Cybersecurity & Information Security Maturity Models

Adopting a cybersecurity maturity model

For security and risk managers, a cybersecurity maturity model can provide invaluable guidelines for mitigating risk throughout the organization and vendor ecosystem. Basing security practices on proven, well-known models, some tailored to specific industries or world regions, can help to mature programs more quickly, improve security posture, and mitigate third-party risk.

In an ideal cybersecurity maturity model, a variety of processes, tools, and people are all aligned and working together to successfully mitigate risk. Mature security programs have buy-in from the C-suite and the Board, and goals are understood by departments throughout the organization.

Every maturity model requires comprehensive cybersecurity visibility into the organization’s digital ecosystem and vendor network. As the world’s leading Security Ratings platform, Bitsight provides the visibility that can help organizations refine their security and risk programs to bring practices in line with their preferred cybersecurity maturity model.

The top cybersecurity maturity models

There are three primary frameworks that are considered the gold standard when it comes to cybersecurity maturity models.

NIST cybersecurity framework

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a cybersecurity maturity model that’s often used by U.S. organizations. In this model, establishing and communicating tolerance for risk are the keys to increasing security. The NIST framework accommodates a rapidly evolving threat landscape and advises security teams that adopt this model to adjust monitoring techniques and remediation strategies to match the ongoing threat environment.

ISO 27000

ISO 27000 is an international standard created by the Internal Standardization Organization (ISO) to outline best practices for information security management systems. This cybersecurity maturity model has more popularity in the European Union and focuses on people, processes, and technology as the three main areas of focus to mature your cybersecurity management program.

CIS 20

This cybersecurity maturity model, developed by the Center for Internet Security (CIS), is a series of 20 critical controls for protecting organizations’ network from cyberattacks. The CIS 20 model is designed to be all-encompassing and requires extreme attention to an organization’s cybersecurity management processes.

When followed, each of these frameworks can help to mature security programs, improve cyber hygiene, and mitigate risk throughout a digital ecosystem. Organizations can choose to follow a chosen cybersecurity maturity model based on common practices in their industry or among peers, or may be required to comply with a specific framework (like HIPAA or DORA). Each offers cyber security policy examples that can accelerate the work of security and risk teams as they work to build effective programs.

Understanding the differences: cybersecurity vs. information security maturity models

In the realm of security frameworks, distinguishing between cybersecurity and information security maturity models is crucial. While intertwined, these models present distinct strategies for bolstering an organization's defenses and safeguarding its assets.

Cybersecurity Maturity Model

Within this model, a comprehensive strategy is employed to combat cyber threats, encompassing technology, processes, and personnel both within and beyond the organizational boundaries.

Information Security Maturity Model

This model primarily focuses on preserving the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of sensitive information. It aligns meticulously with specific standards and regulatory compliance measures.

Understanding these nuanced differences is pivotal for organizations seeking alignment with requisite frameworks and standards essential for meeting operational and compliance needs. While both share common goals of enhancing security and mitigating risks, the cybersecurity maturity model typically has a broader scope (cited in the examples above), addressing various aspects of cyber defense, whereas the information security maturity model is more specific in managing information-related risks and compliance.

Improving cybersecurity maturity with Bitsight

Bitsight transforms how companies manage security and risk. The Bitsight Security Ratings platform provides a suite of solutions that help organizations understand the risk landscape, close security performance gaps, and bring programs in line with the cybersecurity maturity models they have adopted.

Security Ratings are at the heart of the Bitsight platform. Bitsight’s cybersecurity ratings provide a comprehensive, outside-in view of the company’s overall cybersecurity posture, as well as a granular view of security performance relating to key risk vectors. Bitsight Security Ratings range from 250 to 900, with higher ratings equating to a better overall security posture. Ratings are based on externally verifiable information drawn from 120+ sources concerning 23 key risk vectors. These fall into four major categories – evidence of compromised systems, diligence to security practices, risky user behavior, and public disclosure of breaches. By analyzing and weighing this data with a proprietary algorithm, Bitsight issues daily Security Ratings for over 540,000 organizations.

Bitsight ratings can help security maturity in multiple ways:

Continuous monitoring

Bitsight serves as a continuous monitoring solution, providing near-real-time insight into risk within an organization’s digital ecosystem and third-party network. This information can help security teams to identify and remediate the most critical risks and vulnerabilities more quickly.

Effective allocation of resources

By identifying the most severe areas of risk and highest concentrations of risk within an organization, Bitsight helps security teams to focus limited resources on remediating the greatest threats.

Data-driven conversations

Bitsight Security Ratings provide a common language for organizations to discuss security performance and risk management. Bitsight’s easy-to-understand reports enable those without a technical or cybersecurity background to understand the risk an organization faces, enabling more productive conversation and decision-making around risk and security programs.

Additional Bitsight solutions

Bitsight Security Ratings provide the intelligence for a suite of solutions that can help to improve security performance and mitigate third-party risk. Working with Bitsight solutions, security and risk teams can more effectively bring programs in line with a given cybersecurity maturity model.

Bitsight for Third-Party Risk Management

Bitsight exposes cyber risk within the supply chain by continuously measuring and monitoring the security performance of vendors. By helping to focus resources and providing insight that can be shared with vendors to work cohesively, Bitsight helps third-party risk managers achieve significant and measurable cyber risk reduction.

Bitsight for Security Performance Management

Bitsight helps manage the performance of cybersecurity programs through broad measurement, continuous monitoring, financial quantification of risk, and detailed planning and forecasting.

Bitsight Attack Surface Analytics

By delivering comprehensive visibility into the organization’s attack surface, Bitsight Attack Surface Analytics helps security teams get a handle on the risk hidden in digital assets in the cloud, geographies, subsidiaries, and the remote workforce.

Bitsight Security Ratings for Benchmarking

With Bitsight, organizations can perform a cyber security assessment to monitor their security posture, benchmark performance against industry peers, measure the impact of risk mitigation efforts, and report on security progress and results.

Why Bitsight?

The leading security rating service

Since its founding in 2011, Bitsight has become the most widely adopted security ratings platform in the world. Bitsight’s 2,100+ customers include many of the world’s largest organizations, including 25% of the Fortune 500 companies, 20% of the world’s countries, 4 of the top 5 investment banks, and all 4 of the Big 4 accounting firms.

Unprecedented visibility

Bitsight’s proprietary data set delivers insight into 23 risk vectors – twice as many as other security ratings organizations.

An engaged community

With the most robust community of cyber risk professionals interacting on our platform, Bitsight offers invaluable context that can increase confidence in interactions with third-party vendors.

Prioritization & context

Bitsight calculates importance of security data in a more diversified way to ensure the most critical assets are ranked with higher importance. Bitsight also gives customers an easy, visual way to prioritize and collaborate internally and with third parties to address the most significant areas of risk.

Get a personalized demo to find out how Bitsight can help you solve your most pressing security and risk challenges.