The Difference between Requirements Analysis and Threat Analysis

Deadlines and budgets in software projects are usually tight, and managers often ask me which would be more beneficial for them to meet their goals: Security requirements analysis or architecture threat analysis?

Asking this question is comparing apples to oranges, as these are two different things and both of them provide substantial benefits. The security requirements analysis helps to ask the best questions to get the requirements right. Getting requirements wrong is a common issue, in particular when complex regulations are involved (which is frequently the case with security requirements). Without proper requirements analysis, the product team may end up doing the greatest job of building the wrong thing.

Architecture threat analysis ensures that the product is designed to be robust and resilient from a security perspective. If this step is omitted, the application may be riddled with security vulnerabilities – and hence not meet basic security requirements either.

The security requirements analysis ensures that the team is building the right product from a security perspective, and architecture threat analysis makes sure that they are building the product right.