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Mean time to detect

Mean time to detect

(also MTTD)

Mean time to detect definition

Mean time to detect (MTTD) is the average time it takes to detect a system’s failure, problem, or security breach. It’s a key metric in various fields, especially IT and cybersecurity.

See also: mean time to failure, mean time to repair, mean time to recovery, mean time to respond, recovery time objective, cyber incident response plan, cyber incident, response time

Importance of mean time to detect

  • Proactive response. A key benefit of monitoring MTTD is the ability to quickly deal with issues, which reduces the impact.
  • Performance benchmarking. It helps measure the performance and efficiency of the monitoring and response systems.
  • Continuous improvement. Tracking MTTD over time helps identify areas for improvement in processes and technologies.

How mean time to detect works

  1. Systems are always monitored for any signs of failures or security threats.
  2. When there’s a problem, the system logs when it was first identified. This could be automatic or done by a person.
  3. MTTD is calculated by taking the average of all the times it took to detect issues over a certain period. For example, if three issues were found in one week, and their detection times were 2 hours, 4 hours, and 6 hours after occurrence, the MTTD would be (2+4+6)/3 = 4 hours.

Use cases of mean time to detect

  • Cybersecurity. In cybersecurity, a lower MTTD means detecting threats faster, which reduces potential damage. It’s used to gauge the effectiveness of security systems and protocols.
  • IT and network management. MTTD shows how quickly IT teams find and fix system failures, network outages, or performance issues.
  • Manufacturing and production. In industrial settings, MTTD helps spot equipment issues early to avoid long production stops.
  • Healthcare. In healthcare, MTTD relates to finding equipment malfunctions or system errors, which is vital for patient safety.
  • Business analytics. Companies use MTTD to see how fast their systems respond to operational issues, which affects efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Further reading

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