Attack Surface Management (ASM) is an important part of your security profile, but before we get into exactly why you need it let’s just cover off what an Attack Surface is.
What is a cyber-attack surface?
An organization’s total attack surface is all the exploitable vulnerabilities that you have on your network (these can be both known and unknown). These can be physical or digital, and most organizations choose to monitor both of these. External-facing assets include websites, mail servers, social landing pages, and pages created outside official protocol for one-off marketing campaigns—in essence, your entire digital presence. A lot of these assets exist without the knowledge of IT security teams. In short, it is everything outside of the firewall that attackers can and will discover, even if you don’t know it exists. As the saying goes ‘You can’t manage what you can’t measure.’
Why is this important right now?
Digital transformation has resulted in organizations facing increased pressure to adopt digital solutions, which expands their potential attack surface and exposes them to increased cyber risk. This can be anything from single devices right up to network and cloud services.
Mike Revell, Managing Director of activereach adds;
“We find that most security teams we speak to are overwhelmed by the rapid digital growth of their attack surface which is resulting in hidden risks and threats to their business. Many of these assets are the result of shadow IT or third parties such as marketing agencies which fall outside the security team’s radar. That is why it is so important to have an effective ASM solution.”
It is clear these issues are not new. Digital transformation has been happening for a while, but the arrival of COVID-19 has substantially accelerated their pace. As businesses and their employees have all had to start working from disparate locations around the globe, the requirement to protect these new, vulnerable entry points has created a security headache. The boundaries between what’s inside the firewall and what’s outside are becoming less and less discernible. An organization’s attack surface starts inside the corporate network and extends to the internet’s outer reaches, including people’s homes.
To help stay protected, many organizations need to work to continually assess their networks for potential threats. This attack surface is only going to get bigger, and potentially become too big to deal with. Having an Attack Surface Management system in place, organizations can reduce their potential attack surface, limiting the impact of cyber threats and improving their overall cybersecurity posture.
A Growing Problem
As already mentioned, this is a big problem that is just getting bigger. Organizations monitoring assets and their vulnerabilities need technology that looks at an organization’s digital presence from the outside-in and is both flexible and scalable.
Intelligent Attack Surface Management
Delivering robust and strategic attack surface intelligence starts with observations from the internet. These observations must be correlated and analysed to identify the most dangerous threats. This data then needs to be presented in a way to provide a full picture of the entire internet to show your own organization’s internet attack surface, including known, unknown, and attacker-owned assets.
Why is Attack Surface Management so important?
Timely identification of digital assets is a fundamental part of robust threat intelligence. It can greatly reduce the risk of data breaches and data leaks. The hard truth is that many organizations struggle to get even limited visibility into their complete attack surface, despite investing resources across a range of individual solutions and processes.
So, as we said at the beginning, ‘You can’t manage what you can’t measure,’ – Attack Surface Management gives you that total visibility so that you can monitor and manage your attack surface with confidence.