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Manage Your Cyber Risk By Conducting a Cybersecurity Maturity Assessment

BY eSentire

June 13, 2022 | 7 MINS READ

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Given how cyberattacks have evolved in the past few years, no organization has the luxury of forgoing cyber risk management.

As a cybersecurity leader, you must understand the likelihood of a security incident occurring and how it will impact your organization. This knowledge can also dictate your overall risk tolerance and risk appetite so you can strengthen your security posture.

In October 2021, we created the eSentire Cybersecurity Maturity Assessment tool so you can measure the maturity, resiliency, and strength of your organization’s cybersecurity efforts. This self-assessment tool is modeled off the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework and incorporates four key Capability Groups (Identify, Detect, Protect, and Respond) so you can effectively manage and reduce cyber risk.

What is Cyber Risk Management?

The cyber risk management process is identifying risks, assessing them, and taking steps to reduce cyber risks. This includes evaluating the likelihood and possible impact of various types of attacks and designing strategies for responding quickly and effectively should an attack occur. Cyber risk management also involves educating users about potential threats and developing data security and privacy protection protocols.

Ultimately, the goal is to reduce the number of successful cyberattacks and limit their impact on individuals, organizations, and society. To maintains and strengthen your cybersecurity efforts, you should conduct annual cyber risk assessments.

What is a Cybersecurity Maturity Assessment?

Many information security leaders are challenged with assessing their organization’s risk profile and communicating it to the internal and external stakeholders. You must be able to understand your organization's current cybersecurity maturity, identify any gaps, and address those issues. In fact, being able to measure and quantify cyber risk is often a key requirement for many regulatory frameworks.

Therefore, we recommend conducting a cybersecurity maturity assessment, sometimes called a cyber risk assessment, to help you identify the core capabilities of your existing cybersecurity program and determine whether the program has any vulnerabilities through a gap analysis. Once you conduct the cyber risk assessment, your team receives a detailed report so you can create a roadmap to prioritize cyber risk reduction.

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What are the 5 Capability Maturity Levels?

Based on the Capability Maturity Model, the Capability Maturity Levels methodology is used by organizations to showcase how internal processes can be increasingly organized and become more mature.

In the context of a cybersecurity maturity assessment, you can use the Capability Maturity Levels to understand how your existing cybersecurity capabilities and security controls rank based on the 5 maturity levels: Initial, Repeatable, Defined, Managed, and Optimized.

Key Learnings from eSentire’s Cybersecurity Maturity Assessment Tool

Within the first 8 months of introducing our Cybersecurity Maturity Assessment tool, over 440 organizations across a wide range of industries (e.g., Healthcare, Finance, Manufacturing, Retail, etc.) have completed the assessment. Based on all the data aggregated, we have identified the top 5 strengths and top 5 weaknesses that organizations have within their cybersecurity programs.

Cybersecurity Capabilities: Top 5 Strengths

Our cyber risk assessment data shows that most organizations’ security programs are well-equipped to respond to cyber threats. Security teams have the processes, controls, and tools set in place to mitigate a cyberattack and incorporate key learnings from previous attempts. In addition, the data also shows that organizations somewhat prioritize threat detection and ensure key systems adhere to the policies and procedures.

Capability Group Capability Description
Improvements Respond Organizational response activities are improved by incorporating lessons learned from current and previous detection/response activities.
Mitigation Respond Activities are performed to prevent expansion of an event, mitigate its effects, and resolve the incident.
Detection Processes Detect Detection processes and procedures are maintained and tested to ensure awareness of anomalous events.
Maintenance Protect Maintenance and repairs of industrial control and information system components are performed consistent with policies and procedures.
Analysis Respond Analysis is conducted to ensure effective response and support recovery activities.

Cybersecurity Capabilities: Top 5 Weaknesses

Our cyber maturity assessment data shows that most organizations’ security programs need to improve their threat detection capabilities, specifically how well they can detect anomalous behavior and whether they have 24/7 security monitoring. In addition, security teams are challenged with protecting their information assets, understanding and quantifying their organization’s cyber risks, and ensuring that all on-premises and cloud assets are configured properly to avoid compromise.

Capability Group Capability Description
Anomalies and Events Detect Anomalous activity is detected and the potential impact of events is understood.
Protective Technology Protect Technical security solutions are managed to ensure the security and resilience of systems and assets, consistent with related policies, procedures, and agreements.
Risk Assessment Identify The organization understands the cybersecurity risks to organizational operations (including mission, functions, image, or reputation), organizational assets, and individuals.
Security Continuous Monitoring Detect The information system and assets are monitored to identify cybersecurity events and verify the effectiveness of protective measures.
Device Hardening Protect Configurations of physical or virtual devices either on a hardware or software (OS) layer that could potentially lead to a system compromise.

Recommendations to Reduce Cyber Risk

On a day-to-day basis, it’s likely that your in-house cybersecurity team is often focused on supporting the business and projects that drive revenue. It’s also likely that they don’t have the cybersecurity expertise or staffing coverage it takes to monitor cybersecurity threats 24/7. Therefore, we recommend adopting a cyber risk-based approach that includes:

Try the eSentire Cybersecurity Maturity Assessment Tool

If you’re not certain how well-equipped your organization is to identify, detect, protect, and respond to threats, take our free cyber risk assessment. It’ll take 5-7 minutes to complete and you’ll get a customized detailed report with your strengths & weaknesses, valuable insights to inform your security strategy, and an action plan with recommendations to mitigate your cyber risk. As a complimentary follow-up, consider booking a meeting with our expert solution architects to review your results of your cyber risk assessment.

Try the Cybersecurity Maturity Assessment tool here.

Cybersecurity is everyone's business—including C-level executives, managers, administrative assistants, and even part-time office staff. Unfortunately, you can put all the right traditional cybersecurity measures in place, but all it takes is one employee clicking on a phishing email.

Understanding your organization's cybersecurity maturity, knowing the gaps, and addressing those issues is critical. After all, taking proactive steps to mitigate cybersecurity risk can mean the difference between a data breach or business as usual.

Learn how eSentire can help you build a more responsive security operation that aligns your business objectives with your unique risk exposure. Connect with an eSentire cybersecurity expert today.


eSentire, Inc., the Authority in Managed Detection and Response (MDR), protects the critical data and applications of 2000+ organizations in 80+ countries, across 35 industries from known and unknown cyber threats by providing Exposure Management, Managed Detection and Response and Incident Response services designed to build an organization’s cyber resilience & prevent business disruption. Founded in 2001, eSentire protects the world’s most targeted organizations with 65% of its global base recognized as critical infrastructure, vital to economic health and stability. By combining open XDR platform technology, 24/7 threat hunting, and proven security operations leadership, eSentire's award-winning MDR services and team of experts help organizations anticipate, withstand and recover from cyberattacks. For more information, visit: www.esentire.com and follow @eSentire.

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