Why Threat Modeling is so Difficult and What You Can Do About It

Organizations are made up of assets, systems, and data. These big three are all under constant threat from a wide variety of risks, from bad actors to careless employees. By going through the process of threat modeling, organizations can identify, assess, and prioritize risk to effectively and reliably mitigate actual or potential malicious events. Despite how simple the process may seem, however, many organizations struggle to do the modeling correctly, leaving them falsely confident in their protections. In this post, we’ll look at why it’s such a challenge and how your organization can protect itself effectively.

Why is threat modeling difficult?

1. Dispersed Teams Working in Silos

Information is most vulnerable when it is in transit. If you are doing a security assessment by moving from department to department, you aren’t analyzing when data transfers interdepartmentally. For example, your sales department might keep most of its data in Salesforce, but the marketing department may be transferring the data from another system like Marketo. Forgetting to look at how applications and systems work together across departments can leave key customer data and PII vulnerable in transit.

2. Threat Modeling Lacks Standardization

With the variety of compliance, rules, and regulations in the security field, professionals are used to following strict guidelines. Threat modeling is more customizable and there’s debate about what should be the standard practice. This has been a challenge for organizations to develop a succinct yet still highly effective approach.

3. Complexity

Without a standard model and lots of moving parts, threat modeling can become very complex. Since there is no gold standard to follow, organizations are plugging and playing with different types of threat modeling solutions, creating a mess that will just need more time and attention.

4. Lack of Understanding

Threat modeling can mean something different to every security professional. Some organizations prioritize it, while others don’t. Often it is because the organization doesn’t even know where to start. Without a clear starting point or understanding of what threat modeling should look like, organizations can struggle to implement it effectively.

What can your organization do about this?

1. Cross-functional Security and Vendor Assessment

Implement a strong vendor security program that has the interest of broader interdepartmental security in mind. This team can be responsible for ensuring that all systems and departments are within security standards and compliance.

2. Add in Automation

Explore threat modeling tools and consultants to help you with the process. There are different third parties that organizations can use to help maneuver through the complexity of threat modeling and can be a wise investment.

3. Standardize

While there is no global standard for threat modeling, establish one in your organization. Get together with your security leadership to agree on a process for threat modeling that works for your organization and stick to it.

4. Education

Take some time to educate your security team on what threat modeling is, what best practices are out there, and how to improve upon it. You can even hire a third party to come in and teach a course.

Threat modeling can seem daunting at first, but there are plenty of ways to navigate the complexity. Education can be a great foundation for building your standardized approach to threat modeling, and TCecure is always available to help you on this journey. Contact us today!

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