Businessman assessing levels of risk on a laptop.What Are Key Risk Indicators (KRIs) in Cybersecurity 

Cybersecurity is not a one-size-fits-all approach to malicious online attacks. Sure, there are general best practices to be aware of and follow, but it doesn’t stop there. In addition to updates and constant monitoring of your efforts, there are KRIs to consider.  

KRIs, also known as key risk indicators, are metrics that you should consider when it comes to your security framework. To put it clearly, these metrics provide valuable insights and data regarding potential risks. Having this information allows you to prioritize your security efforts 

And key risk indicators aren’t limited to one aspect of your security, but all of it. You can measure various security aspects and look at them as a whole or individually. KRIs provide you with a better understanding of your risk profile overall, as well as specific types of risks.  

Classifying Key Risk Indicators 

The spectrum of coverage regarding key risk indicators is significant. Depending on the type of business you operate, there could be cybersecurity threats from just about anywhere. Simply listing the cybersecurity key risk indicator examples could be exhausting.  

Instead, consider classifying them for some more focused perspective. Commonly, you can classify key risk indicators into three categories: 

  • Financial 
  • People 
  • Operational 

If your KRIs find vulnerabilities in your supply chain, for instance, this would be an operational KRI. Competitive risks in the market, on the other hand, would be classified as a financial KRI. And risks that pertain to employees, such as retention or turnover, could be considered a people KRI. 

Key Risk Indicator Examples 

Every company has a risk threshold or risk appetite. You might be a bit more flexible in certain areas than others. What is excellent about hey risk indicators is that they consider these levels of risk with context.  

For example, if you have a system that requires a login, you likely monitor these logins in real-time. And while there are certain best practices at play for your operators, KRIs are their own indicators. Therefore, how many unsuccessful login attempts occur would be an appropriate KRI to measure.  

You can see how this is different than a best practice, which would be to change the passwords regularly. Similarly, phishing attempts occur often. A best practice for the company would be to report them, and certainly not open them. A KRI would measure how often they are coming through and try to locate the source.  

In a way, a key risk indicator is working within the system. However, it deals with the real-time functionality of the enterprise and staff as well. And while KRIs are constantly measuring threats, they are only effective once they are put to work.  

This means constantly comparing the key risk indicators against the previous month’s. And then against the previous year’s. Overall, you want to maintain a level of security, and if the risk is growing, then it is time for a change.  

Key Performance Indicators vs Key Risk Indicators 

A common misconception that companies make is assuming key performance indicators (KPIs) are the same as KRIs. They are not the same, aside from the fact that they are both metrics for operation. While KRIs measure risk, KPIs measure performance 

Like key risk indicators, key performance indicators are used to measure all sorts of things. One example might be from a marketing perspective. In this regard, a KPI could be used to track how much time a client spends on your website. If this is too short, then you will make adjustments to be more engaging.  

Another example might be simply tracking the progress of monthly business. Overall, your company might be shy of reaching its quarterly goal at the current rate. With KPIs, you can not only be aware of this concern but figure out how to strategize around it.  

To be clear, both key performance indicators and key risk indicators are key for any serious business enterprise. They should both be implemented and utilized, as well as updated with progress. But, they should be treated as different metrics, since they tell different stories of your business.  

Learn More 

The specifics of key risk indicators should be discussed with a professional since they’ll pertain to your operation. After all, your operation is unique on the inside and the outside. From your offerings to your vendors to your software systems to your employees, your KRIs should represent these. 

Therefore, it is worth reaching out to our team to learn how KRIs can benefit you specifically. 

Book a call with our team to learn more.