Cybersecurity Maturity: Basic Principles, Building Blocks and Models

Today’s attackers aren’t pulling any punches when it comes to persecuting our networks. For years, it hasn’t been a matter of “if” but “when” a cyberattack will occur. They look for any weakness, any hole in our defenses. 

Now is the time to assess your cybersecurity maturity and develop a phased approach to get to where you want to be over the next couple of years.

What Is Cybersecurity Maturity? 

Cybersecurity maturity is your organization’s level of readiness to defend itself and its digital assets against cyberattacks. The more mature your program, the better able you are to mitigate digital threats and keep business running as usual despite cyber threats and challenges. As the threat landscape intensifies and artificial intelligence is unleashed in full force, sophisticated cybersecurity maturity is more than just nice; it’s now necessary.  

Cybersecurity maturity can be divided into roughly three levels:  

  • Foundational:  IT/OT and Security Control Processes 
  • Fundamental: Security Control Capabilities 
  • Advanced: Security Control Capabilities 

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model 

There are several key competencies to be considered in an effective cybersecurity maturity model. This is based on Forrester’s recently updated Information Security Maturity Model, which was inspired by a thorough review of the latest SANS, ISO, ITIL, and NIST standards. It fits 20 essential security maturity activities into the following four competencies: 

Oversight: How agile is the organization at meeting business needs while responding to security threats? This is demonstrated with policies, controls, the handling of audits, risk management, and third-party governance. 

Technology: How well can the organization protect data across the enterprise? They must ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data wherever it resides.  

Process: What are the day-to-day activities that mitigate risk? This requires optimized processes that identify, classify, and handle assets, as well as maintain the same standards for third parties. 

People: Do employees uphold and support these cyber security maturity initiatives? Define key roles and communicate expectations across the organization.  

Zero-ing in on the technology aspect, key to security maturity is a well-honed data loss prevention (DLP) program. Research from Forrester outlines how professionals can assess current measures and ensure that long-term DLP strategies are in place. The report concludes that data classification is one of the 5 key elements of DLP success, and that DLP is a key data security component that belongs as part of the company’s broader risk and control strategy.  

Mature security technologies are an integral requirement of any cybersecurity maturity model and should be prioritized as foundational elements.  

How to Improve Your Cybersecurity Maturity  

Now that the goals and frameworks are set, what are the practical ways in which a company moves forward? Here are five essential considerations when improving cybersecurity maturity: 

Technology doesn’t automatically mean maturity 
Layered solutions can still leave security gaps if not planned effectively. Companies must adopt a risk-based approach and prioritize the tools that will address the most critical issues. 

Endpoint protection is a priority 
With the full force of AI leveled at our endpoints, it’s no wonder that an IDC survey revealed that 60% of global organizations consider endpoint protection a “high priority”.  

Automate, automate, automate 
No security team is optimally effective against today’s advanced and relentless attacks if they insist on doing things manually. A mature cybersecurity program automates wherever possible. 

Adopt a cybersecurity maturity model 
No matter which one you choose, adopting a solid framework will put your organization on track to reaching cybersecurity maturity. Just checking compliance checkboxes and patching vulnerabilities will not do it.  

Cybersecurity Maturity Assessment 

To begin, companies must define their starting point. A cybersecurity maturity assessment is a great place to start.  

This type of test will provide an overview of your current security posture; on-premises, in the cloud, and remotely. It is important to establish who has responsibility for securing certain assets, especially in the cloud, and then run down the technologies, people, and processes in place to achieve that goal. If there is anything lacking in any of those areas, a cybersecurity maturity assessment will identify the gaps and compare your progress to what is expected in a cybersecurity maturity model.  

Types of Security Maturity  

Overall security maturity can be attained in a number of different ways, depending on the organization’s preference and starting point. Here are a few:  

  • Zero Trust Maturity 
    This approach is about mindset. It revolves around taking nothing for granted and denying trust to anyone within or without the network, unless authorization, authentication, and validation are assured first. The mantra is, “guilty unless proven innocent”, and every policy, deployment, and procedure reflects that. Said Joseph Carson, chief security scientist and advisory CISO at ThycoticCentrify, “Think of zero trust as a way to operate the business in a secure way. It’s about how you actually practice security.” Since the goal of zero trust maturity is so comprehensive, organizations embarking on this path need to remember that success is measured in increments, and in improvement.  
  • Endpoint Security Maturity 
    The digital revolution has seen endpoints expand from fax machines and mobile devices to include virtual machines, containers, IoT appliances, and more. The Gartner model showcases an effective endpoint protection model that emphasizes measurability and understandability but lacks granular grading. The SANS model, on the other hand, provides incremental ways to track progress. Whichever model you choose, keep in mind that endpoint security maturity depends equally on capable endpoint security technology and user awareness. 
  • Network Security Maturity 
    This strategy relies on prioritizing the safety of the network through network segmentation, firewalls, and access policies. At the first level, traffic travels with minimal restrictions at the edge of your network, reflecting a level of inherent trust and allowing outside threats to move laterally through your network. The second maturity stage employs defenses at the edge like firewalls, but not internally, leaving sensitive assets still exposed to malicious outsiders who find their way in. The most advanced level uses strict access policies and network segmentation to restrict access and limit exposure and risk should something fall through.  

It is important to remember that cybersecurity maturity is a journey as much as an ultimate destination. As long as cybercriminals continue to evolve their tactics, there will always be a need to improve ours.  

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If this information is helpful to you read our blog for more interesting and useful content, tips, and guidelines on similar topics. Contact the team of COMPUTER 2000 Bulgaria now if you have a specific question. Our specialists will be assisting you with your query. 

Content curated by the team of COMPUTER 2000 on the basis of news in reputable media and marketing materials provided by our partners, companies, and other vendors.

 

 

 

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