A recent survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Tripwire found that security metrics are often too technical to be understood by management.

The survey of 1,321 respondents in IT security, IT operations, IT risk management, business operations, compliance/internal audit and enterprise risk management found that while 75 percent of respondents said metrics are "important" or "very important" to a risk-based security program, 59 percent said the information is too technical to be understood by non-technical management.

What's more, 53 percent don't believe or are unsure that the security metrics used in their organizations are properly aligned with business objectives, and 51 percent don't believe or are unsure that their organizations' metrics adequately convey the effectiveness of security risk management efforts to senior executives.

"These results correlate with the dozens of conversations we have been having with CISO’s across the globe," Rekha Shenoy, vice president of marketing and corporate development at Tripwire, said in a statement. "CISOs talk about the importance of leveraging metrics as a way to influence business leadership and build a risk management practice within their companies. Unfortunately, they struggle with the bigger challenge of producing meaningful metrics while those they use are rarely aligned with business goals."