In today’s digital age, cyberattacks are a constant threat to organizations. A survey conducted by Deloitte Center for Controllership found that 34.5% of executives who participated reported that their companies’ financial and accounting information had been the focus of cyberattacks in the previous year. As threat actors become more sophisticated and attacks become more frequent, businesses must proactively protect their cyberspace. One essential component of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy is an effective attack surface monitoring.
By monitoring their attack surface, organizations can identify potential entry points and vulnerabilities and take proactive steps to mitigate security risks. This article discusses effective attack surface monitoring and developing a comprehensive cybersecurity approach for your organization.
What is an Attack Surface?
An attack surface refers to the total of all entry points and assets that a cyberattack could target. This includes all digital assets, such as web applications, IP addresses, cloud services, and any other externally facing assets that a threat actor could access. The larger the attack surface, the greater the likelihood that a threat actor will be able to find and exploit vulnerabilities in your organization’s systems. By understanding your organization’s attack surface, you can proactively identify potential security risks and take the necessary steps to mitigate those risks.
Attack surfaces can include both internal and external-facing assets, such as servers, databases, mobile devices, and IoT devices. The external attack surface, which is accessible from the internet, is particularly vulnerable to attack, and organizations must take extra precautions to secure these assets. Additionally, an attack surface can include third-party vendors and partners that have access to an organization’s systems, creating additional attack vectors for potential cyber-attacks.
An attack surface can evolve over time as an organization adds new digital assets or modifies existing ones. For these reasons, continuous attack surface monitoring is a necessity, as it helps to identify and address all entry points and potential vulnerabilities. This ongoing monitoring and risk management process can help your organization to maintain a strong cybersecurity posture and prevent potential data breaches and other security incidents.
What is Attack Surface Monitoring?
Attack surface monitoring (ASM) refers to constantly identifying and analyzing an organization’s attack surface to manage potential security risks proactively. Attack surface monitoring provides real-time visibility into the organization’s digital footprint, including all external-facing systems and entry points that could be targeted in a cyberattack.
Effective attack surface monitoring involves using specialized tools and techniques to identify all digital assets and entry points accessible from the internet. This can include scanning for open ports, identifying IP addresses and domains, and analyzing web applications and other external-facing systems for potential vulnerabilities. The results of attack surface analysis are then used to prioritize and remediate potential security risks based on their severity and impact on the organization’s security posture.
Best Practices for an Effective Attack Surface Monitoring
Although attack surface monitoring is typically integrated into an attack surface management solution, there are still best practices you should follow, whether you’re using a chosen ASM solution or conducting attack surface monitoring as a standalone methodology.
To establish an effective attack surface monitoring strategy, you should consider implementing the following:
1. Clear understanding of your attack surface
You need to clearly understand your organization’s assets, including networks, devices, applications, and sensitive data, to identify potential attack surfaces. This includes both internal and external assets and their associated risks.
2. Continuous monitoring
Attack surface monitoring should be continuous, with regular scans and analysis of security logs, network traffic, and system activity to detect potential threats in real-time.
3. Real-time threat intelligence
Leverage real-time threat intelligence feeds and other security information to stay up to date on the latest threats and vulnerabilities that could impact your attack surface.
4. Comprehensive visibility
Effective attack surface monitoring requires comprehensive visibility across your organization’s entire digital infrastructure, including cloud, on-premises, and hybrid environments.
5. Automated alerts
Automated alerts help to notify security teams of potential threats or anomalies, allowing them to respond quickly and effectively to potential attacks.
6. Effective incident response
There should be a well-defined incident response plan in place that outlines the steps to take in the event of a security breach. It should cover containment, investigation, and recovery.
7. Regular testing and validation
Test and validate your attack surface monitoring strategy regularly to ensure it remains effective over time, and adjust it accordingly as new threats and vulnerabilities emerge.
What Makes an Effective Attack Surface Management Solution
An effective Attack Surface Management (ASM) solution provides a panoramic view of the organization’s attack surface, highlighting risks and vulnerabilities that malicious actors could exploit. Here are some of the key capabilities of an effective ASM solution.
1. Continuous Monitoring
As your attack surface changes, so should your ASM solution. Having a dynamic system for continuous monitoring and real-time alerts is crucial. This ensures that your security posture and your attack surface are always up-to-date and evolving.
2. Shadow IT Discovery
Shadow IT assets can pose a significant risk to your organization. A good ASM solution integrates with asset management tools and uses policy-driven rules and workflows to rapidly identify unknown assets. This ensures that you have full visibility of your attack surface and can remediate any issues before attackers exploit them.
“Discover how Randori can help you discover Shadow IT and find forgotten assets, blind spots, and process failures that allow attackers to bypass your defenses”
3. Risk-Based Prioritization
Vulnerabilities differ in severity and importance. An ASM solution should provide you with actionable risk scoring and security ratings based on business value, impact, existing security controls, and remediation status. Subsequently, this would allow you to focus on the issues that matter most and make data-driven decisions when allocating resources.
4. Vulnerability Management
Managing vulnerabilities can be a daunting task. An effective ASM solution should automate giving remediation tasks to the right teams, streamlining workflows, and addressing critical issues quickly.
5. Reporting and Analytics
Visibility is key to understanding your security posture. ASM should provide detailed reporting and analytics to track progress, spot trends, and inform attack surface management decisions.
6. Integration and Automation
No security solution is complete on its own. An effective ASM solution should integrate with your existing security tools and processes, streamlining workflows and enabling automation. This reduces the burden on your security team and ensures that your security posture is always up-to-date.
To defeat cyberattackers, you need a proactive security approach that recognizes your organization’s vulnerabilities and susceptible areas.
For example, Randori’s ASM solution is tailored to meet your organization’s unique security needs, providing you with the tools and insights to identify and prioritize vulnerabilities. Our Target Temptation model identifies and prioritizes risks, helping you proactively address high-level threats and protect your digital assets.