Originally Featured in Forbes : Read More Here
Founder, CEO and chief technical architect at ThreatModeler.
There are many reasons why so many companies are choosing to migrate to the cloud. The cloud comes with no hardware maintenance, low start-up costs, an improved digital experience and many more benefits.
But the cloud also comes with an increase in cybersecurity complexity. On the cloud, everything is digital and dynamic. This requires a new approach to security.
A Proactive Approach To Security
To secure a cloud environment, there must be a way to have a holistic view and understanding of the entire landscape to monitor for any changes continuously. There will always be new, unexpected threats trying to penetrate an organization’s cloud environment. It is important for these organizations to have a way to view the attack surface from the attacker’s perspective and be fully prepared to defend against it.
This is where threat modeling comes in. Threat modeling turns cybersecurity from reactive to proactive. It is a way for businesses to identify potential attacks before they begin and allows them to be fully prepared to defend against them. With threat modeling, teams can instantly visualize their attack surface, understand security requirements, mitigate threats and avoid time and resource burdens that contribute to IT team burnout.
Before implementing a threat modeling solution, here are the steps organizations should take.
Making The Shift To Threat Modeling
With the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape and accelerating security breaches, companies need to shift their thinking from if an attack occurs to when. From there, they must consider the costs of a data breach.
IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach 2022 Report states the average cost of a data breach in the United States is $9.44 million. Aside from the monetary loss, an incident response leads to a loss of time, resources and client confidence. With threat modeling, the shift from incident response to incident prevention could save companies millions of dollars in unplanned spending.
With the clear ROI for threat modeling established, the first step to threat modeling actually does not require any special technologies or skills. The first step is being able to identify what in a company’s IT landscape is threatened and would be worth stealing. Until they can clearly identify what is valuable, threat modeling will be useless.
If an organization is unsure of where to start looking, they need to consider where in the system there is money or valuable data. Businesses need all teams to come together and identify the valuable assets they manage. Oftentimes, executives and team leads in the company would have the best insights into this and have a clearer view of what is worth bad actors pursuing.
One thing that is important to consider is that this is not a one-off activity. Every time there is a change in a company’s technology, there is a new opportunity for cyberattacks and breaches. Any time there is a change in the works, threat models should be updated to understand how connections between high-value assets and the rest of the architecture may have changed.
Once a company is comfortable with the threats they’ve identified, it can then move on to the next step of implementing the appropriate remediations.
The origins of threat modeling can be traced back decades. Since its very beginning, threat modeling has never stopped evolving and improving. In the beginning, threat modeling was focused primarily on the needs of specific development teams, but it has expanded to address the needs of large-scale organizations. A threat to one system is a threat to an entire business, making threat modeling an important part of properly securing all systems and applications.
While businesses consider adopting any new cybersecurity tools, they must reflect on the necessary steps that come before implementation, as listed above. Only then will shifting from a reactive approach to a proactive approach for cybersecurity help reduce the number of cyberattacks business experiences tremendously.
The first step is easy—companies need to gather a holistic view of their IT landscape and determine what exactly is the most vulnerable by following the money and high-value data. They need to get into the heads of their adversaries and determine what would be worth stealing. Before diving head first into threat modeling, organizations need to have a very clear view of this, and from there, they can adopt the tools to begin proactively modeling threats.