Everyone who is familiar with threat modeling knows that threat modeling is used to model threats in software applications. And if that’s all threat modeling did, it would still be really useful. But threat modeling can do something just as important. It can tell you where you should and shouldn’t spend your cybersecurity budget.
The reality is, that no organization has an infinite security budget. And no matter how much you know about cybersecurity threats to your organization, you will still have to make business trade-offs because you just can’t afford to get to “zero threats forever”. As things turn out, when threat modeling is done right, it can help you maximize your cybersecurity budget.
How to Maximize Your Cybersecurity Budget
At its simplest, cybersecurity is a two-step process: identify the threats and then mitigate them. The best way to identify the threats is to think like an attacker. To Forbes, “In order to use their budgets as best as possible, companies need to understand what inside their networks and data is most attractive and vulnerable to attackers.”
This idea of thinking like an attacker and identifying the assets most likely to be attacked is part of the threat modeling process. It is also a critical piece of the solution to maximizing your cybersecurity budget. Identifying these prime assets is the filter through which you will make all your cybersecurity investment decisions. It is simply not possible to make informed security investment decisions without being able to prioritize which assets need protection first.
With Threat Modeling
While threat modeling tools are excellent at identifying threats and their mitigations, they are not very good at prioritizing those mitigations (from a cybersecurity investment standpoint) in a vacuum. The truth is you cannot prioritize threats just by identifying them. And that’s why the exercise above is an essential part of the threat modeling process.
Threat modeling must include both identifying threats and prioritizing assets. It is the alignment of prioritized vulnerable assets and vulnerabilities uncovered by threat modeling tools that helps identify which threats need to be mitigated first and which can be moved further down the list.
For example, imagine a vulnerability uncovered by threat modeling that is associated with a digital asset that has zero interest for an attacker. While you will want to mitigate that vulnerability eventually, it’s not a priority. Therefore it may not be part of your cybersecurity budget right now.
On the other hand, imagine a digital asset that is extremely valuable to a hacker, but your threat modeling tool uncovered that there are no vulnerabilities (at present). That knowledge will also keep you from needlessly spending additional cybersecurity budget while providing no additional benefit.
The Perfect Combination
When it comes to maximizing your cybersecurity budget, the perfect combination is a good threat modeling tool and a threat modeling process that identifies key assets. Identifying key assets requires collaboration with multiple stakeholders, especially C-level executives. That is the management level that really has a grasp on what data mean the most to the organization (any thereby an attacker).
Once you put that process in place, you’ll need a thorough threat modeling tool. And if you’re not sure where to turn, we suggest you look into ThreatModeler.