Home > Articles > Measuring Zero Trust Success

Measuring Zero Trust Success


  1. Importance of Measurement
  2. The Metrics Lifecycle
  3. A Hybrid Approach
  4. The Follow-Up

Chapter Description

This sample chapter from In Zero Trust We Trust focuses on helping you craft standard metrics based on key constructs, such as risk and performance, so that you can showcase the value that Zero Trust brings to the enterprise infrastructure, processes, and people.

From the Book

In Zero Trust We Trust

In Zero Trust We Trust

$35.99 (Save 20%)

Initially, Glenn the consultant had the CIO’s (Mr. Jonathan Smith’s) attention. Now Glenn has Mr. Smith’s curiosity. With more detailed discussions, leadership teams appreciate the value of Zero Trust as a concept; however, they want to know how to apply the concept to their own enterprise. Hence, the logical next step is to map specific business drivers to measurable outcomes that are aligned to the larger Zero Trust vision. Effective metric creation will help enable strategic discussions on identifying Zero Trust mission statements to drive adoption across diverse teams within the organization. A common challenge enterprises face is to convince other leaders (ops, finance, and so on) within the organization that Zero Trust has a larger impact, not only to the security architecture but to overall enterprise risk, strategy, and cost. For example, business operations teams may not see the benefit of adopting Zero Trust unless there is a tangible metric that aligns with their strategy. For a vendor-neutral consultant, it appears obvious to move to a secure access model; however, many intricate dependencies such as cost implications, politics, and overall organization position in the market need to be considered when proposing a metric, as adverse conditions might deter enterprises from implementing Zero Trust. Some of the common deterrents to adoption have been discussed in Chapter 1, “When It All Begins.”

As translators of strategy and operational requirements, if consultants are unable to craft the right metric that is acceptable to leadership, they will not be able to showcase the value that Zero Trust brings to the enterprise infrastructure, processes, and people. Similarly, if the daily operational problems are not considered when crafting metrics, end users and employees will not fully appreciate the value of Zero Trust and its impact to their workflow. It is common knowledge that leadership speaks in the language of performance and risk, and the focus of this chapter will be to help craft metrics based on these key constructs, such as risk and performance. Risk and performance metrics are standard measurements that can be consumed by all business units within the enterprise.

Once leaders and adopters see the value of Zero Trust as a concept for their enterprises, they will be keen to understand from vendors how they incorporate Zero Trust not only into their products but also within the vendor’s enterprise itself. For example, Cisco has been on the Zero Trust journey for quite some time and hence is a good reference point to showcase to other enterprises how they can begin their own journey. Cisco’s journey also helps enterprises understand how to craft customized Zero Trust metrics to validate the efficacy of the Zero Trust initiative.

By driving Zero Trust in the enterprise, you are essentially committing to improve the security posture of the enterprise. Since you are looking at the adoption process of Zero Trust holistically, you must acknowledge that there are very few people who really see the entire Zero Trust picture. The key observants and enablers are leadership stakeholders. Unfortunately, without metrics, the value Zero Trust provides is conjecture at best for most stakeholders. Budgeting is another touchy subject. The board members must buy into your vision, and you must be able to showcase to them that the initiative will bring back quantifiable success in terms of performance improvements or risk reduction and eventually monetary gains and organizational stability. You cannot achieve these broader strategic goals without taking all precautions to protect the data of the customers and employees. At the same time, you do not want to let customers or employees create backdoors due to the extreme lengths the organization goes to secure data. That is where intelligent metrics come in.

There are some common metrics you identify to set a baseline that can be utilized to craft enterprise-specific metrics. Before any discussion about metrics begins, it is important to understand what a good metric is and why it is important to create tangible metrics.

Importance of Measurement

As a consultant, you need to help the enterprise identify a measurable metric. Consider a common example of showing the current status of a movie download in movie download software. It is a common strategy to see status messages on the software user that show “Almost done” rather than “99%” completion. There could be end users comfortable just knowing that the download will finish soon, and there might be other users who want to see the exact download percentage. Another example is the traffic lights showing a countdown to the next light change. Some people consider this a good feature on traffic lights because they prefer to switch off their vehicles when the traffic light is red and turn on the engine seconds before the light turns green. However, the number of such vehicle owners is lesser than the majority population that do not care about the time frame and just keep the engine running. What the architecture and design team must do is run a survey to understand the percentage of each of these users and decide which option to lean toward, which can bring in more utilization and value. Leadership is typically interested in maximizing recurring subscription to services or products along with increase in customer promoters. It is a strategic decision to decide what metric to consider when measuring a specific strategy. A metric like “reduce impact of an attack” is qualitative at best and in reality is very vague and broad scoped. When creating metrics, you must consider that each metric is a means to convince the listener that the scope can be measured and that the strategy is working from each stakeholder’s perspective. Crafting metrics is an adoption strategy by itself and therefore requires the knack of understanding what your target audience wants. To an operations lead, the metrics should resonate with availability and ease of operations. To an enterprise architect, it would resonate with providing the right architecture and design following all best practices and compliance. A CxO would be more concerned with support to the business, recurring revenue, and risk reduction. Hence, Zero Trust shouldn’t be restricted to one type of metric. It is usually an amalgamation of many metrics targeting all the stakeholders.

Another decision is the final state that has been envisioned for the enterprise. Once the metric has been crafted, the enterprise needs to decide where it would like to be from a Zero Trust access perspective, which aligns with their business vision. Should the enterprise target the highest maturity level or should it consider the asset value and context and decide which is the right state to be in. Enterprises need to build a meaningful and achievable metric to be able to show immediate value with tactical and operational returns and, in turn, propose more details about the strategic goals. By possessing some of the characteristics mentioned in subsequent sections, a metric can help an organization to identify, prioritize, and mitigate security risks and maintain a strong security posture to reach the desired performance and alignment to business. This will in turn drive the security budget requirement.

Deciding final state will hence depend on what the enterprise feels critical. A banking enterprise might want to consider any financial activity–related applications as important and applications handling personal identifiable information (PII) data as critical. Data classification, flow mapping, asset inventory, and segmentation will help identify the maturity vision of the enterprise based on the critical infrastructure present and identified. Once the vision is clear, the next step is to build observable, simple metrics to ensure that the capabilities around protecting these critical assets are in place.

2. The Metrics Lifecycle | Next Section

Cisco Press Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Cisco Press and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Cisco Press products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@ciscopress.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Cisco Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.ciscopress.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020