With identity theft up by 42% from last year, 7 million new phishing webpages created in 2020, and 75% of all companies experiencing a phishing attack in 2020, it’s no wonder that cybersecurity is currently an industry that’s thriving.
Part of what has led to the sharp rise in cyber breaches over the past few years is the fact that businesses are having a much harder time manually managing their attack surfaces. In this context, a digital attack surface is the total number of potential routes of attack that a hacker could take to get into a company’s data. For example, things like open ports, weak passwords, and malware are all examples of parts of the attack surface.
As businesses continue to use tech solutions to boost the efficiency of their business, whether that be through subscribing to a Software as a Solution service (SaaS) or creating more user accounts for new employees, their attack surface continually expands. At this point, even a cybersecurity expert will have a difficult time actively managing all the different parts of their organization’s attack surface.
Due to this, the majority of businesses are turning to automatic attack surface management solutions, utilizing software that covers their bases for them. In this article, we’ll be exploring how attack surface management tools work, as well as breaking down their most important benefits.
Let’s get right into it!
How does automatic attack surface management work?
Automatic attack surface management tools have three core steps around which they operate. Each of these tasks is continually run, with repeat scans ensuring complete coverage. The three main stages are:
We’ll break these down further.
Part of monitoring an organization’s attack surface is ensuring that the whole surface area is visible. Due to this, the automatic monitoring software will comb through every single internet-facing digital asset, moving through both shadow and regular IT in order to find any weak points on the surface.
Whether these be a user profile being included in a data leak or open ports that the business has not covered with cybersecurity, this phase makes sure your business is on top of all possible angles.
One additional part of the discovery stage is that the software will use the MITRE Attack Framework to create a list of possible penetration strategies that are commonly being used by hackers. With this information, they will be able to run tests on different parts of your attack surface, ensuring that you have defenses in all the right places.
The analysis stage of attack surface management puts all the aspects of the attack surface that are found into a testing face. Within this phase, the software will test for vulnerabilities, checking that everything is configured correctly and that the business has safety defenses that are suitable for the different attacks that might come through.
Within this moment, a risk portfolio is created as the software goes over your whole internet ecosystem and tests for weak points. If anything is located that could be a potential point of entry for hackers, it will be flagged by the system.
Finally, an automatic attack surface management system will move to the mitigation phase. Alongside alerting your security administrators when weak points are found within the first two stages, this part will actually do something about those weak points.
For example, the software will launch a range of vulnerability mitigation strategies, ensuring that there are defenses in place to protect your systems. Weak security will be compensated for in all the areas where this is needed.
What are the benefits of continuous and automatic attack surface management?
Now that we understand exactly how this software works, let’s move over to talking about some key benefits. Typically, the benefits of this system can be broken down into X areas:
- Complete visualization – This automatic system tests every single aspect of your attack surface, even the parts that your security team may not have been aware of. Due to its automatic processing, it will be able to create a comprehensive understanding of your attack surface in a matter of hours, something that would take a human weeks of working 9-5. That’s not to mention the fact that humans make errors, while software gets the job done in record time and more efficiently than was previously possible.
- User security – Automatic attack surface management programs will force users to change their passwords if they’ve been involved in an online data leak, helping to keep your organization’s private data secure.
- Data security – If there are any secure files that you don’t want to be leaked to the public, then it is a necessity that you invest in cybersecurity software. There’s a reason that 50% of large companies are spending over $1 million on cybersecurity every single year. An automatic attack surface management program will ensure that your data remains private, helping to keep your business out of the papers as the next company that causes the leak of millions of customers’ personal documents.
- Misconfigurations – While a security expert may have misclicked and configured a plugin wrong, an automatic program will fix any points that have led to the point of vulnerability.
With these benefits, you’ll be well on your way to creating a secure digital ecosystem for your organization.
With continuous attack surface management, you’re able to boost the security of your business. Considering how common cyberattacks have become, and that moving online has caused many more businesses to rely on digital infrastructure, there has never been a more important moment to turn to improving your digital security.
From protecting your employees to ensuring that no private data is leaked, an attack surface management system will significantly improve the cybersecurity of your business.