TVA – Threat, Vulnerabilities, Assets triad

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TVA – Threat, Vulnerabilities, Assets triad

In information security, there’s a crucial triad: threats, vulnerabilities, and assets (TVA – Threat, Vulnerability, Asset). For security management, they are interconnected and often analyzed together. To understand how these three elements affect each other, let’s first provide some examples of each:

  • Threats: Phishing attacks through email, malware such as viruses and ransomware, exploitation of software vulnerabilities, data theft by internal employees or external actors, social engineering and fraud, exposure of personal data, application compromise, unauthorized users, thefts, etc.
  • Vulnerabilities: Insecure software, weak security policies, simple passwords, lack of cybersecurity training, absence of security management procedures, weak encryption, insecure or missing controls, etc.
  • Assets: Customer data, financial data, intellectual property, IT infrastructure, products, websites, employee devices, confidential business information, and any other data that a business or organization possesses and values.

The presence of threats and vulnerabilities implies the need to anticipate the possibility of risk that we must face. However, if (suppose) one of these elements is missing, the equation of cybersecurity risk changes:

  • Without vulnerability, it means threats have no entry point;
  • Without any threat, it means vulnerability does not pose a risk; and
  • Without assets, i.e., there’s nothing that can be compromised.

Recognizing and managing these elements are essential for protecting SMEs from the growing risks of cybersecurity. Therefore, security experts suggest that the first two (vulnerabilities and threats) be minimized as much as possible to improve the longevity and quality of assets.