Business Advantage of Information Security Maturity

Published On: June 13, 2023Categories: Performance Management, Blog

Business Advantage of Information Security Maturity

Every cybersecurity leader understands the importance of having a well-documented and reportable information security program. Organizations that want to improve upon their information security program typically begin with a baseline of maturity for their adopted controls. This baseline establishes the necessary understanding to prioritize and align projects to documented gaps in controls that align with identified risks. As an organization moves from using spreadsheets and a high volume of manual effort to a repeatable and dynamic measurement and reporting framework, the information security teams begin to integrate their security program roadmap with substantiated outcomes. A major benefit of moving to a more repeatable measurement and reporting framework allows information security teams to align and adjust with key business outcomes and objectives regularly and model scenarios in real-time. By taking this approach security teams instill confidence in the cybersecurity posture of business executive stakeholders and in Board Room discussions. This article explores briefly the approach to accomplishing business alignment with an information security program.

Applying Maturity to Business Objectives

Compliance is the minimum while maturity offers maximum resilience with efficiencies, budgets, and business objectives built in. In other words, maturity offers more bang for your buck because of its inherent ability to quantify and prioritize remediation according to business objectives. Data collected from maturity assessments provide invaluable insights into the effectiveness of the cybersecurity program, allowing the organization to align outcomes with its business objectives. At every rung in the maturity ladder, organizations can associate costs to get to the next maturity level, or to the company goal. Security leaders can then prioritize remediation, allowing businesses to plan for the future and communicate effectively with stakeholders.

By incorporating cybersecurity into the overall business strategy, organizations can ensure that their cybersecurity initiatives safeguard assets and support and drive business growth. A mature cybersecurity approach aligns with an organization’s broader business goals and does not compete with them, teeing the security leader to become a trusted advisor. This alignment can take various forms. For instance, it may involve prioritizing cybersecurity investments supporting vital business activities. Alternatively, it might mean structuring cybersecurity protocols to enhance customer trust and reinforce competitiveness. Using a maturity model, companies can identify which areas of their cybersecurity strategy require immediate attention and which the organization should develop over time.

The Competitive Advantages of Maturity

Customers, shareholders, and partners are increasingly turning from compliance to maturity as the measure of third-party security. When compared to organizations that practice security compliance alone, mature organizations have a competitive advantage in today’s market. Maturity, a tenant of cybersecurity performance management, empowers third-party vendors to show upcoming improvements for which their business leaders can plan and budget. According to a 2021 study by the Ponemon Institute, customers increasingly choose suppliers and providers who demonstrate a definite roadmap, providing predictability and reliability to long-term partners. When organizations focus on continuous improvement rather than compliance snapshots, they are positioned to convey an image of commitment, enhancing their appeal to clients. They know that if a prospective vendor’s business demonstrates security maturity, it has most likely covered its bases. Businesses face increasing scrutiny from regulators, where fines are just as threatening as losing customers to a competitor.

Maturity satisfies regulatory requirements for due diligence and care, avoiding potential fines associated with data security breaches. According to IBM’s 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average total cost of a data breach was $3.86 million, with compliance failures contributing to 39% of those incidents. Cyber insurers apply increasing scrutiny to businesses that fail to demonstrate due care, not to mention the SEC guidelines that hang over the heads of Boards of Directors. A mature cybersecurity posture can increase business valuation, attracting investors and satisfying stockholders. A 2022 study from Comparitech revealed that companies with robust cybersecurity had, on average, a 7% higher market valuation than those lacking in this area.

Compare how you are performing to industry benchmarks by accessing our annual information security maturity benchmark report: 2023 Information Security Benchmark Report