What is Threat Analysis?
Threat analysis, also called threat and vulnerability analysis is the process of identifying, examining and mitigating potential security threats to your business.
In the security industry, performing detailed threat analysis with the data available to you will help protect your business from various threats that may harm your company’s staff, your reputation or even your bottom line.
Security threat analysis aims to reduce the risks associated with security breaches, allowing security professionals to mitigate threats before they can be exploited. It is a process that forms part of your wider security and risk management strategy.
Threat Analysts are dedicated specialists within a security team who are responsible for identifying and assessing security threats. They have high levels of technical, analytical and communication skills as they often conduct specialised investigations and write high-level technical reports. It is a highly skilled role and requires a lot of attention to detail and dedication to continuous learning and improvement.
What are the Main Security Threats to Modern Businesses?
Modern businesses face many threats in diverse forms.
- Coronavirus restrictions
- Theft of goods or raw materials
- Industrial espionage
- Terrorism and violent attacks
- Social engineering related cyber-attacks such as phishing
- System related cyber attacks such as malware or attacking a wireless network
- Internal threats from insiders
- Online financial fraud
Security threats are constantly evolving, especially in cyber security, technology is always improving, and criminals are always finding new ways of exploiting that technology.
This is not just a problem for large, multi-national corporations. Businesses of any size and in any sector need to be aware, highly alert and vigilant towards security risks, before it’s too late.
The Threat Analysis Process
In order to protect staff and assets, organisations must understand the details of security threats, even in the form of hypothetical scenarios. By truly understanding and analysing the threats faced by your organisation, you can better protect against them.
This is exactly what threat analysis aims to do.
The Threat Analysis Process can be split into four separate stages:
Stage 1: Scope
Define the scope of the work: which areas, departments or systems are being reviewed? The exact scope and boundaries need to be explicitly clear in order to stay on track. In large organisations with complex structures, it’s not uncommon for the threat analysis to exceed the initial scope and creep into other areas of the business.
You should ensure that you document areas of ‘scope creep’ to ensure they’re not overlooked during future analysis.
Stage 2: Data Collection
The next stage is data collection from real security incidents. You need accurate data and intelligence so you know which departments within your organisation are most at risk. This will allow you to make data-driven decisions about security and therefore use your resources more efficiently.
Data may also include potential incidents, or a combination of real and hypothetical data. This allows for deeper analysis into real vs. potential threats, as well as evaluating the true scale of each threat. Data analysis includes historical data and environmental factors that may contribute to the severity.
Stage 3: Identify and Analyse Potential Treats
This stage considers the outcome scenarios of various threats. Which assets, staff and systems are likely to be compromised and how can they be better protected?
Security professionals build up threat profiles containing detailed information about the nature of different threats and calculate the potential severity, as well as the probability of such an attack taking place.
Using a combination of reliable data and threat modelling, information security professionals can make informed decisions about hardening to improve corporate security procedures within the company.
Stage 4: Risk Management
This fourth stage is about accepting the vulnerabilities highlighted during this analysis and putting measures in place to mitigate against them happening.
Now that you’re fully informed about the potential security threats to your business, you’re in a better position to mitigate against these risks and put robust measures in place to prevent attackers before they strike.
Threat Modelling and Scenarios
Documenting assets – document each asset within your business that requires protection.
Identify the attacker’s aim – understand what the attackers are hoping to gain from this and get into their mindset.
Documenting your security system – your security infrastructure should then be documented using diagrams and charts that show the flow of data, money, staff or high-value assets.
Documenting each threat – each threat will have different characteristics that can give you better data and help you defend against attacks more efficiently if you fully understand the various elements of each threat.
Prioritising and rating – Rating the threat according to severity helps you prioritise your improvements to the most potentially damaging threats first.
You should be asking questions such as:
- Could staff be harmed if this threat were carried out?
- Can you put a specific figure on the risk of financial losses?
- What level of skill is required for an attacker(s) to carry out this attack?
- Why is [the threat target] considered attractive by the attackers? What’s in it for them?
- What’s the absolute worst-case scenario when projecting potential damage?
What happens next?
Security threat analysis is a continuous process, it doesn’t necessary finish once the process is complete, nor does it go back to the start in a cyclical fashion. Instead, it is ever-changing and agile – multiple threats may be assessed at once, each one at a different stage in the process.
Threat Analysts need to be fully invested in continuous professional development to learn about new and emerging threats.
Members of staff in the wider workforce may require tailored training as a result of your threat analysis work, giving them the skills and knowledge required to reduce the risk of modelled threats becoming a reality. Communicating this information to your staff is vital, and it should be presented in an accessible and engaging way.
Learn more about Threat Analysis
Would you like to develop your skills and capacity as a security threat analyst? Security professionals are in high demand across the UK and with the ever-changing nature of threats to businesses, it’s an extremely interesting and fulfilling job role with lots of incredible opportunities for progression.
We offer certified Threat Analysis training alongside a range of other Operational Intelligence courses that are suitable for entry-level roles and those who want to develop their skills further and progress their career.
ASTA Training is a leading training provider, we’ve trained thousands of individuals who now have successful careers in the security industry. We’ve also helped hundreds of organisations improve their overall security procedures through innovative staff training, such as lone worker protection and situational awareness.
Our Risk Management training courses have been carefully designed to introduce participants to Risk Management especially in terms of risk management within different business environments, and how best to respond when risks are realised.
Specialist trainers will show you how to identify the risks your organisation may be exposed to including generic and specific risks, we will also educate you on managing these risks within your organisation.
Our team comprises of security professionals, instructors, assessors and subject matter experts which provides an unparalleled infrastructure. We dedicated to increasing knowledge, skills and progression for security professionals and organisations alike.
You’re not alone in your threat analysis work – get in touch with us today