Are you taking advantage of a cybersecurity maturity model?

Updated: Nov 5



















RiskXchange helps organisations all over the world monitor and strengthen their cybersecurity processes regularly.


A cybersecurity maturity model provides a pathway for organisations to assess where they are, periodically. This can be a valuable tool for improving the company’s entire cybersecurity efforts, as well as for communicating with upper management and pinpointing exactly what support is required.


Information security can often take a back seat when it comes to running an organisation, even when there is an information security programme in place. Problems aren’t detected until after a serious security breach has occurred.


For businesses that are unsure of how prepared their security defences are, capability security maturity models provide an effective and objective way of testing preparedness and highlighting what needs to be improved.


Why should you use a security maturity model?


By using a security maturity model, an organisation can manage their information security processes to ensure that they're fully optimised and functional across the board.


Many different types of security maturity models can work for different kinds of organisations, utilising similar maturity levels. The main goal is to use a security maturity model to understand and identify weaknesses in organisational processes.


Security maturity models can also be used for measurement and metrics, which can identify the improvements needed within your security programme with ease.


What is capability maturity modelling?


Capability maturity modelling, or more commonly known as CMM, is a process used by organisations to measure and improve their programmes and processes. Maturity, here, relates to how formal and optimised a process is for any given programme.


A security maturity model includes a set of indicators or characteristics that represent progression and capability within a company’s security programme. Maturity modelling based on CMM creates processes that are repeatable, thorough, and have the potential to improve continuously.


CMM works to automate these processes, which makes them an effective part of an organisation’s overall operational infrastructure. Leveraging CMM can help an organisation identify areas where their process is reactive to security threats. When these areas are identified, the organisation can implement new processes to become more proactive and incorporate measurable improvements.


How a security maturity model works


A security maturity model defines five distinct maturity levels. Each level indicates what stage of security process optimisation an organisation is currently at. As an organisation moves through the five stages, their processes will progress from unstructured and unorganised to a level where their data processes run smoothly and are monitored and optimised continuously.


Key process areas (KPAs) characterise each level of the maturity model. KPAs are a set of related practices that, when implemented together, satisfy goals set to improve a given area of the programme.


The following KPAs are what organisations should bear in mind at each level of the maturity model:


A commitment to perform

Ability to perform

Activities performed

Measurement and analysis of results

Verifying the implementation of processes


The security maturity model


The KPAs mentioned above should be considered within each of the following maturity model levels:


Level 1: Initial

Level 1 indicates that there are no organised processes in place. Processes are generally informal with no defined structure. Security processes tend to be reactive and not measurable, scalable, or repeatable.


Level 2: Repeatable

In level 2, some processes become repeatable. A more formal programme has been initiated, although discipline is lacking. Some processes have been defined, established and documented.


Level 3: Defined

Level 3 processes have become standardised, formal, and defined. This helps create some form of consistency across the organisation.


Level 4: Managed

Once you reach level 4, an organisation begins to refine, measure, and adapt security processes to make them more effective based on the information received from its programme.


Level 5: Optimising

An organisation operating at level 5 has processes that are documented, automated, and analysed for optimisation. Cybersecurity is part of the overall culture and is monitored continuously. Although level 5 is classed as the top level, it doesn’t indicate that the maturity level has peaked. It simply means that the organisation is monitoring and evolving its cybersecurity processes constantly.


About RiskXchange


RiskXchange provides a powerful AI-assisted, simple, automated, and centralised 360-degree cybersecurity risk rating management approach. We generate objective and quantitative reporting on a company's cybersecurity risk and performance, which enables organisations with evolving business requirements conduct business securely in today's open and collaborative digital world.


RiskXchange is an information security technology company that helps businesses of all sizes, across the globe, mitigate cyber threats by providing instant risk ratings. RiskXchange was founded and is led by recognised experts within the security industry, who have held leading roles in companies such as IBM Security.


Find out more here.


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