Today's organizations often lack the time and/or skillsets to build robust cybersecurity reports that drive visibility across their organization. And that’s a problem, since most organizations are short on both security and staff. But despite those missing pieces, reporting is essential for executive leadership to understand the importance of cybersecurity funding, make informed decisions, and ultimately reduce risk. So, how do companies know the quickest and best way to provide quality cybersecurity reporting?
As the cyber attack surface grows, organizations face more pressure to protect critical business assets. Boards of directors and executive leaders want to know how well their organizations are managing cyber risk. From loss of revenue to legal liability and reputational damage, plus the cost to recover, executive leaders bear the responsibility of understanding and managing risks associated with a breach. According to Gartner, 88% of corporate boards regard cybersecurity as a business risk.1 However, only 9% of boards are extremely confident in their organizations’ cybersecurity risk and mitigation measures, down from 20% in 2020.2 To improve cyber resilience and justify spending on security projects, security leaders need to advocate for investment in strong cybersecurity solutions using hard metrics and easy-to-understand reports. But what does good reporting look like?
It's not just about gathering the data. It’s about making sense of it and using the results to illustrate the effectiveness of your cybersecurity solutions. The goal is to achieve tailored reporting that clearly demonstrates how you are reducing risk. Organizations should look for the following five attributes of robust cybersecurity reports to meet this goal:
#1: Clearly identifies the key areas of your business that are at risk of a cyberattack or data breach
Good reporting takes raw data and puts it into a consumable story. This will help you determine where the greatest risk lies in your environment and, most importantly, where to prioritize your efforts. A robust report should identify the most important and relevant information about the business and security risks and summarize the metrics and trends in a concise dashboard. A good security solution will address common reporting needs right out of the box, including summarizing investigations, alert and event trends. Understanding the impact and business value of your security program is critical for gaining better visibility and security posture.
#2: Enables you to set internal benchmarks describing what is working and areas that need improvement
Reports should enable you to conduct analysis to understand threat risk, potential business impacts, what is working well, and areas to improve. Good reporting helps you communicate the correct level of information to the right people. Over time, reports should show the progression of your security program, illustrating the long-term value of your cybersecurity solutions — and answering questions from leadership. Organizations should monitor trends in cybersecurity risk relative to their security investments. Reports should include adequate evidence to give the board confidence that you know the current level of risk, which issues are a priority, and what progress is being made to address those issues.
#3: Offers timesaving out-of-the-box reports, as well as more flexible customized reporting capabilities
To mature a cybersecurity program and reduce risk, organizations need to invest in a security platform that offers time saving and robust reporting capabilities. Pre-built reports maximize effectiveness of your security staff and save valuable time. A good security solution should be able to run pre-built reports on demand or on a schedule, making it simple to share reports with others. Built-in templates are especially convenient for creating reports, but as you become more experienced and want to tailor reports to your unique informational needs, you’ll find it useful to customize reports. Although out-of-the-box reports save time, detailed and customizable reporting capabilities are also important to enhance the power of your solution. Creating custom reports enables you to include as much, or as little, detail as you need.
#4: Enables you to share relevant information easily and consistently with executive staff
Robust reporting capabilities should make it simple to share meaningful security information quickly and consistently with leadership. Sharing this information raises leadership confidence in cybersecurity risk and mitigation measures or justifies the need for additional security spending. This will help develop a common understanding of the key security metrics and insights across teams and leadership. Reports should provide a narrative about progress against desired outcomes and add context so leadership and the board can fully understand the risk. The key is to ensure problems and solutions related to business execution, security controls, and risk position are clearly and concisely articulated in business language.
#5: Helps a wide audience visualize and comprehend security and threat data
One of the most important parts of an effective security program is showing results in a way that a wide set of audiences with varying levels of technical expertise can easily understand. Sometimes less is more. The business relevance and quality of your metrics are more important than volume. Good reporting should clearly illustrate how improved security has reduced business risks or helped achieve goals. Visual reporting helps everyone understand patterns, trends, and anomalies and easily communicates why specific projects or areas should be a priority.
Secureworks® Taegis™ XDR combines security analytics and deep human intelligence to offer robust reporting capabilities backed by extensive security operations expertise. Taegis XDR provides pre-built reports as well as comprehensive capabilities to run advanced search queries to generate customized reports. Taegis helps organizations mature their cybersecurity program and monitor trends in cybersecurity risk relative to their investments. Request a demo of Taegis XDR to see our comprehensive reporting capabilities in action.1. The 2021 Gartner Global Security and Risk Management Governance Survey
2. EY Global Information Security Survey 2021