Embrace Threat Modeling for Cybersecurity

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Embrace Threat Modeling for Cybersecurity

Did you know Australians report a cybercrime every 7 minutes? 

The surging increase in cyberattacks appears to dominate each news cycle. If you feel like it never stops, new data from the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), the Australian Signals Directorate cyber spy agency branch coordinating our response to cybercrime, supports your view.

In the most recent reporting period, ACSC received more than 76,000 crime reports.

And there only the cybercrimes Aussies chose to report.

Worryingly, the crimes you’ve heard about with Medibank Private, Optus and Latitude Financial are just the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

As cyber threats continue to increase, businesses must take proactive steps. They need to protect their sensitive data and assets from cybercriminals. Threats to data security are persistent and come from many different places.

The modern workplace is digitally connected, with every task and activity relying on technology and data sharing. Unsurprisingly, cybercriminals look to exploit this by launching attacks from various entry points, including computers, mobile devices, cloud apps and IT network systems. 

93% of company networks are vulnerable to attack by cybercriminals. 

One strategy Melbourne businesses can use to combat these intrusions is threat modelling. This process in cybersecurity involves identifying potential threats and vulnerabilities to your company’s assets and systems.

Threat modelling helps businesses prioritise risk management and mitigation strategies; the ultimate goal is to reduce the risk of a costly cyberattack. 

Here are the steps your business can follow to conduct a threat model to build resilience.

Identify assets that need protection

You must identify the assets most critical to the business to get started. Generally, this would include sensitive data, intellectual property, or financial information. Understanding what data and information will likely appeal to cybercriminals is essential. 

A business email compromise attack is the fastest-growing threat launched by criminals. Your business email is vulnerable to phishing, where criminals leverage breached email logins.

Identify potential threats to your assets

As mentioned, a growing and common threat is phishing. Other threats to be aware of include ransomware, malware, or social engineering.

However, your business should also consider another category of threats: physical breaches or insider threats. An insider threat is where employees or vendors have access to sensitive information.

Remember, some threats aren’t malicious. Human error causes approximately 88% of data breaches.

To safeguard against security vulnerabilities caused by human error, pay particular attention to these common mistakes: 

  • Poor or weak passwords;
  • Poorly communicated and misunderstood cloud use policies;
  • Infrequent or ineffective employee training;
  • Poor or non-existent bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies.

Assess likelihood and impact

Now that you’ve identified potential threats take the next step by assessing the likelihood and impact of these threats. It’s critical to understand how likely each threat is to occur. In your assessment, you must consider the potential impact on their operations, reputation, and financial stability. 

An assessment will help rank the risk management and mitigation strategies.

It helps the effectiveness of your assessment if you base the threat likelihood on the current cybersecurity environment and statistics. One way to ensure your evaluation is effective is by partnering with a trusted IT-managed service provider. They can conduct a comprehensive vulnerability assessment, as relying on internal stakeholders and engagement can result in you missing something essential. 

Prioritise risk management strategies

It would help to prioritise risk management strategies based on the likelihood and impact of each potential threat. Due to time and cost constraints, most businesses can only implement some things simultaneously. So, ranking solutions based on the most significant impact on cybersecurity is crucial.

Here are some common strategies to consider implementing:

  • Access controls
  • Firewalls
  • Intrusion detection systems
  • Proactive employee training and awareness programs
  • Endpoint device management

Businesses should determine which strategies align with their overarching goals and are cost-effective. 

Continuously review and update the model

Critically, threat modelling is an ongoing process. It’s not a one-time activity. Due to evolving cyber threats, your business must continually review and improve its modelling, ensuring your security measures are effective. As well as aligned with your business objectives.

Benefits of threat modeling for businesses

Threat modelling is a vital process for businesses to guard against cybersecurity risks. You can reduce the threat by identifying potential threats and vulnerabilities to your assets and systems. In addition, threat modelling helps you rank risk management strategies. Here are some key benefits of adding threat modelling to a cybersecurity strategy.

Improved understanding of threats and vulnerabilities

Threat modelling can help your business better understand specific threats and uncover security vulnerabilities that can impact your assets. It identifies gaps in your security measures and helps discover risk management strategies.

Regular threat modelling assists companies in being ahead of potential new threats. Artificial intelligence (AI) is creating new cyber threats every day. Complacent companies can easily fall victim to these new types of attacks.

Cost-effective risk management

Addressing risk management based on the likelihood and impact of threats reduces costs. It can optimise company security investments, ensuring that businesses divide resources effectively and efficiently.

Business alignment

Threat modelling can help ensure security measures align with the business objectives and reduce the potential impact of security measures on business operations. It also helps coordinate security, goals, and operations.

Reduced risk of cyber incidents

Businesses can mitigate risk and protect their assets by implementing targeted risk management strategies, including the likelihood and impact of cybersecurity incidents. And it can reduce the negative consequences of a data security breach.

Do you need help getting started with comprehensive threat assessment?

Let us help you with a thorough threat assessment to protect your Melbourne business. Schedule a no-obligation call with one of our IT experts to discuss how threat modelling can reduce the threat of a costly cyber attack.

About the author

Yener is the founder and Managing Director of Intuitive IT. Prior to running his own business Yener worked for a number of corporate organisations where he gained invaluable experience and skills, as well as an understanding of how IT can complement and improve business outcomes.