Attack Surface Management: How to Carry Out an Assessment

Attack surface management (ASM) is the process of identifying and understanding all points where an unauthorized user could potentially gain access to a computer system or network.

Carrying out an ASM assessment is one way to identify these potential points of attack. An ASM assessment involves reviewing all hardware, software, and procedures in use on a system or network and evaluating how each one could be used by an attacker. It also includes identifying areas where security controls are lacking or need improvement.

What is an attack surface?

An attack surface can encompass an entire organization's digital assets, which can potentially be exploited by cyber attacks to gain network entry. Entry points can be found in the operating system, applications, networks and communications systems, and physical security. The more points of access an intruder has, the greater the potential for damage to be caused.


The definition of an attack surface is constantly evolving as new technologies are developed and new threats emerge. In order to stay ahead of the curve, businesses need to understand not only what constitutes an attack surface but also how that surface can be protected.

What is attack surface management?


Attack surface management is the proactive identification, assessment, and control of risks to information systems. It is the practice of reducing the attack surface area by identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities. Mitigation may include removing or disabling access to known vulnerable software, patches, or configuration changes.


You can't protect your company from every possible attack, but you can reduce your risk by taking steps to mitigate known vulnerabilities. You also need to be aware of new threats and how they could impact your company. Stay up-to-date on security news and trends so you can make informed decisions about how best to protect your business.


Continuous security monitoring.

Attack surface management through continuous security monitoring is an essential practice for organizations to protect their sensitive data and systems. Continuous security monitoring (CSM) enables organizations to quickly detect, respond to, and remediate cyber threats. It can help prevent malicious actors from gaining access to sensitive data or systems while also increasing visibility into network activity.


Organizations can use CSM to identify risks, pinpoint anomalies and atypical behavior, assess the impact of security incidents, and ensure compliance with relevant regulations. The practice also helps IT teams respond quickly to threats by providing them with timely alerts about suspicious activity.


Malicious asset and incident monitoring.

The cybercriminal landscape of today is characterized by a plethora of threats. Cyber attacks expose sensitive data that remains accessible even after their underlying compromise. If this data remains hidden, it will be exploited by an attacker. Attack surface management systems scan and detect employee information and passwords on the normal internet and on the dark web for possible data leakages.


Malicious asset and incident management involve the identification, tracking, and implementation of security measures to protect assets from malicious actors. It also includes responding quickly to potential threats or incidents that may have occurred due to an attack surface breach. In addition, malicious asset and incident management help organizations with compliance and auditing requirements by providing clear visibility into the current state of network security.

Security ratings and risk scoring.


Security ratings and risk scoring are important tools for understanding and managing the security of computer systems. By understanding the relative risk posed by different threats, system administrators can make informed decisions about how to allocate resources to protect their systems. 


There are a variety of different security rating schemes, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. One common approach is to rate systems on a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 represents the lowest level of security risk and 10 represents the highest. More sophisticated schemes may use multiple ratings or include other factors such as impact severity or likelihood of occurrence. 


Risk scores can also be used to prioritize risks and determine which ones need to be addressed first. A high-risk score does not necessarily mean that a threat is more serious than a low-risk score; rather, it indicates that the threat has a higher potential impact if it is successful. It is therefore important to understand both the magnitude and probability of various risks in order to make informed decisions about how best to protect your system.


The beginning of a new year should bring about a general cybersecurity review no matter what sector your organization is in. Part of that review should involve an attack surface management assessment to identify network vulnerabilities and prepare for new threats.  


Cybersecurity preparedness is a critical part of protecting your business from digital threats. In this article, we’ve outlined some key steps you can take to reduce your company’s attack surface and make it more difficult for cybercriminals to gain access to your systems and data. Implementing these measures may require some effort on your part, but the payoff is well worth it. With proper preparation, you can rest assured that your business is safe from the latest cybersecurity threats.


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