Beyond vulnerability scanning: Enhancing attack surface management for more proactive security

October 27, 2022

The Importance of Attack Surface Evaluation

By: Randori Blog

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Effective ASM uses attack surface evaluation to catalog and monitor the entire attack surface for potential threats. Discover the best way to secure digital assets through attack surface evaluation.

Attack Surface Evaluation; What is it, and why is it important?

The business world is increasingly moving to remote access and cloud-based workloads. Every time your company undergoes a digital transformation, your attack surface expands exponentially. 

The only effective security posture against cybersecurity threats is to monitor your digital footprint continuously. To do that, you need to identify your attack surface and the weak points it contains. This is where attack surface assessment or evaluation comes into the equation. 

A Complete Picture of Your Digital Attack Surface

The task of evaluating the entirety of a company’s digital assets may seem overwhelming. Advanced software and proactive strategies can make this monumental task much more manageable. With this insight, a thorough attack surface evaluation provides a complete picture of your digital attack surface, both inside and out.

Evaluating The External Attack Surface

An attack surface evaluation will look at your organization’s external assets and catalog the corresponding risk exposures. The external attack surface illuminates how your organization appears to an adversary outside your security perimeter. With each transformation, every migration to the cloud, and every new remote worker you need to support, your digital footprint changes.  Continuous monitoring is imperative to drive successful management of your attack surface.

An external view of your attack surface is invaluable regarding proactive cybersecurity protocols. An adversarial approach is a unique view of your digital assets from the outside of a company’s security perimeter. The external attack surface is how a potential cyber threat would view your company.  Cybersecurity companies evaluate the external attack surface using tools like black box reconnaissance and red teams.

Black Box Reconnaissance

Black box reconnaissance is a way to assess the external attack surface by testing the security system without prior knowledge of its structure, coding, or infrastructure. A cybersecurity professional evaluates the security perimeter completely blind. Black box reconnaissance, otherwise referred to as a black box test, can provide the most objective data on a company’s security posture. 

In-Depth Risk Assessment

One of the most useful aspects of attack surface evaluation is determining digital assets that pose the most significant risk to your organization due to how tempting a particular asset may be to an adversary. Risk factors can be secured, redesigned, or mitigated by continuously monitoring the attack surface.

Identify Attack Vectors

A good attack surface evaluation should help you identify all attack vectors in your digital footprint. An attack vector is any point within your attack surface that a hacker can potentially exploit. Adversaries can use attack vectors to create pathways past cybersecurity to access sensitive data. Typical targets are login pages, mobile applications, misconfigured cloud resources, and remote access network applications.

Highlight Possible Blind Spots

An attack surface assessment, or ASA, by an objective third party using data-driven, analytic software will be able to point out areas you are overlooking in your security posture. When you’re too close to the project, it can be hard to see the entire scope. Attack surface evaluations can help provide you with new ideas and solutions to protect your digital assets more thoroughly. 

Find Weak Infrastructure

An attack surface evaluation will point out weak infrastructure, from high-risk code to software riddled with old copyright. Weeding out problem infrastructure makes your digital footprint more resilient to the evolving threat landscape. Information from an ASA will guide you in defining your organization’s risk posture. An ASA also outlines what needs to be a priority to mitigate the posed risk.

Know When To Reevaluate

A high-quality attack surface management software will continuously monitor your digital assets. Every time you update your network (or system, application, operating system, devices, etc.), your attack surface changes.  Every change creates more attack vectors, and potentially, more digital assets become vulnerable. Continuous monitoring will inform you when to evaluate your attack surface.

Old and Poorly Secured Digital Assets

Part of your company’s attack surface includes outdated and partially unprovisioned digital assets. An attack surface evaluation will find those areas and dismantle the threat. Removing unused assets will result in attack surface reduction and easier management.

Better ASE Leads to Better Attack Surface Management

A continuously monitored, tested, and analyzed attack surface will have a more proactive and effective attack surface management strategy. Continuous attack surface evaluation leads to a company’s digital assets being better protected from potential cyber security threats.  Discover which of your company’s digital assets are at risk. Click HERE for more information.

Gain an Attacker's Perspective

Uncover your true attack surface with the only ASM platform built by attackers. Stay one step ahead of cyber-criminals, hacktivists and nation-state attackers, by seeing your perimeter as they see it.