Threat Modeling 101: How Can It Help My Business?

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Cybersecurity threats are growing worldwide. A recent survey¹ by the Ponemon Institute found that 70% of organizations experienced a significant increase in security risk over the past year. Threat modeling is an effective way to fortify an enterprise’s security through the identification of potential threats, while at the same time, defining how your team will prevent or mitigate these threats.

Ransomware, malware, and crypto-jacking are all on the rise both in activity and in the minds of the customers. Highly publicized breaches such as the Timehop, UnderArmour, and Equifax hacks released confidential information to malicious actors, costing these organizations enormous amounts of time and resources, as well as eroding consumer confidence in their operations.

One study² estimates that the global cost of cybercrime will reach $6 trillion by 2021, double the 2015 numbers.

Threat Modeling Can Protect and Grow Your Business

Threat modeling is an operational method of identifying security issues in a system, network or application and addressing those threats before a security incident occurs. Identifying potential security problems and estimating the likelihood and severity of an event allows an issue to be resolved systematically before it ever becomes a problem.

Not only does threat modeling reduce system vulnerabilities and cybersecurity risks, but a systematic approach can also be used to prevent the duplication of security efforts during future assessments. It focuses the team on essential security processes and drives the adoption of reliable standards and security policies.

Threat modeling enables cross-functional security collaboration between software development and network security key stakeholders. This collaboration makes it easy to scale threat modeling initiatives across all applications, devices, and the full operational stack of your IT environment. Ultimately, organizations can improve their bottom line by bringing more applications to market with improved security.

While adopting a threat modeling procedure has clear benefits, here are a few things to avoid during implementation:

1. A Narrow Focus

A threat intelligence framework becomes less effective when focused on an application in isolation. It is critical to consider the infrastructure, environment, networked components, and internal and external points of access.

An application may have different vulnerabilities running on-premises than in the cloud; or when accessed on a mobile device as opposed to a desktop computer. All of these variables must be taken into account when building a comprehensive threat model.

2. A ‘One and Done’ Mentality

Threat modeling is not a single activity, but rather an ongoing endeavor that continues throughout the application lifecycle. It is essential that you assess an application for vulnerabilities at the design phase, but keep in mind that new weak points can appear during DevOps implementation or when changes occur to connected network applications or infrastructure.

3. Influence From Trends

Cyber threats can vary depending on the preferences of malicious actors, even by what is in the media at that time. For instance, ransomware was more prevalent in 2016, but skyrocketing cryptocurrency values increased the threat of crypto-jacking by 8500% in 2017, according to Symantec.³

While a particular type of threat may be most prevalent today, threat modeling methodologies must take into account all kinds of potential vulnerabilities.

When implemented correctly, threat modeling allows an organization to reduce the risk of cyber threats by identifying threats and proactively addressing them. Security issues can be eliminated in the design phase, before implementation, and prioritized based on the potential severity and likelihood of a security breach.

Creating a continuous threat modeling framework requires more than the implementation of a new policy or procedure – it represents a cultural shift in the way that your organization identifies and addresses cyber risks. However, threat modeling can provide an organization with significant benefits, helping to prevent potential issues before they become problems.

ThreatModeler is the industry’s leading security and cyber risk management solution for each part of the IT ecosystem. By helping businesses scale their threat-identification and defense systems, they can protect themselves from harmful and costly data breaches throughout the entire agile development process. ThreatModeler’s team of data and cybersecurity experts partner with CISOs, DevOps execs, and developers of applications to identify and test vulnerable entry points and optimize their company-wide security infrastructure.

To see how ThreatModeler can drive security throughout your enterprise with the industry’s leading automated threat modeling platform, sign up for a 10-day free evaluation.


¹ https://blog.barkly.com/2018-cybersecurity-statistics
² https://cybersecurityventures.com/hackerpocalypse-cybercrime-report-2016/
³ https://www.symantec.com/security-center/threat-report

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