How Can Businesses Manage Their Attack Surfaces?

How Can Businesses Manage Their Attack Surfaces
How Can Businesses Manage Their Attack Surfaces

As a business, you want to know that you’re protected against any possible cyber breaches because they cause much harm to both organizations and individuals.

Cyberattacks are on the rise every year; hackers are using more complex and sophisticated approaches than ever. Nowadays, anyone has access to resources that depict how to perform a cyberattack or even buy such services. 

If you’ve changed the way you work in recent years, you’re familiar with the anxieties that unprotected systems and networks can cause. Also, you may have already been a victim of a cyberattack — even without you knowing it. 

A cyberattack is not a question of if but when it will happen. Most companies can’t financially survive the recovery phase of the attack and need to make sure that all of their systems are, in fact, secure at all times. 

Therefore, you have multiple tools and protocols that protect your systems. As you grow, there even might be IT teams to manage your systems, but you’re still aware that the tools and systems can be difficult to manage. 

How can you protect your company from possible breaches? 

Companies use the attack Surface Management systems to manage their security once it gets difficult and over-complex.

What is Attack Surface Management? 

Attack surface refers to all the attack vectors that your organization has or different system points that might be vulnerable to attack. A cybercriminal can use those flaws to enter your system and steal data from your company.

Managing the attack surface includes discovery, analysis, and mitigation of threats. 

Discovery Phase of the Attack Surface Management

Discovery includes scanning for possible cyber threats and detecting whether outsiders interfere with your network — they might try to attack or access a part of the network they’re not authorized to access. 

What is there to discover?

Within the ever-changing network, you want to discover any suspicious activity or changes that could lead to a major incident, such as a breach of your system.

Your employees are using the system, logging in and out of them. They might not adhere to the best cybersecurity practices — because they’re not cybersecurity experts but just doing their jobs.

Another factor that contributes to changes involves regular updates within your system. Your system might be altered and potentially exposed to threats with every update.

This means that your attack surface has to be tested against the new methods described in the MITRE ATT&CK Framework and known types of attacks.

The Framework is a library of all common and new techniques that cybercriminals are known to use to breach devices and online systems. 

Analytics in the Attack Surface Management

Analysis of the systems relates to the continual attack surface analysis in real-time and analytic reports after the attack. 

Reports after a breach cover all the information about the attack so that your team can patch up flaws in your system and make it even more secure. 

The issue many IT teams can come across is that they get too many false positive alerts and discard many alerts.

To combat that, companies have shifted to risk-focused analysis.

Risk-focused analysis reduces the time it takes to respond to a threat. In cybersecurity, this is important because every minute of the attacks counts towards greater damage to your reputation and finances.

Analytics found within the report covers the details of all the alerts that you and your IT team should pay attention to. 

The analysis is done automatically and is set up to show you only high-risk threats that have a great chance of becoming possible cyberattacks or ending up with data breaches.

Cybersecurity can never be perfect, and they’re always might be low-risk flaws within the system that is continually changing. 

The best your IT team can do is deal with the high-risk issues and work their way toward the lower-risk problems that appear within the system. 

Mitigation in Attack Surface Management

The third step in managing your cybersecurity is to promptly react to the threat or patch up a vulnerability before hackers get to exploit it for a cyberattack. 

You have the tools set up to detect common threats such as phishing, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), and malware.

Any reliable anti-malware and firewall should mitigate these threats right away. These are the techniques that hackers have been using for a long time because they work on systems that lack proper cybersecurity. 

If you have more advanced security and a lot of employees, you also have cybersecurity tools that can detect unwanted access to your systems and alert them of high-risk threats in your system. 

For certain threats that are new or complex, your cybersecurity or IT team has to be involved when mitigating the threat.

Layered and Systematic Cybersecurity Works Best

The system that is protected is a layered one. It has the proper software and protocols that protect your network on multiple levels, and it covers all the devices and online systems that you and your employees use for work.

Once you have the tools that protect your company, it’s important that they are managed and optimized to work for your company. To ensure that no high-risk flaw is left behind, companies approach their management systematically. 

A systematic approach to cybersecurity follows steps in management such as discovering threats, analyzing threats, and mitigating high-risk problems.

As your company scales, you have a lot of systems that protect your company, and your IT and cybersecurity team needs to have a bird’s-eye view of the entire system and know when it’s time to react with proper tools.

Mark Funk
Mark Funk is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.