As technology evolves and the way we do business in the modern world changes, companies are being exposed to more cyber attacks than ever before. Things are just getting worse out there. Businesses experience an average of 145 breaches annually. To mitigate these risks, companies must actively manage their attack services and use cybersecurity procedures/software to reduce potential risk. A significant part of keeping your company’s data secure is understanding and managing attack surfaces. Here’s what you need to know.
What Are Attack Surfaces
Any company that suffered from a data breach or other Cyber attack is familiar with the idea of an attack surface. According to the NIST Computer Security
Resource Center, an attack surface is an area, system, boundary or environment where attackers try to infiltrate or seize control. And there are plenty of things that can be considered attack services. Outdated software, for instance, is vulnerable to cyber attacks and is a fairly common attack surface for malware. Passwords that don’t follow security best practices can also become dangerous attack surfaces. Then there are the unsecured connections on a network, insider threats, and poor cybersecurity practices that can lead to hacks or attacks. Securing these services is part of any organization’s responsibility to reduce the likelihood of an attack.
Attack Surface Management
Understanding your organization’s attack surfaces is only half the battle. Your company must also be able to manage them effectively. With most organizations having a larger digital footprint (cloud, remote work, etc), attack surfaces are expanding for most of them. That means every company should have a comprehensive method for managing attack surfaces. Managing attack surfaces means understanding vulnerabilities that are found during vulnerability/penetration tests, the frequency of attacks on the organization, and the average time it takes to recover from an attempted attack. Educating employees and providing security awareness training is also essential to prepare teams and prevent human error or successful social engineering, insider, and other attacks.
Automation is an integral component of cybersecurity at any company. Automating the identification of risks is critical to cyber risk management as well. Automation is useful for promptly responding to threats and better use of resources. Automation is also integral to vulnerability scanning and patching. It’s also key to protecting sensitive data and information from threats or to maintaining business continuity in the event of a breach. Automation also allows you to identify threats in real time. Moreover, it can act as a continuous form of threat identification. Being able to automatically identify attack services throughout the company with software can make a difference in the event of a possible breach. Automation also leads to speed in addressing issues, making it one of the most important parts of reinforcing cybersecurity defense.
Identify And Assess Risks
Identifying potential risks at an organization is a complex and nuanced process. Start by identifying potential attack surfaces. Anything from hardware and software to cloud services can be considered an attack surface. That means you must be thorough and conduct your identification. After that, it’s a matter of assessing their risk. Consider the likelihood of an attack on each surface. Then consider the potential impact of it to your organization. Find out what the cost would be to mitigate any risk or issues and implement the appropriate strategies. Make sure to identify the company’s most important assets, how they’re vulnerable, and what’s required to secure them. Risk assessment also requires understanding both internal and external vulnerabilities. And although it might seem counterintuitive, part of risk assessment means determining the level of risk with which a company is comfortable operating. There’s always going to be some measure of risk or potential threat but having a good risk management and assessment can be helpful for more long-term security at an organization.
Be Proactive With Cybersecurity
There’s no way a single team can track the vast array of cyber threats and expanding attack surfaces most organizations have today. Luckily, cyber risk management techniques and software are helpful for streamlining the process of discovering attack surfaces. They’re also useful for prioritization, identification, and management. By using these tools in conjunction with strong cybersecurity practices (like firewalls, anti-malware software, SOC software, and common sense/employee education), you can take control of your attack surface risk with ease.