What Is Threat Modeling?

Threat modeling is a proactive approach to identify the entry points on your attack surface, enumerate threats and implement security controls. The intended goals is to prevent security breaches from top to bottom in applications and underlying infrastructure.

Threat models allow organizations to inventory data assets, identify threats (from the attacker's point of view), and define mitigation steps to protect valuable assets. Threat modeling enables DevOps to implement a defense strategy that prioritizes resources and prepares for the appropriate remediations. Threat models provide a comprehensive view of the organization’s full attack surface, helping CISOs, security personnel and developers to collaborate in decision making to prioritize security actions.

What Are the Benefits of Threat Modeling?

When developers design a new application, rather than have your development team identify and fix security issues later in the development life cycle (such as in the testing and scanning phases) organizations should apply the best, most cost-effective approach  by using threat modeling software to identify potential security threats up front during the design phase. This approach can result in significant savings on time-cost efforts.

A comprehensive enterprise threat modeling process enables an organization to gain a full understanding of its attack surface. Armed with this information, CISOs and other C-Suite colleagues can stay on top of new and emerging threats based on technology decisions, while prioritizing security initiatives, and minimizing the organization’s exposure to new and emerging threats.

Cyberattacks today are becoming increasingly sophisticated, particularly when driven by profit-oriented cybercriminals and crime syndicates whose focus is shifting from individuals to enterprises. Trend Micro CISO Ed Cabrera notes that the sophistication and covertness of cybercriminal methods have reached levels normally only attributed to state-sponsored actors.[1] By implementing automated threat modeling such as with our platform, security teams can see how many threats are at play automatically as new technology - also referred to as drift -  ensuring DevOps takes the proper mitigation steps before new applications or updates move into production.

Learn More: Threat Modeling 101: How Can It Help My Business?

5 Reasons Enterprises Should Consider a Mature Threat Modeling Approach
  1. Empower your security and development teams to identify high-level threats or areas where data can be exposed early on, in the development phase - before they become a bigger problem.
  2. Enforce enterprise-wide security standards by actively disseminating and promoting the use of code with security built in.
  3. Focus penetration testing on the most critical entry points in applications, informed by the analysis and reporting of ThreatModeler.
  4. Easily create reports and checklists that ensure proper security controls are in place and meet objectives for compliance.
  5. Classify application threats by risk level and generate a prediction of the technical and business impact a successful attack could have.

What Challenges Come Along With Threat Modeling?

The biggest challenge people face when they begin threat modeling is understanding why they need to do it.

Because traditional threat modeling methodologies are relatively resource-intensive and time-consuming, companies often limit their scope to a single, isolated application. Although fewer threat models may seem less daunting, companies who limit themselves to just four or five threat models cannot develop a comprehensive understanding of their attack surface, which is the ultimate reason that the security team and CISO should invest in automated threat modeling in the first place.

Under the tight deadlines required in the fast-paced world of DevOps, threat modeling can be used to identify threats as applications are being created to produce a secure product. But a process with limited scope fails to provide the CISO with valuable information about the organization’s overall threat level or effectiveness of current security controls.

Reducing the attack surface should always be the goal, and threat modeling for a single application does not provide a big-picture view of security or enable the CISO to justify new budget requests that prioritize activities.

New threats to the attack surface are constantly introduced; threat modeling is the best way for organizations to be prepared to defend against them. Traditional processes, however, are too slow and resource-intensive to be used effectively in today’s fast-paced agile and DevOps environments.

ThreatModeler™ is the industry’s first automated threat modeling software that enables collaboration, integration and scalable threat modeling. As the most sophisticated threat modeling solution, for the past decade ThreatModeler has innovated in close partnership with committee specialists from leading organizations, fielding and fulfilling requests that embolden businesses to protect against damaging and costly data breaches through threat modeling at scale. ThreatModeler is trusted by a growing number of Fortune 1000 CISOs and security executives.

Learn how threat modeling can scale your company’s security and identify security threats early on in the software development life cycle (SDLC). Complete the form to schedule a live demo with a threat modeling expert today.

[1] Violino, Bob. “Ransomware, Email Scams Causing Cyber Threats to Soar.” Health Data Management. SourceMedia LLC: New York. March 9, 2017.

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