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Your company is at risk.

But you’re not the only one.

Today, every organization on the planet is in danger of becoming a hacker’s next victim. No matter what you do, where you’re located, or how many people you employ, there’s a chance your precious data assets could be stolen and sold or exchanged by cybercriminals in the dark web. And this kind of data breach could potentially cost you millions of dollars — not to mention immeasurable reputational damage.

But while every organization carries a risk, not every company’s chances are equal. The likelihood of whether you’ll be hacked all depends on your company’s security performance management.

Today, we’re delving into what security performance management means and why it’s such a big deal:

What is Security Performance Management?

Security performance management (SPM) is a framework for assessing and managing your cybersecurity program — including whether your employees use existing security tools and processes as they should. It can also help you identify how much of your resources (including team hours and budget) you’ll need to effectively and efficiently meet your goals.

SPM is composed of two factors:

  • Cybersecurity infrastructure
    All the technology and tools you’ve invested in to help reduce your risk and protect valuable data. Infrastructure can include firewalls, antivirus software, endpoint protection, VPNs, and more.
  • The people using the cybersecurity infrastructure
    This includes your entire workforce — all the employees, contractors, freelancers, and others who have access to your network and data and are expected to use the aforementioned tools and technology.

Your organization’s security depends on both factors equally. If you haven’t invested in the right infrastructure or adequate training for your workforce, you’re likely carrying a pretty significant risk.

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Why is SPM So Important?

Firstly, security is a consideration for every buyer, and showing potential customers that you have high security performance (and thus take security seriously) can drive more sales and increase revenue.

Secondly, companies spend a lot of money on software and hardware designed to protect against cybercriminals. And, if you’re like most organizations, your cybersecurity budget is projected to grow. After all, fighting off hackers is critical to your organization’s future — and investing in new and better protection methods is a no-brainer, right?

But here’s the problem: You can buy all the best cybersecurity products on the market, but, unless your employees are using those tools correctly and following protocol, it won’t do you much good. Like most technology, antivirus and other protections are only as powerful as the people using them.

That’s why it’s absolutely crucial to evaluate your security performance management to make sure you’re not only investing in the right products but also empowering your employees to act as guardians against cybercriminals.

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How to Assess and Track Your Security Performance Management

There are many ways to handle your security performance management, and organizations’ processes often vary depending on their needs. Generally, though, the SPM process looks like this:

  • Auditing
    Start by assessing where you are. Compile a list of your cybersecurity infrastructure and consider all the teams and departments within your company. Choose an evaluation method. For example, using Security Scorecard and Hacknotice alerts you to potential threats and exposed records within your organization while also equipping you with a score.
  • Benchmarking
    Once you’ve identified your current cybersecurity score, you’ll have a benchmark from which you can set new goals. Remember, this is merely a starting point, and, so long as your organization commits to SPM, your score will only improve.
  • Monitoring and course-correcting
    Next, you should carefully monitor for any threats or potential breaches. Actionable threat intelligence, like Hacknotice, will also allow you to identify your highest risk employees and teams. When someone makes a mistake, ensure they participate in correcting that error and learn how to do better in the future.
  • Planning and forecasting
    When you have greater visibility into your security performance, you can make more informed decisions about the future — including changes to your infrastructure and employee education. And the stronger your workforce’s cooperation and compliance, the less you may need to spend on cybersecurity tools and tech.

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It’s important to note that, for SPM to work, you need everyone on board — all the way from your lowest-level employees to the c-suite. Today, protecting data isn’t just the CISO’s problem — your entire workforce is responsible for mitigating risk and preventing hackers from accessing your organization.

Over the past few years, B2B and B2C buyers have become much more aware of cybersecurity and the risks associated with sharing personal information. And it’s become much more difficult for organizations to recover from major hacks. Because even if you can survive the financial damage, potential buyers will always question your ability to protect their data.

As we move forward into an increasingly digital future, adopting better security performance management will no longer be a “nice to have” but an essential part of a successful business.