This post was contributed by Josh Bruyning, Cybersecurity Solutions Engineer at TrustMAPP.
Information security leaders across the globe rely on the TrustMAPP® Cybersecurity Performance Management platform to simplify the work of assessing the effectiveness of their cybersecurity programs. To accomplish this, the TrustMAPP platform uses a slightly modified version of the venerable “plan-do-check-act” model to guide users along each step of the Maturity Assessment Lifecycle. Let’s learn about each of these steps below.
In this phase, it is important to clearly communicate the purpose and scope of the upcoming assessment to all relevant stakeholders and make sure that everyone who is expected to participate in the assessment is properly assigned and aware of their responsibilities. It is also important to review and confirm the details of the assessment, such as the specific assessment tools and methods that will be used, and the timeline for completion. It is paramount to establish a regular cadence to ensure all parties are aligned with the assessment process.
As the assessment gets underway, it is important to closely monitor its progress and ensure that it is being conducted according to plan. This may involve regularly reviewing data collected during the assessment and checking in with team members to ensure that they are on track. Frameworks and standards are critical at this stage. Maturity is a popular way to measure an organization’s posture against frameworks such as SOC 2, NIST Cybersecurity Framework, and CIS Top Controls. Utilizing a measurement scale, zero to five, for example, maturity allows teams to collect data that accurately describes the current state or condition of a control’s performance. The aggregate of all scores collected results in an overall maturity score that leaders can communicate to stakeholders.
In the validation phase, you should carefully review the collected data to identify any outliers or anomalies that may require further investigation. If necessary, you may need to extend the data collection phase to gather additional information. While an overall maturity score tells a general story, your team will naturally wish to fine-tune the data for more precise measurement.
In the profile phase, you should review and share the results of the assessment with relevant stakeholders, including pain points and areas for improvement. It is important to clearly communicate the findings and recommendations to all relevant parties and to involve them in the planning process for remediation. During this phase, reports are the conventional medium of communication. Most teams face the challenge of communicating complex findings in a concise and easy-to-read manner. You can overcome this challenge by understanding your audience. Boards-of-Directors, Executives, and Managers respond best to a cybersecurity profile that tells a simple yet effective story. Your profile should answer fundamental questions such as: Where does the organization’s security posture stand today? What is the organization’s desired maturity score? What resources will it take to achieve the company’s maturity goal? Once a clear plan is established, the business is better positioned to make strategic decisions that see a return on security investment.
Planning and Projects
Once the assessment results have been reviewed and shared, you should work with relevant teams to update and revise your organization’s compliance and maturity plan, addressing identified risks and weaknesses. This may involve assigning specific tasks or projects to team members and setting clear goals and milestones. Establishing tasks that are informed by the organization’s current security posture, budget constraints, business objectives, and deadlines will drive continuous improvement. It is vital to identify project owners and communicate the importance of regular status updates such that maturity scores are updated upon task completion. During the project phase, teams should work to complete the tasks and projects that have been assigned to them, with the goal of improving their cybersecurity maturity scores. You should provide regular feedback and support to team members and may need to send notifications to employees who are falling behind on their tasks.
Once the tasks and projects have been completed, it is important to conduct a follow-up assessment to verify that the improvements have been effective and to identify any new risks or areas for improvement. This process should be repeated regularly to ensure that your organization’s cybersecurity posture remains strong and effective.
By following the cybersecurity assessment lifecycle, you can help ensure that your organization is well-prepared to address potential cyber threats and vulnerabilities. With TrustMAPP, you can competently organize and manage your organization’s cybersecurity program and build confidence and trust with your stakeholders. Schedule a free demo today!