Protecting Security Infrastructures in 2019


Every year, companies evaluate their own security capabilities and every year, cybercriminals find new avenues of attack. Threat modeling allows companies to learn where they need to increase security. ThreatModeler CEO Archie Agarwal offers insights on likely gaps, in 2019.

Preventing attacks and shoring up security remain top-of-mind priorities for every company’s IT department. Throughout 2019, cybersecurity groups will encounter challenges and a shifting industry as they try to protect their security infrastructures. An underlying issue is firms consistently struggle to secure their data and services inventory. In many cases, they don’t even have a complete list of their available inventory, which exposes data to risks. They’re anxious that data and services are residing outside data centers. Although companies still have limited control, service providers are gaining more insight into where data is secured, in order to reduce the number of breaches.

Some of the biggest cybersecurity challenges facing companies are also windows of opportunities. Firms with the highest odds of success are the ones taking a proactive approach to managing security challenges. Here are some of the biggest challenges and opportunities in 2019.

Cloud Migration

Companies encounter a completely different and often unfamiliar infrastructure when transitioning to a cloud-based infrastructure. This prevents major challenges. For example, the IT team that previously managed data in-house must now cede some control to the cloud provider and be comfortable with placing trust in a new platform. IT needs to manage data governance and will spend time figuring out how the cloud provider stores and accesses company data. Moving to the cloud can also change internal workflows, for example how data is provided to internal analysts and data scientists. Managing and estimating costs within cloud environments can also challenge the IT team, due to the on-demand and scalable nature of cloud computing services.

Of course, these challenges come with benefits that drove an organization to make the switch to the cloud. One benefit of moving to the cloud is that it makes inventory management easier, especially with cloud-native architectures – the preferred approach to building software applications. It’s a way to leverage the full benefits of a cloud computing model. There are also security benefits with moving to the cloud and a chief driver for companies that are switching inventory to the cloud. For example, cloud providers frequently install patches and perform updates without any downtime. Organizations storing data on-premise might experience operational delays if they need to perform updates. Cloud companies are also experienced at preventing DDoS attacks because they’re frequent targets and have invested resources to combat these threats. Moving to the cloud also provides companies with enhanced protection from disasters due to the redundancies and safeguards put in place by cloud providers.

Proactive Threat Modeling Approach

In 2019 we’ll see the continuing trend of new threats and attack vectors. Bad actors will produce more sophisticated attacks using AI and machine learning, launch cryptocurrency-based attacks. Criminals will use these strategies on top of traditional methods including ransomware and DDoS attacks. Traditional approaches to prevent and mitigate threats are taking a reactive route. Companies put up a firewall but never have an enterprise-level view of the network or the cloud. Despite the types of threats remaining mostly the same, firms still remain reactive in their approach. They might run penetration testing that finds issues requiring them to go back to fix an oversight. Unfortunately, time-to-market pressure often dictates they need to delay these fixes, creating a risk window until they can fix these issues.

While these same companies also rely on costly reactive scanning tools, they’re still getting hacked. To prevent this, they need to use proven methods to research these threats before they build their security, on the front-end, in order to prevent them from happening, in the first place.

This year, more firms will turn towards proactive threat mitigation as a way to make themselves a much less appealing target. By utilizing advanced threat modeling platforms, companies find attack paths and entry points during the development process. This gives them a better understanding of the various control they need to put in place to eliminate the risks, breaking the chain in an attack path and protecting their assets. The industry’s best threat modeling tools are scalable and much more mature than they were a few years ago. Today’s solutions are built for the needs of smaller companies all the way up to Fortune 500 firms who are in need of scalable threat modeling processes to understand their entire attack surface. Such solutions provide measurable benefits in terms of reduced development and “fix times,” which prevent the possibility of the branding hit that comes with a public data breach.

The Talent Shortage Continues

Qualified and experienced cybersecurity personnel will remain in short supply and high demand, in 2019. While this creates an advancement opportunity for cybersecurity professionals, many are overworked as keeping up with the latest threats and innovations can create an information overload. Analyst firms, such as Gartner, point to the need for a leaner approach to cybersecurity staffingOpens a new window . “Digital business has changed the risk landscape permanently. Even in the unlikely case that there are no resource constraints, scaling up a centralized cybersecurity function as more and more threats emerge isn’t necessarily the best way to protect organizations,” Gartner Fellow and Research Vice President Tom Scholtz said.

Automation is the balancing factor for the number of security professionals needed to establish a secure system. Tasks that took five people can now be accomplished by one. While cybersecurity professionals are still required for understanding threats and developing strategy, the sheer number of threats, on top of the scale of some companies’ data and infrastructure, demand automation. Teams use automated platforms to monitor for threats throughout the security infrastructure. Such an approach then reduces the number of team members and the underlying costs required to properly protect the organization.

Beyond 2019, cybersecurity professionals will encounter more challenges, but also opportunities. Quantum computing looms on the horizon. Faster computers and more processing power will be available to security pros to fight off attacks but they will be available to cybercriminals. Hackers will automate more attack vectors and launch threats against multiple companies at once, using quantum computing and AI tools that learn and adapt. The bad guys will get better and more agile, and security teams will need proactive approaches that include threat modeling and other automation to guard their infrastructures.