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Why threat modeling is important for software quality

Quality assurance professionals have a lot to contend with when it comes to protecting their applications. This is especially true since the attack surface increases every day, and defects become more complicated to defend against. For this reason, many organizations are pursuing threat modeling to reduce the number of risks a project may experience - but what does this mean in terms of QA operations? We will explore what threat modeling is and the benefits it can offer to development efforts.

Defining threat modeling
Application threat modeling is becoming an important part of securing testing programs for company use. This approach helps QA teams identify, manage and communicate potential risks that could affect the software, regardless of if it can be exploited. FishNet Security noted that everything from the critical nature and the likelihood of a threat to the complexity of the system and specific security guidelines can affect the threat model. These elements will give QA employees an idea of how to respond to these issues and what steps to take to ensure that they don't happen in the future.

In order for this method to work, QA personnel must step into the shoes of an attacker and review what types of data would be most valuable. Security can then be built into these areas to ensure that any critical information is protected. This will be especially important in programs that interact with credit card numbers, financial records and other personal documents.

Reaping the benefits
Not only will application threat modeling keep security at the forefront of development, but there are a variety of other benefits that can be reaped from this effort. MyAppSecurity noted that enterprise-wide risk can be mitigated due to continuous monitoring of risk exposure and an up-to-date risk profile. This real-time threat intelligence can be critical to producing measurable security and ensuring that coding is consistent for protection initiatives. If an organization lags behind in acknowledging new threats, it could significantly affect operations and project releases. For this reason, threat modeling is too important to set on the back​ burner.

There are a number of changes that happen on a daily basis that can affect how QA protects against a vulnerability. Threat modeling ensures that software testing teams are constantly evaluating and strategizing how to best prepare for these possibilities and what other considerations need to be made to build in security across the company. 

"A continuous threat modeling process enables you to measure the effectiveness of security initiatives, by displaying vulnerability trends across release cycles," MyAppSecurity stated. "These trends help analyze the state of security and identify the most critical and persistent pain points, calling attention to areas where customized training to development teams would be most useful."

Threat modeling is becoming a major step in app development. By using this approach and a test management solution, QA teams can analyze and mitigate potential threats while ensuring that the application meets industry, stakeholder and user expectations.

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