If you’re working on beefing up your cybersecurity, you may have heard the term “mean time to respond,” also known as MTTR. But what does this term mean, and why is it important?
When applied to cybersecurity, mean time to respond (MTTR) is a metric that is used to measure the effectiveness of your system’s ability to respond to a security threat. MTTR is a valuable metric to measure as it can provide a good general overview of the health of your cybersecurity system. Understanding how quickly your organization can mitigate the damage from a security incident is essential in today’s world of ever-evolving cyber threats.
What MTTR Means
MTTR is the total amount of time it takes for an organization to identify, assess, and respond to an incident or failure. Once measured, MTTR can be used to determine the effectiveness of an incident response process and identify any areas that need to be improved.
It can also be used to measure the strength of an organization’s overall security posture and can help identify potential security vulnerabilities, whether those are physical security issues or cybersecurity issues with infrastructure, equipment, or security personnel.
When used in security evaluations, MTTR can be repeatedly measured as improvements to the system are made. The goal of such improvements is to reduce the security system’s MTTR, thereby showing that an organization’s security posture has improved as a result. This makes MTTR an important component of determining the effectiveness of an organization’s security.
How to Calculate MTTR
Mean Time to Respond (MTTR) is calculated by measuring the total amount of time it takes for an organization to identify, assess, and respond to a security incident or failure. It is a relatively easy metric to gain as you only need to track the total amount of time it takes from when an incident is identified to when it is completely resolved.
Once the total amount of time taken is tracked, the MTTR can be calculated by dividing this total amount of time by the number of incidents that were resolved. Therefore, you could get this information from data on past security incidents, even during timeframes where multiple issues were ongoing.
You can also run mock tests to test your security response and get your MTTR from those tests.
Other Failure Metrics To Consider
In addition to mean time to respond (MTTR), there are a number of other metrics that you might use to measure the effectiveness of your security systems and processes. These metrics include:
- Mean time to detect (MTTD): the average amount of time it takes to detect a security threat. This metric is calculated by totaling the number of incidents detected in a given time period and dividing it by the total amount of time it has taken to detect those incidents from the moment a problem started.
- Mean time to acknowledge (MTTA): the average amount of time it takes to acknowledge and begin to work on a security threat. This metric is calculated by totaling the amount of time between a system’s alert and acknowledgment and then dividing that by the number of incidents within a given time period.
- Mean time between failures (MTBF): the average amount of time between security system failures. This metric is calculated by dividing the amount of time within a given time period by the total number of failures within that time period.
- Mean time to repair (MTTR): Not to be confused with mean time to respond, mean time to repair is the average amount of time it takes to repair a system after a failure. This metric is calculated by dividing the total amount of time it takes to repair a system after a failure by the total number of failures within a given time period.
These metrics, along with mean time to respond (MTTR), can all help identify any potential areas of improvement for your security system and help you take proactive steps to strengthen your security posture.
How to Optimize MTTR
There are a few steps that you can take to optimize your MTTR, and, as a result, your entire security posture. These steps include:
- Ensure that you have a comprehensive incident response plan in place. This plan should include procedures to identify, assess, and respond to a security incident or failure. The plan should also include the roles and responsibilities of each IT or security team member and the resources that are available to them.
- Ensure that all security and IT team members are properly trained on the incident response plan. This includes training on the steps to take in the event of an incident, as well as training on the tools and resources available to them. Include tests to ensure that team members are able to respond quickly and effectively in the event of an incident.
- Invest in the right tools and technologies to improve your incident response process. Automation and artificial intelligence can be used to identify incidents quickly and accurately. This can reduce the amount of time it takes to identify an incident, as well as reduce the amount of manual effort required in the process.
If you need the right technology in place to reduce your security system’s MTTR, Open System’s Ontinue ION can give you with an edge. As an award-winning managed detection and response service, we can provide the right tools, technology, and expertise to help you manage today’s cybersecurity challenges and those in the future.
Request a demo today to learn more.