Here at ThreatModeler HQ, we’ve had conversations with customers recently, each telling a similar story. Business owners are signing exceptions to launch products without conducting a complete risk analysis. The reason? Project leaders invested time in manual threat modeling, which resulted in cost-prohibitive product launch delays.

ThreatModeler is an industry-leading platform that has automated the threat modeling process, enabling architecture security teams to save time devoted to the security risk analysis process. In this article, we will discuss threat modeling as it pertains to cybersecurity, risk analysis and risk assessments. We will explore the benefits of automated threat modeling and how ThreatModeler can help your organization to conduct a more holistic, cost-effective risk analysis.

Overview of the Risk Analysis Process

Risk analysis is often a part of conducting a risk assessment. Through a risk assessment, stakeholders and security teams identify potential threats or vulnerabilities, that can cause detriment to the IT environment and/or data assets. A risk assessment will help security teams to identify operational risks, areas for safety performance improvement and opportunities for enhancements.

Taking the results of a risk analysis, an organization makes decisions on the level of risk they are willing to tolerate, taking into consideration influencing factors. Risk analysis should be done on a regular basis. Since ThreatModeler stays current with threats identified by AWS, Azure, OWASP, WASC and CAPEC, the platform can provide valuable information to inform qualitative and quantitative risk analysis.

ThreatModeler enables you to map out components for web, mobile, IoT embedded applications, networks and infrastructure, including communications protocol. By visualizing IT architecture, ThreatModeler can automatically detect attack trees and patterns, notifying security teams of threat behaviors.

Evolving Threat Landscape Calls For Continuous Threat Modeling

Cyberattacks are becoming more threatening as cybercriminals use increasingly complex, sophisticated methods to compromise computing networks. These bad actors are becoming more organized, not only acting solo, but also forming cybercrime syndicates that harness social engineering with technical capabilities that lead to persistent, harmful cybercrime campaigns. From Target, to Equifax to Facebook – entities in all the major sectors have suffered a data breach.

The threat landscape continues to evolve, introducing new areas of risk on an attack surface. Therefore, it is important to bring in a continuous threat modeling platform. Through automation, new and existing threat models will maintain the most up-to-date information. By keeping an up-to-date risk profile, an organization can conduct adequate risk analysis and improve their overall risk strategy.

Beginning a Risk Assessment

The first thing to do in assessing the risk your organization faces is taking an information asset inventory. Beginning with the most critical first, identify each asset that can be affected. Examples include:

  • Hardware
  • Systems
  • Sensitive data
  • Intellectual and proprietary data

Security teams will work their way down in creating the information asset list and prioritize threats. In the next section, we look at how to determine the impact and probability of risk, and how to address it.

Impact and Probability Matrix Will Help to Establish Acceptable Risk

An organization can use an impact and probability matrix to identify threats and vulnerabilities that contribute to risk. The matrix, oftentimes split into a 5 x 5 grid, allows users to rate potential risk based on its probability – the likelihood that the event will occur. Your enterprise can determine the likelihood of risk by looking at historic events, present factors and emerging trends.

The impact measures the severity of an event, such as a data breach. Assessing the impact includes reviewing the consequences of a data breach event occurring, such as:

  • System downtime
  • Financial Loss
  • Reputational Damage

An Organization Will Settle for a Risk Appetite With Which it is Comfortable

According to the ISO 37001 risk management standard, risk appetite is “The amount and type of risk that an organization is prepared to pursue, retain or take.” Risk analysis will steer decision-making regarding your organization’s acceptable risk appetite. Within the SDLC, security teams will determine an acceptable level of risk that is allowable in order for an organization to benefit, say, from innovation.

ThreatModeler enables you to determine the acceptable level of risk by providing a deep understanding of your IT ecosystem’s attack surface, including the total number of threats your organization faces. ThreatModeler also features in-depth reporting on identified threats, security requirements, test cases, components and data exposure (of application or system being threat modeled). This type of reporting enables security and operations to conduct data-driven risk analysis of the organization’s threat landscape.

We will only touch on it in this article, but CISOs and security teams will next work on risk management. An organization can manage risk in one of five ways: accept, avoid, transfer or mitigate the risk. Mitigation will be the best route for the most valuable information assets, or data that is most vulnerable to threats that would be of substantial detriment to an organization. Security teams will implement security requirements to prevent security threats.

ThreatModeler Uses the VAST Methodology to Address Threats

There are a number of threat modeling approaches, but ThreatModeler uses the Visual, Agile and Simple Threat (VAST) Modeling approach. VAST was created to provide the most features to users and address shortcomings of other approaches. ThreatModeler, for example, integrates better within a DevSecOps environment than other methodologies. Users can scale across thousands of models, building upon existing ThreatModeler Libraries. VAST threat modeling also encourages collaboration among stakeholders and authorized groups.

Threat modeling can also provide data to validate security controls. ThreatModeler provides users with full visibility of all of an organization’s applications and deployment environments – on-premise or on the cloud. Security teams can ask, are the controls implemented to reduce risk adequate? Integrations with SDLC issue tracking software such as Jira empower ThreatModeler users to clearly identify threats, and track the process of threat mitigation.

ThreatModeler Helps Organizations to Analyze Risk Within the Entire IT Landscape

When it comes to allocating resources for risk management, an enterprise should not cut corners on risk analysis. Compared with manual threat modeling, ThreatModeler automation can yield organizations 88% in time-cost savings. Therefore, product releases don’t need to slow down for the threat modeling process.

ThreatModeler will help organizations to ensure that they produce security outcomes that are consistent and valid. Organizations can analyze and evaluate information security risks, and calculate a risk-cost outcome that they are comfortable with. This will inform your risk mitigation strategy, which ensures that all important data assets considered crucial to continuity – are protected. To learn more about how ThreatModeler™ can help your organization build a scalable threat modeling process, book a demo to speak to a ThreatModeler expert today.