help of a full-fledged team of cybersecurity experts to do it for you and report back with their findings and their solutions.

In Conclusion

Knowing your cybersecurity risk is the first step toward upgrading your overall cybersecurity stature because once you know where you’re vulnerable, you know what to address and how to address it.

But, it’s not something every business should go at alone. Partnering with a managed security service provider (MSSP) like DOT Security and getting the help of an entire team of cybersecurity experts is crucial in order to get a holistic view of your cybersecurity systems.

Learn more about DOT Security’s risk audit process and how we help businesses find and fix their security weaknesses.