5 Signs Your Business Needs an Attack Surface Evaluation

Attack Surface Management
Best Practices
5 min read
James Mignacca
March 29, 2023
James Mignacca
March 29, 2023
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Definitive Guide to Attack Surface Management for MSPs
This guide is designed to help MSPs explore attack surface management technologies and how they can support a stronger security posture for their clients.

Does Your Business Need an Attack Surface Evaluation?

Your business’s attack surface widens with every additional digital asset you add. Data proliferation, orphaned data, and general data sprawl impact your IT infrastructure, making cyber asset visibility more challenging to manage.

Ensuring cyber asset visibility and governance across your infrastructure allows you to identify potential risks before they become an issue. It also helps you understand how your systems are configured so that you can better protect them from malicious actors, and quickly detect and neutralize suspicious activity.

Unfortunately, many businesses lack adequate cyber asset visibility due to outdated processes or inadequate resources. This leaves them exposed to a variety of security threats that could be avoided with a cyber asset attack surface management (CAASM) approach.

Per Gartner, attack surface strategy considers three areas of focus: CAASM for internal assets, Digital Risk Protection Services (DRPS) for brand protection and compliance, and External Attack Surface Management (EASM) for external and internet-facing assets.

Understanding your business’s attack surface starts with knowing where your business’s data is. An attack surface assessment (or evaluation) can help you and your team identify your business’s use cases and their criticality based on risk scoring.

But how do you know when your business needs an attack surface evaluation?

Here are five signs that indicate it may be time:

1. You don't have visibility into your cyber assets

If you don't have a clear understanding of what assets you own—including hardware, software, cloud services, etc.—you can’t maintain an accurate inventory of the data they contain. This limits your ability to accurately assess your overall security posture, rank risk and identify any gaps in protection that could leave you vulnerable to attacks.

2. Your IT team is overwhelmed with manual processes

Common processes like patching and updating can quickly become overwhelming if they're not automated properly—especially if your IT team is already stretched thin due to other tasks like responding to user requests or managing new projects. Automating these processes will help free up resources so they can focus on more strategic remediation instead of just keeping the lights on.

3. You're using outdated technology

Legacy technology can increase the chances of vulnerabilities being exploited by attackers since newer versions often include patches for known issues found in older versions (like Windows XP). Upgrading regularly helps ensure that all assets remain secure against threats targeting the legacy systems they may still use. Attack surface management tools and methods are shifting to meet emerging use cases. Matching your use cases to CAASM, DRPS, and EASM outcomes will help you determine whether you need to update your security stack and its capabilities.

4. You've experienced a breach before

An attack surface evaluation will help identify if prior weaknesses and entry points in your infrastructure have been properly remediated and strengthened.

5. You're expanding rapidly

As your business grows, so does your digital footprint. This creates more opportunities for attackers looking for ways into your corporate networks. An attack surface evaluation will provide insight into any areas where additional protections need to be put in place as well as highlight any existing weak spots that should be addressed immediately.

An attack surface evaluation ensures you gain visibility across all cyber assets owned by your business. It also reduces the risks associated with potential data leaks or breaches caused by malicious actors exploiting vulnerabilities within those assets. By recognizing these five signs, organizations can better guard against potential threats while also staying ahead of compliance requirements.

The Cavelo platform can help you conduct an attack surface evaluation. Continuous data discovery scanning gives you complete visibility into all assets that connect to your organization and all of the sensitive data those assets collect and store. The platform helps you identify and match your use cases and see your entire environment in one centralized location.

Check out our Definitive Guide to Attack Surface Management for MSPs to explore how attack surface management is changing and how new technologies like CAASM, DRPS, and EASM can help you continuously evaluate your attack surface, align to best practice principles and achieve a stronger security posture.

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