What is External Attack Surface Management (EASM)?
External Attack Surface Management (EASM) is a crucial component of modern cybersecurity practices. It involves identifying and managing the vulnerabilities and exposed assets that a company may have outside of its internal network. By doing so, EASM provides organisations with a comprehensive understanding of their security posture and helps them mitigate potential risks.
According to industry analysts, the increasing use of cloud services and the expanding digital landscape have made external attack surfaces more complex and challenging to secure. This has led to the rise of EASM solutions that offer comprehensive visibility into an organisation's external assets and vulnerabilities.
EASM addresses a number of concerns for security teams. It helps them identify blind spots and potential security issues that may have been overlooked. It also strengthens the organisation's defence against sophisticated attacks by providing real-time visibility into potentially compromised systems. Furthermore, EASM enables security professionals to assess cyber risk and response times more effectively, reducing the likelihood of false positives or compliance gaps.
In summary, External Attack Surface Management is crucial in enhancing an organisation's security strategy. It provides comprehensive visibility, identifies vulnerabilities, and strengthens defences against potential threats. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, EASM solutions are becoming increasingly important in maintaining a strong security posture.
Why is Attack Surface Management Important?
Attack Surface Management (ASM) plays a crucial role in strengthening an organisation's security posture by providing comprehensive visibility, context, and prioritisation to address vulnerabilities before they are exploited by external threats.
ASM allows security teams to gain a complete understanding of their digital assets and external attack surfaces, including cloud services and unknown assets. By continuously monitoring and analysing the security measures in place, ASM tools help identify blind spots and potential vulnerabilities in real-time, enabling prompt remediation and reducing cyber risk.
Vulnerability assessments and penetration testing are key components of ASM. These assessments provide organisations with valuable insights into potential risks, allowing them to address security issues proactively. By uncovering potential security vulnerabilities and assessing the effectiveness of existing security controls, vulnerability assessments and penetration testing help organisations stay ahead of sophisticated attacks.
In addition, ASM assists organisations in meeting compliance requirements. By identifying compliance gaps and monitoring for compliance drift, ASM tools help organisations ensure that their security strategy aligns with regulatory standards and industry best practices.
Benefits and Limitations of ASM
Attack Surface Management (ASM) is a crucial component of a comprehensive security strategy, offering both benefits and limitations in addressing dynamic attack surfaces and evaluating potential vulnerabilities.
- ASM provides organisations with a comprehensive understanding of their external attack surface by identifying and monitoring their digital assets, external assets, and cloud services. This allows security teams to proactively manage security measures, reducing blind spots and potential risks.
- By mapping to MITRE ATT&CK®, ASM offers wider coverage compared to traditional penetration testing, enabling organisations to gain a deeper understanding of potential vulnerabilities and cyber threats.
- ASM supports continuous operations by providing real-time visibility into security issues and enabling efficient response times to mitigate potential risks.
However, ASM also has limitations.
- While it provides comprehensive visibility into potential security vulnerabilities, ASM does not include vulnerability exploitability validation. This means the identified vulnerabilities may not necessarily be exploitable, potentially leading to false positives or unnecessary remediation efforts.
- ASM may have limitations in identifying sophisticated attacks that utilise advanced techniques or specifically targeted vulnerabilities. It is essential for organisations to complement ASM with other security tools and practices to ensure comprehensive protection against cyber threats.
Let's Start with the Basics About EASM
Let's start with the basics of External Attack Surface Management (EASM). In today's digital landscape, organisations face numerous security challenges stemming from their assets exposed to the internet. EASM plays a crucial role in discovering and managing vulnerabilities in these assets, ultimately strengthening the organisation's security posture.
EASM tools provide comprehensive visibility into an organisation's digital assets, both known and unknown. By scanning the internet and other data sources, these tools identify and assess potential risks and vulnerabilities that cyber threats could exploit. This visibility allows security teams to gain a complete understanding of their external attack surfaces, including cloud services, open-source code, and other elements.
One of the critical advantages of EASM is its ability to prioritise remediation efforts. Through risk assessments, EASM solutions help security professionals identify critical assets and potential security vulnerabilities. By providing insights into the external threats faced by an organization, security teams can deploy the necessary security controls and develop a proactive security strategy. EASM also allows for real-time monitoring of attacks, reducing response times and minimising the impact of sophisticated cyber threats.
Real-time inventory plays a crucial role in external attack surface management by providing organisations with a comprehensive understanding of their digital assets and external attack surfaces. It enables security teams to gain complete visibility into their external-facing resources and proactively identify potential security risks and vulnerabilities.
One key concept in real-time inventory is the Mean Time to Inventory (MTTI). MTTI refers to the timeframe in which an organisation can discover and catalogue its assets. By using automated tools and continuous monitoring, MTTI reduces the time it takes to discover new assets, eliminating blind spots and enabling proactive asset discovery.
The benefits of real-time, automated monitoring significantly strengthen an organisation's security posture. First, it allows security teams to detect and respond to potential threats and attacks in real time, minimising the risk of compromise. Second, it provides a single source of truth for security professionals to assess and manage their external attack surface, ensuring that no critical assets or potential vulnerabilities are overlooked. Additionally, real-time inventory helps identify compliance gaps and issues, allowing organisations to quickly address and resolve them.
Attack Surface Visibility
Attack surface visibility is the concept of having a complete understanding of an organisation's external attack surfaces, which are the points of entry for potential attacks. It refers to the knowledge and visibility of an organisation's digital assets that are accessible from the public space.
Managing external assets is crucial for any security team as it helps them identify potential risks and vulnerabilities in their security measures. Without comprehensive visibility into their attack surface, organisations are often left with blind spots that can be exploited by cyber threats.
EASM technology is vital in strengthening an organisation's security posture by continuously scanning and monitoring its public-facing assets. These tools provide real-time insights into an organisation's attack surface, helping security professionals identify potential security risks and respond to sophisticated attacks.
Exposure Detection and Prioritisation
Exposure detection and prioritisation play a critical role in External Attack Surface Management (EASM), providing organisations with a comprehensive understanding of their potential vulnerabilities and enabling them to strengthen their security posture.
The process of exposure detection begins by identifying and assessing all layers of the attack surface, including external assets, digital assets, cloud services, and open-source code. This analysis ensures a complete understanding of the organisation's security measures and potential blind spots.
Once the attack surface is mapped out, a thorough risk assessment is conducted to identify potential risks and vulnerabilities. Security professionals leverage EASM tools and security measures to gain deep visibility into their external threats, enabling them to detect and respond to real-time attacks effectively.
After exposure detection, prioritisation becomes crucial. Organisations must prioritise vulnerabilities based on criticality and severity to allocate resources efficiently. By determining which threats pose the most significant risk to their systems, organisations can address the most critical vulnerabilities first, reducing the likelihood of sophisticated attacks and potential security breaches.
Risk prioritisation empowers organisations to create a security strategy that focuses on addressing the most significant threats promptly. This approach enhances response times, minimises false positives, and ensures compliance with regulatory requirements. Ultimately, deploying an EASM solution strengthens an organisation's security posture by providing comprehensive visibility and enabling swift action against potential security vulnerabilities.
Here at DarkInvader, we provide External Attack Surface Management and Dark Web Monitoring to help managers predict, plan and prepare for future security breaches. Get in touch today for more information.