Security Maturity: Beyond Compliance to Cyber Resilience

Published On: May 23, 2023Categories: Performance Management, Blog

Over the years, many business leaders have depended on compliance reporting for information security measurement but are now pivoting to maturity as a measurement of resilience. Today, to the detriment of security, we still rely on compliance reporting to inform security program budgets and overall performance. This one-time snapshot of their company’s posture provides a restricted view of the business context for information security. The saying goes, “Compliance does not equal security,” but if compliance does not equal security, then what does? The answer is simple: Maturity.

While compliance with rules and regulations is a pivotal step in securing a company’s data and reputation, this blog aims to bring a more comprehensive approach that many security leaders have already adopted. Maturity is the Technicolor IMAX 3D to the black-and-white picture that compliance represents, a holistic approach to security that informs risk and compliance as the first necessary step to a robust security program. Measuring information security maturity provides a gradient of control performance across the control landscape. Not all priorities are weighted equally for your business.

Understanding Maturity

Maturity measures an organization’s readiness to handle its cybersecurity risk on a gradient scale. It probes beyond the superficial, asking questions like, “What is the quality of your organization’s risk management processes?” A maturity model can examine the current state of risk controls, acting as the first step in your organization’s planning phase. The CISO should always be ready to answer questions such as:

  • Does the business follow a repeatable process supporting evidence gathering?
  • Are stakeholders on onboard with all risk remediation initiatives? If not, which initiatives have they bought into?
  • What is the budgetary roadmap to accomplish defined business goals?
  • How does information security support business objectives over time?
  • What is the cost-benefit analysis of making current investments in support of the organization’s current risk management program?

Maturity is not merely a concept, but a tangible metric measured through various frameworks like the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), and others.

Maturity isn’t simply meeting checkboxes on a compliance sheet. Instead, it is a continual and iterative process that flexibly adapts to changing threats and business conditions. Moreover, it adds an efficiency element, enabling an organization to effectively leverage its resources to mitigate the most significant risks.

As you might already notice, maturity does not itself act as a control, tool, or resource but instead allows the security team to measure more granularly while communicating priorities of the security program alignment with the business’s current objectives and desired maturity goals. Again, it is the first step in a dependable, repeatable security program and informs all efforts that follow.

To see how maturity reporting could apply to your business, download our Board Reporting Toolkit.