The attention raised by cloud computing has given birth to DevSecOps, which is a development methodology where collaboration and automation between development and operations teams are necessary. With applications leveraging more and more cloud infrastructure, DevSecOps needed to adapt to embrace infrastructure provisioning and management. Here comes Infrastructure as Code (IaC).

The IaC began the age of infrastructure management in clouds, whereby such configurations can be coded, thus allowing automation, consistency, and repeatability—features that expedite deployment and allow more agility in development.

Meanwhile, though, the very speed and automation that make IaC so attractive, can also culminate in open attack surfaces if the proper security measures are not applied.

This illustrates the effectiveness of threat modeling and automated threat assessment in the early phases of development. It is possible to build a strong cloud environment by outlining misconfigurations that could lead to security incidents that may exist in the IaC in advance.

Understanding the relevance of threat modeling to IaC security

Post-deployment security assessments, as their name implies, usually follow deployment; however, this method is reactive and can leave and lead to costly remediations, alongside with a large number of findings, which take time to reason. These tools are important, however, with a proactive approach of threat modeling, one can not only implement security guardrails, but also reason with outputs generated by SAST/ DAST tools.

The rationale for why IaC is relevant in IaC security is as follows:

  • Early Detection: Threat modeling, implemented in the early stages of detection, can help in finding vulnerabilities even before they turn into exploited weaknesses in your cloud environment.
  • Reduced Risk: Risk mitigation is also one of the benefits for addressing potential security issues ahead; you eliminate risks and chances of breaches and misconfigurations.
  • Efficiency Enhancement: Early threat discovery saves a lot of time and scarce resources that would otherwise be consumed for security problem handling after the implementation of the applications and services.
  • Compliance Optimization: Threat modeling enables your IaC configurations to comply with any specific security standards applied in your environment.

How can automated threat assessment help curtail the flow of inappropriate or harmful content?

On this note, although it can be highly recommended, the synergy between manual threat modeling and automated tools elevates the IaC security a notch higher. These tools detect various vulnerabilities in your IaC code, wrong configurations, and some suspicious patterns.

  • Scalability: Automated tools enable efficient analyses of large volumes of IaC code, thus ideal for complex cloud environments.
  • Speed: Automated assessments provide near-instantaneous feedback, significantly speeding up the security review process.
  • Consistency: Automated tools ensure that the same security checks are carried out on all the IaC code, eliminating the chances of human error.
  • Improved Developer Experience: Automated assessments give immediate feedback to developers on potential security issues that they can work out within their workflow.

Streamlining Security with DevSecOps Integration

It is now quite an acronym for many organizations to bring their security efforts together with both their development and operational teams.

The combination of threat modeling and automated threat assessment proves to be very efficient in cases where these processes are integrated into the DevSecOps pipeline. This allows security to be part of the whole development life cycle rather than being an incidental component after the fact.

  • Shift Left Security: Incorporation of security into development is a critical consideration not only at the deployment stage but from the beginning.
  • Speedier Feedback Loops: Automated tools facilitate immediate feedback on security vulnerabilities and hence dealing with them in a timely manner within the CI/CD pipeline.
  • Improved Collaboration: The collaboration is more pronounced with DevSecOps, where developers, security professionals, and infrastructure teams work together, hence promoting a more secure development process.


As we have previously learned, threat modeling in IaC is a requirement towards securing your cloud environment. Let’s check the following key steps on threat modeling for IaC:

  • Scope and Assets Definition: Define the assets you want to protect, for example, systems, networks, data, or services managed by IaC.
  • Creating Infrastructure Diagram: Represent how all these assets are connected and what current security controls are in place.
  • Identifying Threats: Understand potential adversaries and attack vectors that can exploit vulnerabilities within your IaC code configuration.
  • Assessment of Risks: Assign ratings of the level and impact of each threat and use them for developing plans of control to reduce the risk of the threat.
  • Risk Mitigation: Develop strategies for countermeasures like encryption, authentication, monitoring, etc., to deal with the identified threats.
  • Regular Review: Regularly review your IaC configurations and threat models to ensure that they remain effective as security threats and best practices evolve continually.

Best Tools for IaC Security

When it comes to securing your Infrastructure as Code, there are quite a few tools you can use in this regard. In this brief review, we will take a look at some of the popular ones currently available for fortifying your IaC. The list of popular options in this area is quite extensive, covering several threat modeling frameworks and some automation of IaC scanning tools.

Threat Modeling Frameworks:

STRIDE: This mnemonic will help you identify threats based on spoofing, tampering, repudiation, information disclosure, denial-of-service, and elevation of privilege.

PASTA: This framework focuses on performing analyses on threats based on the process of attack simulation and threat analysis.
VAST: VAST Threat Modeling is a unique and advanced approach to cybersecurity, specifically designed to address the complexities of large-scale enterprise systems. It stands for Visual, Agile, Simple Threat modeling, and is the only methodology that offers scalability across an entire organization. Vast Threat Modeling encapsulates the entire Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), leveraging three key pillars: automation, integration, and collaboration. This makes it an effective tool for identifying, evaluating, and prioritizing potential threats, thus enhancing overall enterprise security.


This dedicated threat modeling platform offers a user-friendly interface and integrates seamlessly with DevSecOps pipelines. ThreatModeler’s intuitive drag-and-drop functionality makes it easy to visualize your IaC architecture and identify potential vulnerabilities. Additionally, ThreatModeler integrates with popular IaC tools like Terraform and AWS CloudFormation, allowing you to directly import your code for threat modeling.

Automated IaC Scanning Tools:

  • Terraform Inspector: This is an open-source tool that specifically checks for misconfigurations and potential security vulnerabilities in your Terraform code.
  • CloudFormation Linter: This tool checks the templates of AWS CloudFormation for similar vulnerabilities.
  • Checkov: This is a general-purpose open-source tool that supports IaC scanning across many platforms, including Terraform, CloudFormation, Kubernetes, and AWS Security Group configurations.

Choosing the Right Threat Modeling Framework

For making the right choice, several factors must be considered; some of the frequently required ones include:

  • Ease of Use: Choose a framework that becomes digestible information that your team understands for all their parts.
  • Scalability: Involve the size and intricacy of IaC deployments in making your choice.
  • Integration with Tools: A framework needs to be associated with a tool used for IaC automation along with a DevSecOps pipeline.



ThreatModeler revolutionizes threat modeling during the design phase by automatically analyzing potential attack surfaces. Harness our patented functionalities to make critical architectural decisions and fortify your security posture.

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Threat modeling remains essential even after deploying workloads, given the constantly evolving landscape of cloud development and digital transformation. CloudModeler not only connects to your live cloud environment but also accurately represents the current state, enabling precise modeling of your future state

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DevOps Engineers can reclaim a full (security-driven) sprint with IAC-Assist, which streamlines the implementation of vital security policies by automatically generating threat models through its intuitive designer.

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