Whether you have a small, medium, or large cybersecurity infrastructure, reducing its attack surface minimizes your risk of being compromised. Implementing attack surface management is critical to securing your assets, mitigating cyberattacks, and reducing the likelihood of data breaches. Read our blog to learn more.
Attack Surface Management 101
Your organization must continuously identify and reduce attack surfaces before cybercriminals can exploit them. So, what is attack surface management, how does it work, and what are its potential benefits for your organization? In this blog, we’ll answer these questions, covering:
- A definition of attack surfaces and attack surface management
- Several mechanisms for cyber asset attack surface management
- The benefits of an attack surface management platform
Understanding how to develop and optimize attack surface management will help you minimize the risks of cyberattacks, especially in partnership with an incident management specialist.
What are Attack Surfaces?
Before we define attack surface management and its applications within your cybersecurity infrastructure, let’s explore the meaning of attack surfaces. An attack surface is the collection of security vulnerabilities and gaps within your cybersecurity infrastructure that can be exploited by cybercriminals. Attack surfaces are becoming increasingly complex because of the multitude of attack vectors present in most organizations’ cybersecurity infrastructures.
Examples of attack surfaces include:
- Digital attack surfaces containing attack vectors like:
- Weak passwords
- Software and operating system vulnerabilities
- Obsolete devices and software applications
- Physical attack surfaces containing vectors like:
- Malicious insider threats
- Malware baiting
- Social engineering attack surfaces via phishing vectors
With an understanding of attack surfaces and how they work, let’s define attack surface management.
Attack Surface Management Defined
By definition, attack surface management takes on a cybercriminal’s perspective to identify potential sources of cyberattacks on an organization’s infrastructure. Once these are identified, attack surface management will prioritize the development of processes to reduce these vectors and mitigate them from compromising sensitive data security.
Importantly, this process is continuous, ensuring that vulnerabilities are discovered as soon as they surface to prevent them from developing and materializing as high-impact threats.
How Does Attack Surface Management Work?
Attack surface management works via:
- Threat discovery, inventory, and monitoring – These three processes are critical to deploying a robust attack surface management workflow. Specifically, your organization must identify and monitor attack surfaces by:
- Maintaining an updated inventory of identified and potential attack surfaces
- Discovering assets using an internal perspective and that of a perpetrator
- Monitoring assets in real-time to identify their threat potential and risk
- Attack surface analysis – Upon identification of attack surfaces, they must be analyzed based on the discovered vulnerabilities and risk rankings. Then, high-risk attack surfaces must be prioritized for threat and vulnerability remediation.
- Attack surface reduction – Reducing attack surfaces revolves around simple processes like improving password use practices via implementing stronger password policies or instituting multifactor authentication. However, it could also require more complex processes like implementing zero-trust practices for access control and network segmentation across your organization.
Long term, implementing attack surface management will help you reduce the risks of threats related to phishing or bypassed access controls. Cyber asset attack surface management ensures that all your assets are protected, regardless of identified or unidentified risk impact.
Benefits of Implementing Attack Surface Management
There are several benefits to implementing an attack surface management strategy.
Threats are becoming more complex for organizations that handle sensitive data on-premise or on the cloud. There are more attack surfaces to protect and a larger variety of risks to manage.
To prevent cyberattacks from compromising data security, organizations must reduce the attack surface while working hand-in-hand with tested processes like penetration testing, risk assessments, and security operation center (SOC) guided vulnerability management.
Attack surface management principles can be applied independently to mitigate cybersecurity threats from developing. However, attack surface management can also guide security information and event management (SIEM), ensuring your organization responds quickly to potential threats. These principles can protect your organization from internal and external risk.
For instance, working with third-party vendors may require external attack surface management to minimize the risks of unforeseen attacks originating outside of your organization.
Investing in an attack surface management platform will enable your organization to reap the full benefits of attack surface management, helping you optimize your security posture year-round. Additionally, establishing a baseline set of processes for reducing attack surfaces is much easier when implemented via a platform managed by an experienced security partner.
Implement Professional Attack Surface Management
Partnering with an incident management partner like RSI Security will provide you access to trusted insights about attack surface management. With the help of RSI Security’s attack surface management platform, you will significantly reduce the likelihood of security risks, minimize their impact, and keep your organization safe in the long term.
Contact RSI Security today to learn more and get started with these platforms.