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Apr 10, 2023

What is Attack Surface Management and What Role Does CAASM Play?

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The Attack Surface Continues to Evolve

When Armis was founded in late 2015, our focus area was the fact that Bad Actors see your IoT and IT environments as one interconnected stack, making comprehensive visibility into every device in your environment a critical need. By discovering all devices in the environment, on or off the network, we can see and secure all assets within your organization.

More recently, the term attack surface has evolved into the sum of different attack vectors an unauthorized user can use to breach a network or system. The best way to think of an attack vector is the method, path, or scenario that a cyberattacker can exploit to gain entry to a system. Examples of some common attack vectors include:

  • Phishing
  • Malware
  • Compromised passwords
  • Encryption issues
  • Unpatched software

In return, those attack vectors can target different types of attack surfaces. Examples of an attack surface in cybersecurity:

  • Digital. The digital attack surface includes all hardware and software associated with the organization’s network, such as websites, applications, code, servers etc.
  • Physical. All devices such as desktop computers, laptops, hard drives, mobile phones, and any other physical gadget the organization uses would fall under the physical attack surface.
  • Social Engineering. This attack surface focuses on your team members. Social engineering attacks use human psychology to exploit their victims to share sensitive information.

By defining and managing your organization’s attack surface, you can help protect yourself and your team from an attacker breaching your network. Unfortunately, the siloed nature of security tools often results in a complex, fragmented landscape, with neither complete visibility nor a single source of trusted information. That’s why – still today – many organizations are stuck with isolated solutions, scattered dashboards and manual work which results in human errors or outdated data.

CAASM, Yet Another Tool?

No! Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management (CAASM) is the technology focused on eliminating these asset visibility and exposure challenges. With CAASM you can achieve complete visibility over all your cyber assets, identify gaps in security faster, streamline manual processes to ultimately achieve the goal of being cyber resilient.

The Armis platform delivers on many foundational CAASM concepts:

  • See all assets (internal and external) in your environment through integrations with existing tools. This includes all information technology (IT), Internet of Things (IoT) and operational technology (OT) assets.
  • Uncover technical debt caused by end-of-service (EOS), end-of-life (EOL)  or unpatched operating systems and applications that open additional attack vectors for bad actors.
  • Identify gaps in security controls, because knowing how policies are or are not being enacted, is critical to understand the complete context associated with every asset.
  • Enrich a CMDB with additional contextual information about known or possibly unknown assets on the network, so IT and Security teams can act quickly to remediate risky situations.
  • Identify the scope of vulnerabilities, with a risk-based approach that uses threat intelligence and analytics to correlate asset exposure, the severity of vulnerabilities, and threat actor activity.
  • Remediate issues: once a vulnerability, risk, or security gap is identified, it needs to be addressed immediately.

What’s in it For Me?

CISOs know they have a data silo problem and CAASM solutions help to break them down, which leads to better management of the attack surface. In addition, having a single, consolidated asset view benefits multiple individuals and teams:

  • Enterprise Architects can take advantage of the platform to detect outdated assets and reduce technical debt.
  • IT admin teams can view and query asset inventories to achieve their business objectives.
  • Security Operations have better visibility over unmanaged assets and shadow-IT.
  • CISO’s are better equipped for audit compliance reporting.

A CAASM platform ultimately overcomes the issues of siloed solutions and enables teams to quickly identify and remediate gaps – either manually or via automated workflows. With the right tools to deliver visibility in all cloud and on-prem environments, across all platforms, and for all assets and devices, you can increase awareness of the attack surface that needs to be protected.

To find out more about the Armis Platform, join one of our test drives or book a custom demo.

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