Jan 30 2024

What Is a Rapid Maturity Assessment and Why Is It Useful in Zero Trust?

No matter where businesses are in their zero-trust journey, a rapid maturity assessment can help them take security to the next level.

Bolstering a company’s cybersecurity can cost a pretty penny. But it can mean pennies on the dollar compared with the cost of a breach. According to IBM, the global average cost of a data breach in 2023 was nearly $4.5 million, a 15 percent increase over three years. To combat these threats,  51 percent of organizations plan to increase their security investments and run regular maintenance evaluations to catch vulnerabilities before they escalate.

That’s where security maturity assessments come into play. For the nearly 90 percent of global organizations that have started embracing zero trust security, a rapid maturity assessment in particular can be a great place to start.

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What Is a Rapid Maturity Assessment?

There’s a difference between a cybersecurity audit and a cybersecurity assessment. An audit will provide a compliance snapshot, especially as security regulations continue to evolve, while an assessment focuses on the maturity of a cybersecurity model.

In other words, while an audit will gauge whether everything is up to par legally, a maturity assessment will help provide a 360-degree view of a company's cyber-vulnerabilities. In addition to helping teams understand their company’s present cybersecurity roadmap, a maturity assessment also provides guidance on remediating incidents based on the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)’s industry-standard cybersecurity frameworks.

Source: IBM, Cost of a Data Breach Report, 2023

Achieving your zero-trust goals takes time, but a rapid maturity assessment is fast and comprehensive. In fact, 93 percent of organizations adopting zero trust found the benefits matched or exceeded their expectations, according to CDW. Since maturity assessments identify security gaps and make actionable recommendations on how to close them, a rapid assessment empowers companies to actively bolster their cybersecurity sooner to avoid more data losses and cyber-risks overall.

RELATED: Get started with a rapid maturity assessment.

What Does A Rapid Maturity Assessment Entail?

Zero trust is an incremental process, and as organizations progress, expert assessments can be an extremely useful tool to evaluate security issues and work toward solutions. CDW’s rapid zero-trust maturity assessment measures an organization’s IT environment against CISA’s Zero Trust Maturity Model.

This model includes five core pillars:

IDENTITY, including multifactor authentication, identity lifecycle management, visibility into user behavior analytics, identity and credential administration, and risk assessment

DEVICE, including configuration management, real-time threat analysis, asset tracking and patching

NETWORK/ENVIRONMENT, including macrosegmentation and microsegmentation, protocol encryption, machine learning–based threat protection, and Infrastructure as Code automation

APPLICATION WORKLOAD, such as continuous access authorization, application security testing, and dynamic application health and security monitoring

DATA, including classification, least-privilege access controls, end-to-end encryption, access logging, and immutable data backup and restore optionsc

The assessment also offers a four-week workshop with CDW experts to help teams design their zero-trust strategy and prioritize cybersecurity projects. Part of this roadmap includes direction on how to start tackling issues with IT resources on hand so that companies can make immediate progress.

UP NEXT: Establish a zero-trust approach that supports security and governance.

How Does a Rapid Maturity Assessment Facilitate Zero Trust?

Three out of every 4 breaches involve human error, as noted in Verizon’s 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report. This is part of why zero trust, which requires users and devices to prove their identities before accessing a network, is so essential.

These assessments can also catch vulnerabilities that IT leaders may miss. In fact, per PwC, “More than 40% of leaders said they do not understand the cyber-risks posed by emerging technologies, like virtual environment tools, generative AI, enterprise blockchain, quantum computing, and virtual reality/augmented reality.”

This, combined with the fact that many organizations are early in their zero trust adoption, makes rapid maturity assessments incredibly useful. A maturity assessment framework can demystify the complexity of zero trust and enable organizations to evaluate their zero-trust maturity, from identity to endpoint, network and infrastructure.   

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