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6 Metrics & KPIs for measuring SOC success

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SOC, or a Security Operations Centre, is an external or in-house facility that houses an information security team that monitors and analyses an organisation’s security on an ongoing basis.

However, your SOC success criteria depend wholly on its performance – so how do you measure the efficiency and success of your SOC? This is where metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) come in. 

At DigitalXRAID, our expertise helps your organisation implement strong security measures and create the right set of metrics to meet your unique security needs. 

In this article, we look at the six crucial metrics and SOC KPIs that will help you identify potential security weaknesses and areas of improvement to adjust your cybersecurity strategies accordingly. 

Understanding SOC Metrics and KPIs

SOC KPI and metrics perform different roles:

  • SOC metrics provide quantifiable data that reflect the performance, efficiency, and impact of your cybersecurity efforts. 
  • KPIs are targeted indicators that measure how well your SOC meets predefined objectives.

SOC metrics and KPIs are closely linked to your wider cybersecurity objectives and form important parts of an overall security strategy. 

Carefully aligning SOC metrics with your business’s overarching organisational goals ensures that your security efforts contribute to your company’s ultimate protection.

These metrics are also vital in demonstrating your SOC’s value to stakeholders and leadership – being able to quantify the effectiveness and necessity of your SOC is invaluable. 

This is because they:

  • Provide tangible evidence of the SOC’s contribution to your company’s security posture.
  • Facilitate informed decisions about resource allocation and strategy adjustments. 
  • Actively work towards your business’s cybersecurity planning. 

3 Key SOC Metrics for Performance Evaluation

The following three SOC metrics are intended to evaluate SOC performance; the three after are for strategic evaluation. 

A combination of all six is your best approach for informing data-backed cybersecurity strategies. 

Mean Time to Detect (MTTD)

This metric is a measure of how quickly your SOC can detect threats. 

A lower MTTD indicates that your security team is quick to identify potential security breaches, which is a crucial factor in mitigating the impact of cyberattacks. 

For example, if a financial institution faces a breach, a lower MTTD would mean recognising suspicious activities – such as unauthorised transactions – quickly to limit potential financial losses and data compromise.

Mean Time to Respond (MTTR)

While MTTD focuses on detection, MTTR measures the efficiency and speed of your SOC’s response to incidents. 

This metric is crucial because the faster an incident is responded to, the less damage it can inflict. Say a healthcare provider is dealing with a ransomware attack; a shorter MTTR would mean quicker restoration of critical patient data systems and minimal disruption to patient care.

Incident Closure Rate

This metric measures the percentage of resolved security incidents out of the total reported incidents over a given period. 

A high Incident Closure Rate is indicative of an effective SOC, capable of not only identifying and responding to threats but also resolving them conclusively. 

For instance, a retail company experiencing frequent phishing attacks would benefit from a high Incident Closure Rate, because it reflects the SOC’s capability to effectively neutralise and prevent the recurrence of such threats to safeguard customer data and trust.

3 Essential SOC KPIs for Strategic Evaluation

False Positive Rate

This KPI measures how accurate threat detection systems are in distinguishing between genuine threats and non-threats. 

A low False Positive Rate indicates that your SOC is proficient in identifying true threats, which minimises the time and resources wasted on investigating benign activities. 

For instance, in a banking environment, a low False Positive Rate means that legitimate customer transactions are less likely to be flagged as fraudulent, ensuring smooth operations while maintaining robust security.

Threat Intelligence Integration

Assesses how effectively your SOC incorporates threat intelligence into its operations. 

High Threat Intelligence Integration signifies a proactive approach to cybersecurity because it shows that the SOC uses the latest potential threat information to boost defences. 

In sectors like retail, where customer data is constantly at risk, robust Threat Intelligence Integration could mean the difference between preempting a data breach and reacting to one.

Incident Containment Rate

This KPI measures the SOC’s effectiveness in containing incidents once they have been identified. 

A high Incident Containment Rate is crucial for limiting the scope and impact of cyber threats. 

For example, in healthcare, where patient data and system availability are critical, a high Incident Containment Rate ensures that breaches are quickly isolated, which minimises the risk to patient privacy and care continuity.

Building Customised SOC Metrics and KPIs

To maximise the effectiveness of your SOC, you must tailor SOC KPIs and metrics to fit your organisation’s specific needs.

Take care not just to select the right metrics, but also ensure that your SOC service provider is leveraging advanced technologies like machine learning and AI for enhanced threat prediction and prevention. 

The following is how DigitalXRAID’s expertise can help you navigate this process:

  • Understand your threat landscape: Conduct a thorough assessment of your digital environment and key assets to identify specific vulnerabilities and prioritise protection.
  • Explore machine learning and AI: Predictive analytics and AI can automate threat detection to enhance SOC efficiency.
  • Define custom metrics and KPIs: Choose metrics based on your threat landscape, like Incident Closure Rate or MTTD, and set realistic targets aligned with industry standards.
  • Implement and monitor metrics: Integrate these metrics into daily SOC operations and regularly review their performance for necessary adjustments.
  • Continuously assess and adapt: Keep your metrics flexible to adapt to evolving cyber threats and create feedback mechanisms for continuous improvement.

DigitalXRAID, a managed service provider, can help you choose and implement the most effective metrics, offer customised solutions and deliver ongoing support.

The Role of SOC Metrics in Compliance and Reporting

SOC KPIs and metrics like Incident Response Times, Detection Accuracy, and Data Breach Impact are essential for your company to meet regulatory compliance standards. 

It’s common to struggle with ensuring that data is accurate and relevant in SOC metric reporting. DigitalXRAID’s security analysts simplify compliance reporting,  using automated tools and integrated reporting. Precise and thorough reporting is crucial for maintaining regulatory adherence and public trust.

Conclusion: Ensuring SOC Effectiveness

The effectiveness of your cybersecurity activities hinges on both selecting the most relevant SOC KPIs and metrics and accurately measuring them. 

These metrics offer crucial insights into your SOC service’s performance and highlight areas your business needs to improve. Without this data, it’s impossible to predict the efficacy of threat detection – making responses a huge challenge. 

By measuring and obtaining the best metrics for your business, you can ensure that your SOC service is providing the best possible defence against cyber threats.

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