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How to Measure Anything in Cybersecurity Risk by Stuart McClure, Daniel E. Geer Jr., Richard Seiersen, Douglas W. Hubbard

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Chapter 2 A Measurement Primer for Cybersecurity

Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for twenty-two minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after thirty seconds.

—Malcom Gladwell, Outliers1

Before we can discuss how literally anything can be measured in cybersecurity, we need to discuss measurement itself, and we need to address early the objection that some things in cybersecurity are simply not measurable. The fact is that a series of misunderstandings about the methods of measurement, the thing being measured, or even the definition of measurement itself will hold back many attempts to measure.

This chapter will be mostly redundant for readers of the original How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of “Intangibles” in Business. This chapter has been edited from the original and the examples geared slightly more in the direction of cybersecurity. However, if you have already read the original book, then you might prefer to skip this chapter. Otherwise, you will need to read on to understand these critical basics.

We propose that there are just three reasons why anyone ever thought something was immeasurable—cybersecurity included—and all three are rooted in misconceptions of one sort or another. We categorize these three reasons as concept, object, and method. Various forms of these objections to measurement will be addressed in more detail later in this book (especially in Chapter 5). But for ...

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