Determining Your Cybersecurity Maturity: Does Your Cyber Security Program Need to “Grow Up”?

cybersecurity maturity

Do you know how cybersecurity mature your organization is? Perhaps your company has a well-established cyber security program. Maybe your business is about to embark on a digital transformation journey.  In the latter case, the goal is to establish the baseline foundations of security from which to build on.  In the former case, you will either know exactly what your cybersecurity maturity level is or should be working on determining what it is.

If your organization has not determined it’s cybersecurity maturity level, read on.  This blog post goes into what cybersecurity maturity is, and the benefits of undergoing a cybersecurity maturity assessment.

Technology Does Not Equal Maturity

The view that a good cyber security program is simply having a kit of technology solutions that help you check the compliance boxes is flawed. Being able to checking all the boxes to meet regulatory compliance is an important baseline requirement, but is a long way from the ideal or “optimal” security stance.

While many organizations have invested in, or are considering investing in, cyber security technology tools, this does not automatically mean that you’ll have addressed all potential security gaps. An effective cybersecurity program requires consistent, repeatable, continuous proactive action. It is always “leveling up” to meet knew threats and challenges.

Investing in some basic cyber security measures lays the foundation of a good cyber security program. Technology tools help your IT team to prevent, monitor, detect and identify cyber threats.  But, how do you know your organization’s cyber security program is effective and that you are doing cyber security “well”?

This is where an assessment of your organization’s current cyber security maturity comes in.

What Is Cyber Security Maturity?

We’re all familiar with the term “maturity” as a concept in the context of physical and emotional growth and development. We generally think of a mature person as someone with knowledge and wisdom. Immature people can be told to “grow up”.

In the workplace, the term maturity is used in a number of different contexts. Maturity can be used to describe employee professionalism (professional maturity), emotional intelligence (emotional maturity), and business processes (process maturity).

Maturity can be applied to cybersecurity as well, from a people, technology and process standpoint.  Cybersecurity maturity essentially reflects an organization’s degree of preparedness to mitigate cyber threats and vulnerabilities.

Cyber security is critical to every business and good security is strongly tied to business success and continuity.  Good cyber security is being able to prevent adversaries from gaining access to company infrastructure, data and anything else attackers consider to be valuable assets. Ultimately, good cyber security is measured by the success or failure of the would-be attackers.

A company with a high level of cybersecurity maturity means it is better equipped to mitigate against a complete cyber breach compared to it’s less mature business counterpart.

The more focus and attention an organization places on cybersecurity, the better the security is likely to be. An organization that undertakes a cyber security maturity assessment is likely to view security seriously and treat it as a priority.  These companies know the answer to the question: “What gaps exist in our cybersecurity program across people, processes and technology?”.  In this way the business knows where to turn its focus to improve its security program.

How Do You Measure Your Business Cyber Security Maturity?

Cybersecurity maturity models are used to measure an organization’s maturity level. A maturity level is given based on a rating scale. A low cybersecurity maturity rating (typically Level 0) represents that an organization is doing the bare minimum, very little, or even nothing at all to address cyber threats and vulnerabilities. At the other end of the scale, a high maturity rating (typically Level 5) indicates that an organization has optimized processes and controls to deter cyber threats. Organizations may have a basic, reactive, proactive, or predictive security stance.

Some questions you might ask to help give insight into how well your cyber security program is performing includes:

  • How do we quantify threats?
  • How do we quantify our preparation to respond?
  • How ready and agile is our organization?
  • How would we respond to a threat?
  • How would we describe and communicate the threat and defense landscape to non- cybersecurity professionals outside of the organization?

What Is The Benefit Of A Cybersecurity Maturity Assessment?

Performing a maturity assessment on your organization’s security can provide you with valuable insights. A cybersecurity maturity assessment is a way to put focus on a cybersecurity program and its effectiveness. It provides a guide towards actions that can be taken to improve cyber security measures.  The intent is to help organizations to bring into focus the effectiveness of its cybersecurity and identify how it can consistently apply actions to improve cybersecurity over time. This encourages process improvements to be made consistently over time, rather than just waiting for the next crisis to prompt an assessment.

Your organization has invested, or will invest, significant time and resources in acquiring technology and talent and developing systems and processes with the goal of protecting from cyber risks.  You would want to know how your investment is paying off, that is, you’ll want to know how effectively your cybersecurity investments are working for you.

When first establishing a cybers security program, the organization starts with an assessment of the cyber risks begins. However, these risks need to be reviewed periodically as threats and attacks evolve over time. So too should your security program evolve.  Risks vary across organizations, and similarly so do the security defenses and priorities vary from one organization to another.

Your organization will naturally want to invest in the areas where most weakness exist and where you can close gaps in security. When getting started, the focus would be on establishing the basic security technologies needed to support your business objectives. For businesses that are more established in their security program, they need to take actions that will continue to support their business objectives. These may likely have changed since initially establishing the cyber security program.

When Should You Undertake a Cybersecurity Maturity Assessment?

Now is a good a time as any to undergo a cybersecurity maturity assessment if you’ve never had an assessment or if some time has elapsed since the last assessment. An assessment is advised particularly before you invest in a single technology solution or in a full suite of cybersecurity technology and tools.

Expert observations and findings from a review can guide discussions and define recommended priority actions for you to take.

An independent team of cybersecurity experts like Ascension Global Technology can help you determine how cyber mature your organization is.  They can help you inform:

  • What level of maturity you organization is currently at
  • What level of maturity you should strive for
  • How your level of maturity compares to the maturity level of others in your industry
  • What you can do to improve your organization’s security posture
  • How you should prioritize actions for security improvements

Following a cyber security maturity assessment, you will have a clear action plan.  The action plan prioritizes actions, based on a rating of each action’s criticality, cost and ease of implementation. This provides your company with a resource to take actions to improve its cybersecurity posture and cybersecurity maturity.

If you would like to learn more about a cyber security assessment for your business or organization, contact our friendly team at Ascension Global Technology. We will help you to level up your security.

Resources

Building Cybersecurity from the Ground Up — Part 1: The Business Perspective
Building Cybersecurity from the Ground Up — Part 2: The Technology Basics

Ready to Grow Up?

Improve the maturity of your cybersecurity program with Ascension Global Technology. Call us today to discuss a cyber security maturity assessment for your business.

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