Strategies to Reduce Attack Surface Areas

Attack Surface

In today’s complex IT ecosystem and sophisticated malware, enterprises need to be vigilant in reducing the attack surface area to minimize the opportunities available to cybercriminals to exploit the business network.

Businesses are exposed to various cyber threats and risks that CISOs need to address. It is crucial for the SecOps teams to evaluate their entire business network to identify all the attack surface areas that cybercriminals can leverage to infiltrate the business network. Enterprises need to have effective cybersecurity strategies postures to secure all the exposed business networks. Previously it was less complicated to defend the IT infrastructure because the assets were separated from the outside world. But as businesses are embracing a digital-first approach, their network is now exposed to various threats because the attack surface area has increased exponentially. For instance, enterprises that integrated the Internet of Things (IoT) into their IT infrastructure have increased the risk of various cyber threats and risks.

CISOs can consider the following strategies to minimize the attack surface area and strengthen the cybersecurity posture:

Also Read: Three Strategies for Organizations to Reduce Attack Surfaces and Mitigate Cloud Risk

Embrace a zero trust model

Organizations that embrace a Zero Trust Network Architecture (ZTNA) will enable businesses to assume that a breach is bound to happen or already has occurred. The zero trust approach will restrict access to what is required and keeps an eye on anomalous or suspicious activity in the business network. CISOs should consider developing and maintaining an asset inventory of the entire IT infrastructure as a reference point to develop a zero-trust approach. Moreover, the SecOps teams need to determine the network structure to gain more transparency into the business network.

Embracing a zero trust approach to secure the IT infrastructure is one of the most effective easy to minimize the attack surface area of the business network.

Enterprises can even integrate perimeters like network firewalls and VPNs to develop a perimeter around every system and user. Leveraging multifactor authentication (MFA) and enrolling devices into the entire IT infrastructure to identify and verify the user’s authenticity prior to granting access to internal resources.

Reduce the IT infrastructure’s complexity

It is crucial to have an entire inventory of all the users, accounts, assets, and systems updated and documented accurately to have a real-time overview of the entire business network to secure. This inventory will help the SecOPs teams to spot all the outdated operating systems, legacy tools, and who has access to what in the entire business network. IT leaders need to minimize redundant or legacy software systems in the business network to ensure that all obsolete systems are eliminated from the ecosystem. Segmenting users and systems into groups will help to streamline the inventory management of the IT assets. Enterprise can even leverage the least privileged access approach to reduce the attack surface areas of the IT infrastructure. SecOps teams can grant required access to the system based on their job description to minimize the risks. Enterprises can centralize access control management with an advanced Identity Access Management (IAM) system to streamline the information flow.

Also Read: Top Three Mistakes Enterprises Should Avert When Creating DevSecOps

Track vulnerabilities 

One of the most significant aspects of zero-trust network architecture is that it is capable of constantly monitoring the entire network’s attack surface areas. CISOs should consider robust tools to monitor the attack surface and notify the teams in case of potential exposure or suspicious activity on the network. SecOps teams need to understand the entire business network layout and get more visibility to spot all the vulnerabilities. Once they identify all the potential vulnerabilities, they can prioritize them based on risk and remediate the vulnerability first that can be potentially disastrous for the network. Developing and implementing an effective vulnerability detection and mitigation plan will enable enterprises to reduce the attack surface areas.

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