The attack surface of an organization is dynamic; it can vary on a daily basis, if not more frequently. An ASM solution must be able to track these changes in an automated manner. However, simply knowing the size and nature of the attack surface isn’t enough. An effective ASM solution should be able to identify the types of assets in the attack surface as well as the severity of risks.
The widespread adoption of cloud services and the resulting proliferation of companies’ networks, when paired with the recent shift to remote work, resulted in a tremendous expansion of organizations’ attack surface and an increase in the number of blind spots in connected architectures.
The unforeseen consequences of this expanded attack surface combined with fragmented monitoring have been a significant increase in the number of successful cyber-attacks, especially ransomware. The main challenges include unmonitored blind spots that cyber-attackers exploit to compromise enterprise infrastructure, and move laterally in search of important data.
The issue is one of discovery. Most organizations have expanded quicker than their ability to keep track of all the moving pieces involved, and catching up to catalog all past and present assets is generally seen as a difficult and resource-intensive undertaking with no immediate benefits.
Given the potential cost of a successful breach and enhanced capacity of cyber-attackers to discover and utilize exposed assets, leaving even one unmonitored asset can result in a catastrophic breach. Emerging technologies like Attack Surface Management (ASM) can be quite useful in this situation.
Also Read: Defending Open Source Against Future Attacks
Here are the five critical aspects that enterprises must keep in mind with attack surface management.
Understand the Attack Surface
Today, many businesses have large attack surfaces. Changing infrastructure as a result of new working environments, combined with the acceleration of digital transformation, and a rapid shift to the cloud, has added a whole new layer of potential weak points and attack vectors for organizations.
As a result, the first step for businesses is to determine their attack surface. Security teams should have broad visibility into all areas so they can identify where the most risk is in their organization.
Continuous Monitoring Should Be Validated
Resources are constantly changing, and security professionals are finding it difficult to keep up with the shifting landscape as their inventory grows. Many third-party programs use resources, and many potentially exploitable security holes in these programs are discovered every day. As a result, it is necessary to continuously assess and monitor resources for flaws and configuration issues.
Moreover, enterprises should keep an eye on the dark web – threat actors rarely discuss opportunities on the open web; instead, they communicate and work with others on the dark web. As a result, enterprises should keep an eye on keywords like key personnel details, business/project names, and other sensitive data.
Benchmark Security Program Against Peers
Organizations must be able to compare their security programs to those of other businesses. They won’t know how well they’re doing if they don’t have metrics to monitor their performance, which means they won’t be able to make the necessary adjustments toward their overall objective.
Prioritize Vulnerability Scanning
Managing the attack surface would be challenging without a thorough risk assessment and security review. Without vulnerability scanning, it’s difficult to determine what security risks a resource has, such as exposing the company to security breaches, data leakage, or other cyber threats. As a result, identifying, evaluating, and assessing virtual resources is crucial so that a company can determine which threats should be prioritized. Therefore, vulnerability management helps in the identification of flaws as well as their prioritization.
Continuous Security Validations is Crucial
The final component of effective Attack Surface Management is to conduct regular security validations to ensure that the organization maintains good cyber hygiene. This requires regular security testing to ensure employees can recognize and avoid social engineering attacks. This allows businesses to ensure that the security controls in place are effective.