How to Use a Cybersecurity Maturity Model

Effectively communicating the progress of your cyber security strategy can go a long way in improving the confidence of leaders and team members. However, it’s a challenging metric to measure, especially if no one is really confident in what “progress” actually means. Is it the number of remediations made? Is it enrolling more employees in training? Is our definition of progress comparable to other organizations in our industry? 

Using a maturity model can help teams measure how their cyber security programs have changed over time in a standardized way. In its simplest form, a maturity model is a set of characteristics, attributes, indicators, or patterns that represent progression and achievement in a particular domain or discipline.  

There are several cyber maturity frameworks available such as the CMMC (Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification) which is required for US federal contractors, the C2M2 (Cybersecurity Capability Maturity Model) for the energy sector, and the CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration)


We’ve already talked about the former frameworks, so let’s dive in on the CMMI.


The Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)

The CMMI maturity levels represent a staged path for an organization’s performance and process improvement efforts based on a predefined set of practice areas. The ultimate goal is to improve your program up to Maturity Level 5, which is the highest level that this maturity model defines. 

Here’s a quick snapshot of what each level means: 


The 6 CMMI maturity levels: 


Maturity Level 0: Incomplete 

Ad hoc and unknown. Work may or may not get completed. 


Maturity Level 1: Initial 

Unpredictable and reactive. Work gets completed but is often delayed and over budget. 


Maturity Level 2: Managed 

Managed on the project level. Projects are planned, performed, measured, and controlled. 


Maturity Level 3: Defined 

Proactive, rather than reactive. Organization-wide standards provide guidance across projects, programs, and portfolios. 


Maturity Level 4: Quantitatively Managed 

Measured and controlled. The organization is data-driven with quantitative performance improvement objectives that are predictable and align to meet the needs of internal and external stakeholders. 


Maturity Level 5: Optimizing 

Stable and flexible. The organization is focused on continuous improvement and is built to pivot and respond to opportunity and change. The organization’s stability provides a platform for agility and innovation. 



The Value of Combining NIST-CSF and CMMI

NIST-CSF is one of the most commonly used frameworks across critical infrastructure. It can be adapted for use across different industries. However, it does not currently have a scoring system for maturity, leaving leaders guessing where they really stand. 

By combining the CMMI with the NIST-CSF framework, organizations can determine the maturity level of all 108 CSF controls with an assessment. 

For organizations interested in using the NIST-CSF framework for maturity instead of compliance measurement, has built an easy-to-use module that reveals your organization’s overall CMMI maturity level with the ability to break down the maturity scores by all 23 NIST-CSF categories.  

cmmi maturity by nist-csf domain

Improve the cyber security and maturity of your existing organizational standards, policies, processes, and procedures by understanding where improvements should be made.  


Ready to Get Started?

Improve your OT/ICS cyber security maturity with the SecurityGate platform. Plan, document, and showcase improvement in one secure location. Check out how SecurityGate improves workflows at every level of cyber maturity.


Gabriela Martinez

Gabriela is the Digital Marketing Manager at As an experienced marketer in the technology industry, Gabriela helps connect organizations with solutions to keep their critical infrastructure secure. She was named Cybersecurity Marketer of the Year by the Cybersecurity Excellence Awards in 2022.

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