Maintain Strong Cybersecurity Within Your Organization with Attack Surface Management

As businesses scale, they grow their revenue, add new members to their team, and their workflow is more streamlined — everything is faster and more efficient.

If you’ve recognized your own growing business in this, you know that scaling also includes new technology and devices to cut time on specific repetitive tasks or help your employees work remotely. 

This could mean adding a new device with which your workers can connect to your network from their homes, or introducing more cloud storage.

At this point, you know that every new piece of technology that you add has to be protected. You started with the basic Firewall and anti-malware that worked in the first stages of your business. With growth and diverse technology, you have more security points than ever.

The challenge has been keeping up with the overly complex cybersecurity, and that has become overwhelming. 

As your company scales, your cybersecurity must catch up because you have a larger attack surface that needs to be protected from potential breaches.  

How can you maintain the security of your increasing attack surface? 

The secret is in proper attack surface management, which has to include discovery, analysis, and mitigation. 

Discovery of Vulnerabilities and Threats

For companies that already have all the necessary tools and software to protect their organization, the first step in attack surface management is scanning for any possible vulnerabilities. 

During this phase, the internet and your network are scanned to reveal any flaws or easily accessible data that can be exploited by hackers.

Flaws can appear within your system if parts of the attack surface are overlooked and haven’t been protected. Oversights could occur if your IT team is not using the security tools as they should or if the software is misconfigured. 

It’s important to discover whether your tools are working properly, but also if your IT team or your employees need additional cybersecurity training. 

Besides scanning for possible vulnerabilities such as cloud misconfigurations, unauthorized access, and weak passwords inside your system, the discovery phase should also reveal whether some sensitive information about your company has already been leaked.

Successful hacking attempts are most likely to be caused by data about your organization and your employees that can be accessed online. 

When scanning possible vulnerabilities within your system, make sure that you’ve discovered any credentials that have been leaked online or any information about your company that can be used to conduct social engineering attacks such as phishing

Hackers are more likely to use the information that is readily available on the internet and use that as a factor to decide which business they target next.

Sophisticated tools can also scan for information about the other companies you work with — if you have their consent. 

Analysis of Data 

Information that is gathered during scanning has to be documented and analyzed to separate high-risk threats from those that aren’t likely to result in incidents. 

All priority risks have to be removed and mitigated right away, but the low-risk threats shouldn’t be ignored either. 

Nowadays, your IT team doesn’t have to analyze the documentation regarding the attack surface for hours on end. 

The fact is, AI tools scan the attack surface for possible threats instead. They also compare the surface with both new and old data to determine if there are any indications of high-risk threats or leaked intelligence that can lead to a cyber-attack. 

Also, you get a report that highlights the vulnerabilities that are high-risk and whether there is information about your employees or your company leaked online.

The final result of the analysis shows you whether your organization is protected on all levels. This gives you time to remedy the weak parts of your security before hackers have a chance to exploit them. 

Mitigation of Possible Threats 

Following the scanning and the analysis, your IT teams have a comprehensive report that emphasizes vulnerable parts of your network and organization intelligence that have been exposed. 

Some reports also come with actionable advice on what they can do to protect your organization from possible cyberattacks. That is, it suggests how to mitigate possible threats or patch up flaws in your system. 

The last and third step in attack surface management is mitigation of threats based on the forensic report. 

Cybersecurity teams will take over more complex attacks. For the most immediate threats, you already have the necessary software such as an antivirus or firewall that will deter malware right away.

The report will show if your system is vulnerable to new hacking methods that are described in the MITRE ATTACK framework — the growing database that describes new hacking techniques. 

Your IT team will then decide whether you need new tools or protocols to secure your system from these threats.

In the case of leaked business intelligence that has been scanned online, you can change passwords that have been leaked or request for data to be removed from websites.

Repeat These Steps to Discover and Mitigate Threats Early

After completing the third step in the attack surface management that mitigated the threat, it’s necessary to go back to the first step. 

The continual discovery of new threats and vulnerabilities, their analysis, and removal of the flaws in your system is the cycle of the attack surface management that must be repeated at all times.

Your business changes and has different technological needs, cybersecurity tools that you have should follow that natural progression.

However, employing new team members that log into your network, regular software updates, and new methods that hackers use to breach organizations all show that your attack surface can change within minutes.

The best you can do to secure your network is to be on top of things as you manage your ever-changing systems and network. This will ensure that you discover vulnerabilities within your system before cybercriminals do.

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