Where Compliance Assessments Fall Short, Maturity Assessments Rise to the Challenge

Published On: August 1, 2016


The Problem with Compliance Assessments

Newly-minted information security leaders often learn that regulatory or contractual requirements are the primary business driver for their organizations’ security program. Tasked with developing a plan for implementing controls, these leaders turn to compliance assessments to understand the gaps between requirements and operational realities. Ultimately, the organization’s interpretation of compliance mandates may lead to overly burdensome or lax approaches to meeting the requirements. Neither approach is particularly effective, since one suggests a need for security controls that can hinder operations and the other suggests that controls should only meet the lowest possible bar.

As a measurement tool, compliance assessments are blunt instruments that focus primarily on the existence of controls. These assessments tend to yield binary results – either the organization is compliant, or not. Implementing security effectively via the results of a compliance assessment is challenging, since gaps in compliance suggest (for the uninitiated) the need for security investments that may be disproportionate to the problem the organization is trying to solve.

Leveraging Maturity Assessments

Maturity assessments represent an alternative security measurement approach. The key difference is in maturity assessments’ focus on business process as the key indicator of the effectiveness of a security program. This assessment approach yields a more nuanced understanding of effectiveness and efficiency aligned with compliance requirements.

For maturity assessments, security controls are evaluated alongside organizational culture, capacity and risk appetite. The results of a maturity assessment provide the security leader with the knowledge to address security holistically. Unlike the yes/no metrics of compliance assessments, security leaders can use this information to elevate the discussion with executives by tying security solutions to business objectives. The maturity assessment identifies, quantifies and recommends strategies to leverage the organization’s capacity to implement security in a manner that emphasizes process efficiency and effectiveness.

Automate Maturity Assessments

Secure Digital Solutions’ TrustMAPP™ platform, powered by the MAPP™ (Maturity Assessment, Profile, and Plan) methodology, offers security leaders the ability to:

  • Identify how much security is “enough” by establishing process-level performance goals
  • Measure the effectiveness of your security programs and the capacity to accomplish outcomes
  • Link information security metrics and measurement back to business value and strategy
  • Use analytics and estimated level of effort to tell a compelling story to business executives and the board

TrustMAPP reports security posture by maturity levels, including trending analysis, planning, budgeting, and built-in support for multiple security frameworks and regulations. As a cloud solution, TrustMAPP enables clients to begin assessing their information security program in weeks instead of months. TrustMAPP helps security leaders create and communicate a strategic roadmap, build budgets and resource plans to guide their organizations’ security activities.

Browse These Topics


boost the confidence of board members boost the protection of your data bridge the gap in your information security challenges build a cyber safe firm business decisions around security CISO program efficacy CISO program management Cyber defense experts cyber security cyber security goals Cybersecurity management Cyber Security Mistakes cyber security platform effective cyber security software Effective Data Security Measures effectively communicate with board members regarding cyber issues or threats elevate your security confidence elevating information security house being robbed Identify Potential Security Weaknesses Implementing a Comprehensive Cyber Security Plan Implementing Strong Cyber Security Protocols Implementing strong security software protocols information security platform Information Security Programs information security protection agency information security risk management information security solutions Managing information security managing your information security effectively maturity of your information security and privacy programs measure security levels Proposing solutions to cyber threats proprietary software can help you to protect your company Protect Against Costly Security Breach Protect Customer Data risk assessment software risk management advisor risks of a data breach roadmap to better information security strong information security programs successful information security technology advancement top notch security software for your company vCISO