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Cyber Maturity Assessment: A How-To Guide

Cyber Maturity Assessment: A How-To Guide

As technology continues to evolve, an increasing number of companies and organizations are realizing the importance of understanding their cyber infrastructure's maturity level. A reliable way of assessing this is through a Cyber Maturity Assessment (CMA). CMA provides a robust and comprehensive view of your organization's cybersecurity posture, including the effectiveness of the cyber Incident response process.

A well-executed CMA lets you identify gaps in your cybersecurity fortifications, provide a means to prioritise investments, and a rallying focus for your cybersecurity team's efforts. However, conducting a CMA might seem daunting if you are doing it for the first time. This guide will break it down into manageable steps to help you navigate the process.

Defining Cyber Incident Response Process

Before we dive into the CMA, it is pertinent to comprehend what a 'cyber Incident response process' is, as this term will be frequently used in this guide. Essentially, a cyber Incident response process is a roadmap used by an IT team to handle and manage the aftermath of a security breach. It outlines the steps that should be taken to limit damage, reduce recovery time, and costs associated with data loss. Therefore, a comprehensive cyber Incident response process is instrumental in evaluating your cyber maturity.

Understanding the Layers of Cyber Maturity

Cyber maturity can be seen as having four comprehensive layers, all of which depend heavily on a robust cyber Incident response process. These levels include:

  1. Basic: This is the starting level where organizations have minimum cybersecurity measures (including predefined cyber Incident response processes) in place.
  2. Evolving: Organisations at this level have a set cybersecurity strategy, including some form of a cyber Incident response process, but that requires more development and implementation.
  3. Intermediate: At this stage, organizations have a well-defined and active Incident response process and can manage advanced cyber threats.
  4. Advanced: This is the ideal stage of cyber maturity, where the organization has a sophisticated cyber Incident response process, including automated response mechanisms, threat hunting capabilities, and strategic partnerships for threat intelligence.

Phases of Cyber Maturity Assessment

Performing a CMA typically involves three primary phases: Pre-Assessment, Assessment, and Post-Assessment. Here’s a deep dive into these phases.


The pre-assessment phase requires that you establish your criteria for scoring the maturity levels, including items like having a documented cyber Incident response process, type of security practices in place, the team’s cybersecurity awareness, etc. In addition, you should establish specifics of the assessment, like who will be involved, what documentation is needed, and when the assessment will take place.


In this phase, the real work of the CMA begins. This involves evaluating various components against predefined criteria. Among other things, the cyber Incident response process will be examined here in terms of how it aligns with industry's best practices, such as NIST's cybersecurity framework. Moreover, interviews are conducted as a part of this assessment process with different stakeholders to evaluate awareness about cybersecurity practices, including the cyber Incident response process.


In this phase, the analysis of the evidence collected during the assessment is done. Ultimately, it provides an overall organizational cyber maturity score and results, that are comprehensive yet detailed, sortable by department, and actionable. The outcome of the cyber Incident response process will play a key role in defining the overall cyber maturity score. Furthermore, based on the results, a high-level action plan, addressing critical needs like the improvement of cyber Incident response process if required, is created.

Tools for Cyber Maturity Assessment

Leveraging specialized CMA tools should be considered to streamline the process in a systematic, repeatable and scalable way. Here are a few tools that can facilitate this endeavor.

  1. NIST Cybersecurity Framework: It provides guidelines on managing and reducing cybersecurity risk, including the enhancement of the cyber Incident response process.
  2. C2M2 (DOE's Cyber Capability Maturity Model): It helps in determining the organization's cybersecurity capabilities and identifying areas needing improvement like the cyber Incident response process.
  3. FAIR (Factor Analysis of Information Risk): It quantifies information risk and cybersecurity risk, which aids in assessing an organization's cyber Incident response process's efficiency.

Incorporating Continuous Improvement

Cyber Maturity Assessment is not a one-time exercise but a continuous process. It’s crucial to reassess cyber maturity periodically to keep pace with the evolving cybersecurity landscape. Continuous improvements, especially in the cyber Incident response process, will empower your organization to stay ahead of cyber threats.

In conclusion, a well-organized Cyber Maturity Assessment reveals your cybersecurity strengths and weaknesses, helping in optimal allocation of resources. It also assists in making informed decisions on improvement areas like the cyber Incident response process. Remember, staying secure in the digital space is an ongoing process, and only through continuous assessment and adaptation can an organization truly achieve advanced cyber maturity.