Threat analysis is a cybersecurity strategy that aims to assess an organization’s security protocols, processes and procedures to identify threats, vulnerabilities, and even gather knowledge of a potential attack before they happen.
By studying various threats staged against one’s organization in detail, security teams can gain a better understanding of the level of sophistication of threats staged against the organization, the exploitation strategies, and identify areas in the organization’s security posture that may be vulnerable to these threats.
Threat analysis is categorized as a reactive strategy in IT cybersecurity since the organization is assessing threats in real-time as they are staged against their security perimeter. Even though this strategy relies on attacks being staged against the organization, when done properly, this strategy can greatly reduce the scope of damages sustained in an unforeseen cyber-attack.
Types of Threats Found in a Threat Analysis
A successful threat analysis strategy can uncover various types of threats within an organization. Some of the categorization of threats is as follows:
In today’s ever-evolving world of cyber threats, staying one step ahead of malicious entities is critically important. And one of the best ways to stay ahead of these attackers is to understand their exploits in detail. Let’s look at three of the largest benefits to incorporating a threat analysis strategy.
Often a threat analysis is performed on a quarterly basis, however, frequency is often determined based on an organization's unique cybersecurity initiatives.
If an organization is in a high-risk industry such as government, financial, or healthcare, it’s often promoted to perform a threat analysis on a more frequent basis. As the frequency of these security protocols increase, it can be beneficial to employ a third-party service, in charge of running these operations so as not to tie up internal resources that could be diverted to other cybersecurity initiatives.
Performing a threat analysis can take many shapes and forms depending on the unique security requirements outlined by the organization, however, there are four common steps to performing a threat analysis that are found in nearly every threat analysis.
Four common steps found in most threat analysis strategies:
Both threat analysis and risk analysis are an integral component of a strong cybersecurity strategy. Like threat analysis, risk analysis aims to uncover risks and security concerns facing an organization. The difference is, risk analysis digs deeper into root processes and systems to uncover a security problem, whereas threat analysis is identifying threats based on security concerns as they happen in real time.
Risk assessment, in turn, covers a more comprehensive set of services, application, policies and procedures internally that influence the vulnerability of an organization. For example, risk analysis may look under the hood of security tools to ensure it is working properly, (taking a more proactive approach compared to threat analysis) rather than waiting to assess an attack staged against the security tool.
VMware is dedicated to helping organizations overcome gaps in their threat analysis initiatives by offering a suite of tailored services designed to help keep your organization safe. The VMware Threat Analysis Unit protects customers through innovation and world-class research, helping organizations stay one step ahead of cyber threats. Learn more about our VMware Threat Analysis Unit.