Home Business Key Metrics to Evaluate the Performance of a Security Operations Center

Key Metrics to Evaluate the Performance of a Security Operations Center

by Olufisayo
Security Operations Center

Preventing and managing potential cyber threats against an organization falls within the purview of a Security Operations Center (SOC). This also extends to threat intelligence, vulnerability identification, reputational damage, asset and inventory tracking, as well as bolstering an organization against cyberattacks and internal security breaches.

To effectively insulate an organization against emerging threats, the SOC must implement key metrics to evaluate its own security preparedness. The security program of the organization must be subjected to performance evaluation that is based on key metrics covered in this guidance. Measuring SOC processes and services will make way for enhanced security operations.

Using these metrics, the effectiveness of the performance evaluation will determine if a threat is nipped before it emerges or if a catastrophic data breach occurs.

Key performance indicator (KPI)

KPI measures business functions and objectives to determine their success or failure in the context of actionable decisions and policies. Measuring an organization’s KPI viz-a-viz its SOC performance helps to analyze data that can be used to identify security patterns and trends.

To this end, KPI helps an organization to be ahead of a changing threat landscape, and to execute security programs that are dynamic and actionable. Some of the KPIs that could be measured include emerging threat assessment, actionable solutions, the cost of preventing or containing the risks, and responsive decision-making.

The effectiveness of the KPI can be analyzed with SMART – simple, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-based. So what then are the key metrics that can be applied to evaluating the performance of a SOC against existential organizational threats? Here are the key metrics that can be implemented using KPIs:

Key metrics for measuring a security operations center

  • Time to detection

This is the time it takes for the SOC team to detect an emerging threat and take proactive steps against it. Once the detection time is computed, the team might want to determine how to reduce the time further in hours, days, technology, and event type.

  • Time to resolution

This is the actual time it takes for the security team to resolve any security event. It also includes the process and technology applied to contain the threat, as well as the number of staff and efficiency required to resolve the risk.

  • Number and resolving false positives

It is also important to measure the occurrence of false positives – the number, frequency, nature, and dynamics. The time it requires to resolve the false positives and the manner of resolving them is essential.

  • Number and nature of escalation

The number and nature of risks that need to be escalated to the highest level of personnel attention must be factored in determining the performance of the SOC team. The speed at which risks are being escalated to the senior level and the speed at which they are resolved matter. The proficiency of the staff assigned to managing risks or escalating them should also be examined.

  • What is the source of the danger?

It is imperative that the SOC team identify the source of organizational danger to evaluate its seriousness. It is also important to determine if some technology should be blamed for the danger and if current technology is enough to contain the danger. The rate at which staffers detect dangers before technologies detect them is also an important metric to note.


There are other important metrics that can be applied to evaluate the performances of the SOC team. The SOC team may also automate their security responses to emerging risks with technology and highly-trained personnel. The ultimate objective of the department is to protect the organization against all forms of online, offline, and internal threats using the latest technologies, skills, and protocols.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

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