Why Attack Surface Management is Critical for Modern Enterprises

Attack Surface Management

Why Attack Surface Management is Critical for Modern Enterprises

Enterprises face more cyber threats than ever due to their increasingly large attack surfaces. The average enterprise uses a combination of on-premise servers, cloud applications, microservices, and automated processes to access data at all times.

This complex web of processes is impossible to monitor via manual processes. As attack surfaces grow, enterprises must prioritize installing attack surface management processes.

Here are four critical benefits of installing the right attack surface management tools.

Uncover Hidden Assets

As a company’s digital footprint grows exponentially, keeping pace with new assets under threat is almost impossible. The right attack surface management tool conducts a deep review of a company’s assets periodically, giving security teams insights into the type of assets that are under threat.

This review is especially relevant when discovering assets that can be accessed externally. Hidden assets aren’t just active applications. Shadow IT and unused credentials are a major threat to a company’s security posture.

For instance, employees might use trial versions of apps for a short period before choosing an alternative. These unused subscriptions lie dormant, waiting for an attacker to leverage them. Attack surface management protocols must review all apps in use and eliminate the shadow IT problem.

Rapid deployments also create orphaned assets that become obsolete. These assets pose the same threat as shadow IT, giving malicious actors a potential foothold into a company’s systems.

Also read: What is Threat Modeling: Practices, Tools and Methodologies

Cost-Benefit Insights Into Several Assets

Enterprises are currently facing challenges on multiple fronts. Not only are they under increased threat from malicious actors, but the very nature of work has changed. The shift to work-from-home protocols has led to companies creating new processes and assets to account for this change.

However, few have spared enough thought to the stress they’ve placed on their cybersecurity protocols. Every company must conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis of its decisions, and digital assets are no exception.

If the threat a new asset pose is far greater than the advantages it delivers, choosing to go a different way is a no-brainer. Often, cybersecurity needs to go unrecognized when commissioning new assets. However, security threats pose a real cost to organizations, one they must account for at all times.

Attack surface management classifies threats throughout a company’s stack, giving managers insights into the types of vulnerabilities they might be introducing into their systems. The result is a well-rounded analysis that gives companies the insights they need before proceeding with a project.

Classify Exposure Per Asset Category

The modern enterprise uses assets across several categories. From servers to operating systems, monitoring vulnerabilities is a challenging task. Even if a security team detects a vulnerability, classifying them based on organizational risk is challenging.

Attack surface management helps security teams figure out the risk they’re exposed to at an asset and category level. For instance, attack surface management tools can classify threats at the following levels:

  • Servers
  • OS, administrative capabilities, HTTP servers
  • Services used commonly
  • Apps and custom applications used regularly
  • Privacy-related and sensitive information vulnerabilities
  • Missing security controls and misconfigurations

Classifying threats across these asset categories gives security teams the insights they need to dive deeper into issues. This classification also gives them a risk-based map of their organization’s assets. In the event of a threat, teams can quickly move to secure the riskiest ones.

Combine this depth of insight with identifying hidden assets, and it’s easy to see why attack surface management is a great choice for modern enterprises. Most attack surface management tools offer interactive dashboards that give security teams the ability to dig deeper into vulnerabilities and address them before they turn into bigger risks.

Also read: Prepare Business Defenses: What It Is and How do World Events Affect Us

Review Compliance With Security Frameworks

How well is an organization’s security posture complying with established security frameworks? For instance, do a company’s protocols adhere to MITRE ATT&CK and other established standards? These standards are a great way of evaluating and upgrading a security posture to minimize attack threats.

Attack surface management gives security teams a quick overview of the current threat landscape. As a result, teams can quickly reconcile their postures with the ones suggested by security frameworks. This process also helps teams benchmark their security readiness against an established standard quickly.

One of the attack surface management tools’ biggest advantages is that they replicate the tactics a malicious actor might use. For instance, a tool conducts deep reconnaissance of a company’s systems before classifying threats.

By viewing vulnerabilities from an attacker’s perspective, companies can move quickly to address their threats. As part of a broader continuous security validation program, attack surface management fits seamlessly into a company’s cybersecurity posture.

Essential For Modern Enterprises

As the average enterprise’s digital footprint increases exponentially, attack surface management is becoming increasingly critical. From uncovering shadow and orphaned assets to classifying vulnerabilities based on risk, attack surface management is critical for modern organizations of all sizes.

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