Getting Started with Threat Modeling: How to Identify Your Mitigation Strategy

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As sensitive or critical data becomes more valuable and prone to theft or hacks, enterprise cybersecurity protocols such as threat modeling as part of a mitigation strategy become more critical. Even the world’s premier technology companies like Facebook are subject to devastating security breaches. One recent hack resulted in personal information being stolen from millions of users.

Threat modeling, the process of identifying, predicting, and defining enterprise level threats, enables IT teams to make proactive rather than reactive security decisions to build in the necessary protections for their data early in the development process.

Building a comprehensive threat library is the first step to implementing a risk mitigation strategy and is essential for recognizing where your organization may be vulnerable to attacks. The next step is to identify your mitigation strategy.

Why A Mitigation Strategy Important

A mitigation strategy provides your IT team with actionable steps that help avoid the threats that have been identified while you compile your threat library. Developing and implementing an effective mitigation strategy is an indicator of proactive versus reactive enterprise-level security standards. Always keep in mind the opportunity cost of not implementing mitigation protocols when evaluating business and technical costs associated with the mitigation task.

A company-wide mitigation strategy can help prevent hacks or security breaches which are often not only financially costly to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, but also erode your brand and customer trust.

Learn More: Threat Modeling Software: Identifying Threats Earlier in the SDLC

It’s important that your mitigation strategies are implemented as new features and applications are built. By implementing a mitigation strategy as the foundation of your development process, you can avoid the initial monetary downside of the breach itself entirely, and prevent the redevelopment of the application. Having to address data or security breaches in the later stages of development can be a costly internal undertaking that takes developers away from working on new features and functionality.

It’s reported that a security breach of 77 million Sony gamer accounts resulted in nearly 12 million unencrypted credit card numbers being stolen. The hackers also access first and last names, addresses, emails, passwords, purchasing history and more. It’s estimated Sony lost $171 million dollars in revenue due to this breach and they were later forced to pay $15 million as a settlement in a large class action suit.

Mitigation Strategy for Threat Modeling

In preparation for developing a threat modeling mitigation strategy, the company’s CISO and Infosec team should create a threat library by preparing an exhaustive list of both internal and external threats to their enterprise applications.

Next, assign priority to each item within the threat library. This helps your organization to address the most high-risk areas for the best use of limited resources and the best return on investment.

For example, if you’re storing personally identifiable customer data from a user authentication application for your online business, developers should leverage threat modeling software to build and maintain that database prepared for breach attempts.

Learn more: 4 Threat Modeling Software Features That Benefit Key Stakeholders

Once the security team identifies the threat, they can refer their development teams to secure coding standards outlined by the Open Web Application Security Project, or OWASP.

Maintaining these standards can translate into developer deliverables, such as:

  • Code review and audit
  • Application testing
  • Secure development guidelines and code snippets
  • Following config best practices
  • Compliance activities

Risk treatment and management is a key component of threat modeling. In order to execute the maintenance planning phase of the systems development life cycle according to plan, be proactive in developing your mitigation strategy: identify actionable items for your IT and development teams to deliver, avoid security breaches and attacks, and develop future features and applications that benefit your organization with confidence.

ThreatModeler is an automated threat modeling solution that strengthens an enterprise’s SDLC by identifying, predicting and defining threats across all applications and devices in the operational IT stack. Security and DevOps teams are empowered to make proactive decisions from holistic views and data analytics of their attack surface, enabling enterprises to minimize their overall risk.

To learn more about how your organization can identify security threats during the SDLC for faster, smarter, more secure application production, request a free evaluation of the ThreatModeler platform or contact us to speak with an application threat modeling expert today.

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