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Using Data Analysis to Identify Security Threats: An Overview

Using Data Analysis to Identify Security Threats: An Overview

By Howie Robleza, Freelance Writer, Avigilon

Security is an important component for the development of any business. However, hackers are becoming more sophisticated and frequently developing new means of gaining access to company data. According to research published in recent years, hackers have gained access to more than 5.2 million records of personal data, posing a significant threat to the development of modern businesses by placing identifiable customer data at a heightened risk of attack.

Developing a way to reliably identify security threats is a major milestone that many businesses are yet to achieve. Though as the modern world is so reliant on usable data, companies that understand how to properly secure sensitive information stand a better chance of elevating their security standards to ultimately improve project developments and ensure business success.

The application of data analytics used to identify security threats is a broad field that involves different components designed to improve upon security standards, spanning from physical security technology such as keyless access systems, to cybersecurity analytics tools. This article discusses modern applications of data analysis used to identify and nullify security threats.

What is Security Threat Analysis?

Security threat analysis is a cybersecurity strategy dedicated to evaluating the security protocols present within a specific organization. This process involves several different methodologies and procedures designed to identify active threats to company data, and is intended to locate any vulnerabilities in data storage systems as well as collect information regarding potential attacks.

For instance, if a company is using cloud-based badge systems to reduce expenses related to on-site server maintenance, security threat analysts will be tasked with ensuring the security of all files stored within the system and creating protocols designed to prevent data breaches.

When security agencies use data to study the structure of any given organization, they’ll often quickly detect a number of exposed security exploits that must be addressed. Engaging in this process helps teams to gain a clearer understanding of how sophisticated threats may pose a risk to company and customer data, as well as highlight possible solutions to combat issues.

The application of data analysis in security departments aids in the collection of usable data, which in turn helps teams to make vital decisions when safeguarding employees and customers alike. This holistic approach to business security has a successful track record of preventing security breaches and creating safer environments that can contribute to business success.

During a typical threat analysis process, several different types of security threats will be analyzed by security personnel, including:

Intentional Threats

Intentional threats are a primary concern for most companies due to the impact they can have on business development. These types of threats are typically conducted by malicious entities looking to gain access to valuable company data. Hackers will look to locate and access sensitive files like financial information or customer records that can be used for criminal means.

Internal Threats

Most companies design strategies to safeguard themselves from internal threats by siloing data systems to prevent large scale breaches. However, many business owners fail to understand that bad actors within security departments can have a huge negative impact on the efficacy of segregated systems, as it only takes one team member deciding to act in a malicious way to expose essential networks to comprehensive data breaches and company-wide security threats.

Accidental Threats

Human error is a major component that puts many companies at high risk of attack, in fact, Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report found that 82% of recorded breaches come as a direct result of employee mistakes.

During threat analysis processes, companies should make efforts to highlight systems likely to be at risk from human error, for example, multiple siloed data storage systems that share the same password. If hackers are to identify this weakness, large-scale breaches could occur.

Benefits of Data Analysis in Identifying Security Threats

As business technology continues to become more advanced, security risks are also increasing day by day. In order to appropriately defend essential systems from evolving cyber threats, security and IT teams must ensure that they’re one step ahead of sophisticated cybercriminals.

The best way to overcome hacking activities is to gain a detailed understanding of how modern threats work and the main systems or technologies that these attacks are targeting. Below are some of the benefits of using data analysis to identify security threats within a business setting.

Reducing the Attack Surface

When a company enforces a strong threat analysis strategy, the available attack surface for hackers to target will be automatically reduced, effectively limiting the number of cyber attacks security teams will be required to face. By locating vulnerable systems using data-informed research, teams can ensure that security resources are being utilized as efficiently as possible.

Updating Risk Profiles

Analyzing threats regularly and identifying key areas of concern will make it easier for teams to create updated risk profiles that help security departments to improve incident responses. This allows businesses to elevate their security posture by developing a safe environment that supports wider business growth. In addition, an updated risk profile can be used to aid business leaders in conducting data-informed security audits within a secure business environment.

Collected data is used continuously to improve the security posture of any given business and can help teams make informed decisions with regards to incident responses, helping staff to monitor the progress of security systems and identify any extra measures that could be taken.

Continued Updates to Threat Modeling

A great way to foster a safer business environment is to create updated security models that will guide teams when making security decisions. Threat models are designed to give staff a clear picture of the current security state and determine some of the changes that can be made to create a safer environment. Note that threat models are constantly changing, meaning they will need to be updated frequently. For every new technology that’s integrated into existing security systems there comes new threat models that will need to be appropriately addressed.

How to Conduct Threat Analysis

Using data-informed tools to conduct threat analysis is a detailed process that can take different forms. How the threat analysis process develops will depend on your security requirements and the goals you wish to achieve. Below are some of the steps required to perform threat analysis.

  • Define the Scope of the Threat Analysis

If you want to conduct a successful threat assessment, you’ll need to start by defining the scope of the entire process. This approach will help you to put in place a reliable foundation and will aid in the execution of an effective process. Teams must define all the major aspects that need to be covered throughout the threat analysis by conducting a pre-planning procedure that should present a clear roadmap of how to ultimately execute the task.

  • Establish the Processes and Procedures Required

After building the scope and defining the goals you intend to achieve, you’ll need to determine what needs to be covered during the analysis. Since the scope gives you a clear roadmap, the process and procedures chosen should work to generate your desired output. Choosing which systems to cover should present a clear way to perform any resulting threat analysis process.

  • Create a Clear Rating System for the Threats

Creating a rating system will help you to define the severity of any potential security threats. This system should determine the risks and vulnerabilities that may impact critical stakeholders within the business as well as aid in the formation of a reliable post threat analysis report.

  • Conduct the Threat Analysis

Once all other activities are complete and all procedures are in place, you can now conduct a threat analysis. At this point, companies need to maximize the capabilities of the security teams to gain crucial information from their systems, you may also choose to invite a third party to help in conducting threat analysis and offer impartial advice and opinions regarding the final process.

Security posture is essential to modern companies and must be considered by all stakeholders. Hackers are constantly working to identify new methods to break firewalls and access business data. Finding reliable ways to identify security threats is a vital process that companies must put in place to aid in the detection of unusual activities that can impact integrated security systems.

Data visualization and analysis helps security teams to detect unusual activities in their data, ultimately preventing unauthorized access to important business systems. This technique of converting general data sets into easily understood visuals like anomaly charts, comparison charts, and Sankey diagrams makes it easier for security agencies to translate information and implement required security measures. Data analysis is also a significant innovation that plays a crucial role in creating data reports designed to improve incident responses to future threats.

About the Author

Using Data Analysis to Identify Security Threats: An OverviewHowie Robleza, a freelance writer is interested in tech, legal, and property trends. When she’s not writing, she works in commercial property management.

Howie can be reached at

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