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What KPIs Should be Tracked for Security Penetration Testing?

security testing kpis

Cyber security is a journey and not just a destination. In the ever-changing security landscape, regular testing and mitigation are required. To prevent testing efforts from feeling like a sinkhole in time and funding, KPIs can be used to track the output of testing to show progress and motivate internal teams to improve their practices.

What KPIs Should You Measure for Penetration Testing? To ensure continuous improvement of your organisation’s security posture, you should keep track of these key performance indicators; the number of vulnerabilities at all risk levels, regulatory compliances, remediation time for fixing issues, and the impact on end users over time. 

Read on to find out more about what KPIs are in security terms, and which ones you should be measuring during penetration testing to ensure a good security posture for your organisation. 

Which Information Security KPIs Should You Track When Penetration Testing?

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) should be utilised in conjunction with penetration testing and vulnerability scanning to track improvement and motivate the development (or infrastructure) team to improve their work to make the environment as secure as possible. 

When you are conducting security penetration testing within your organisation, be sure to track these four key KPIs:

Regulatory Compliance

Whether this is PCI compliance, Cyber Essentials, or an unofficial client requirement, getting to a “Pass” in any of these areas is not an easy task. Although, working with an experienced penetration tester can help you reach this landmark and get one step closer to compliance. If this KPI has been met it should not be put to one side and forgotten about, these standards can change with time and KPIs should be put in place to keep this up to date.

Number & Severity of Vulnerabilities

This may seem like an obvious point but ideally, both vulnerability metrics will have a steep downwards trajectory. However, there may be a tradeoff to be made between the number and severity. For example, you may have one or two vulnerabilities that could be a huge risk for your business, but ten or more vulnerabilities that don’t pose a huge threat. Ideally, you should fix the two large risks before trying to tackle the others. The output of this payoff is down to the risk appetite of the Information security managers of the organisation in question. 

Remediation Time

A good metric to track could be the amount of time to fix the issues found during a test. From our experience, this can be flexible depending on the severity and complexity of the issue identified. As this is not going to be a standard timeframe for all issues, this can be used to track issues and update all parties if there are unexpected problems when attempting to fix the vulnerabilities.

Impact on Customers/End Users

The end goal of all security teams should be to ensure that the customers or end-users should be affected as little as possible. There are multiple ways that users can be affected. From affecting their confidence by hearing in the news about a breach or not being able to access vital services when security updates are being rolled out.

What Other Information Security Steps Should You Take?

Report delivery is not the end of a penetration test engagement. Tracking, updating, and remediation are also steps for the security team to take to ensure all vulnerabilities are fixed. By tracking key KPIs, you will ensure the most value for money from the penetration test as well as improve the security of your organisation. 

Penetration Testing & Information Security From The Risk Crew

We believe if you can’t measure the results, you haven’t changed anything. When you engage the Risk Crew Security Team for your penetration testing needs, we advise on how to track specific KPIs tailored to your requirements and security goals. 

Our penetration testing services highlight potential security vulnerabilities in your systems, ensuring you stay ahead of security threats and protect your information. The Risk Crew team is comprised of expert security engineers who use best-practice security assessment methodologies and unmatched analysis capabilities to help you understand the effectiveness of your organisation’s security operation. Get in touch with our team to find out how we can help you. 

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