The Global Cyber Security Center has developed a tool named CERTrating to evaluate the Maturity Level of CERTs and services provided to the Constituency
Cyber-attacks that have occurred in recent years have fully confirmed that Cybersecurity is an increasingly complex challenge that represents a priority for all companies both in terms of development and investments.
In this complex context, CERTs certainly play a central role in
companies security perimeter but even more in National Scenarios. Computer and
Emergency Response Teams are one of the main protagonists and one of the first
defense line of cybersecurity,
identifying, preventing, responding, resolving and struggling any type of IT
incident in order to protect corporate and national interests.
For these reasons the Global Cyber Security Center, a not-for-profit foundation of Poste Italiane, according to its mission of developing and disseminating knowledge and awareness on Cyber Security, has developed a Tool, CERTrating, to evaluate the Maturity Level of CERTs and services provided to the Constituency to better face today’s complex “cyber–scenarios”.
The idea to develop a Tool that can help CERTs/CSIRTs was thought to
deal with a need to understand how mature companies are in delivering CERT’s
CERTrating is based on a capability maturity model designed by ENISA for
CERTs that represents one of the methods to understand how and where
investments must be directed and how much effort should be made in terms of
time and resources to become more resilient.
The Capability Maturity Model (CMM) was conceived and initially
introduced by Watts Humphrey “father
of software quality”, in the days when he worked at IBM for the American
Ministry of Defense. The model is mainly used to evaluate maturity process in
companies, from the technology used to organization management, staffs and
training. This model makes it possible to classify, identify and plan improvement
actions to be applied in specific areas and improve the maturity level of the
system for which the model is implemented.
ENISA has decided to apply this model to CSIRT / CERT in order to assess
CERTrating was developed according to the Capability Maturity Model
defined by ENISA (according to SIM3 approach), which is based on a specific
classification in three main levels: Basic, Intermediate or Advanced.
As highlighted by the European Agency this three-tier Maturity Level approach, is recognized both by ENISA and by TF-CSIRT/Trusted Introducer, the European cooperation body of all types of CSIRTs. It is possible to tie that in to the SIM3 maturity model by introducing, again, three levels of increasing maturity. [For the sake of this report] these levels have been labelled basic, intermediate and advanced – the latter, most mature, level connecting with the existing CSIRT Certification scheme in Europe. It is important to note that no exact 1:1 mapping between these three levels and the older schemes is proposed here – but rather a unified, sustainable approach meant to serve especially the “CSIRT Network” required by the NISD.
CERTrating follows the SIM3 maturity model, built on three fundamental
and basic elements Maturity Parameters, Maturity Quadrants and Maturity Levels.
Parameters are the quantities that are measured regarding the maturity of the
44 answers provided to the self-assessment survey. Each Parameter belongs to
one of the 4 Quadrants: (O)Organization, (H)Human, (T)Tools, (P)Processes.
To measure the Maturity Level of each question in all of the Quadrants,
CERTrating use the original SIM3 capability maturity model and let users to
answer to questions with an increasing maturity level progression (from 0 to
- 0 = not available / undefined / unaware
- 1 = implicit (known/considered but not written down, “between the ears”)
- 2 = explicit, internal (written down but not formalised in any way)
- 3 = explicit, formalised on authority of CERT/CSIRT head (rubberstamped or published)
- 4 = explicit, audited on authority of governance levels above the CERT/CSIRT head (subject to control process/audit/enforcement)
One of the differences between CERTrating and ENISA’s survey is that the
new platform provides a self-assessment, faithful to ENISA’s SIM3 model, that
could be applied both for the entire CERT and its services.
In particular the 14 CERT Services (also defined by ENISA) have their
own dedicated surveys based on the model and metrics of the Capability Maturity
Model and customized for each service. After answering CERT and services’
self-assessment, the CERTrating could offer the “applied maturity” of the CERT. The “applied maturity” is different from ENISA maturity because it
considers both the maturity of each individual service and the role played by
each of them for the achievement of Constituency’s goals.
The platform is completely customizable by the User. CERTrating offers the
possibility of typing the name of your CERT and Company, its logo, selecting
services provided by the CERT assigning a relative weigh. You could also modify
at any time the completed surveys to constantly update your Maturity level.
CERTrating includes a dashboard and specific reports for Top Management that
provide a view of the CERT and its services maturity level once you have
completing the dedicated surveys. The reporting section offers a graphical view
of maturity level of the CERT and its services, the maturity trend over time,
the history of all the assessments made for the CERT and its services, the
average obtained by the CERT compared to others Italian CERTs.
In addition, CERTrating offers advices and actions that have to be taken
for your CERT and services to reach the level of maturity immediately following
yours and the level of Optimal maturity.
According to ENISA, “by adopting the proposed approach, the [CERT] CSIRT Network will have immediate access to a clearly laid out CSIRT maturity improvement process, that is both implementable and sustainable. A growth path is suggested that reaches basic level within one year, intermediate two years later and advanced another two years later: a total of five years maximum. Basic level already allows a minimum of successful co- operation between teams on incident handling, the higher levels are needed to allow the members of the CSIRT network to interact on all levels, including pro-actively…”
The tool is going to be available in a short time. In the meanwhile,
readers could get more information on CERTrating sites:
GCSEC is grateful to Cyber Affairs for sharing this article and broadening the target audience, hoping that the use of CERTrating can help National and Private organizations to reduce the asymmetrical conflict that is struggled every day in cybersecurity against cybercriminals.
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