What Is Attack Surface

What is an Attack Surface – And How Can you Protect it?

As the digital perimeter of businesses continues to grow, there’s a great deal of talk about the expanding attack surface and how to protect it. There’s also a growing list of companies who, having failed to protect their massive attack surfaces, suffered breaches that exposed sensitive customer information and corporate data.

What is an attack surface – and how does one protect it? An attack surface is the collection of physical or digital points within an IT network where malicious actors may exploit vulnerabilities to gain access to a system. Attack surfaces include endpoint devices and users as well as vulnerabilities within software and connected hardware.

Protecting an attack surface has become more difficult as companies expand their digital footprint. From the adoption of cloud services to the use of remote/home networks and personal devices, a growing number of technology trends are contributing to the exponential growth of organizations’ attack surfaces.

Bitsight Attack Surface Analytics offers an effective way to gain visibility into your attack surface and the risks from cyber security threats and vulnerabilities within your digital ecosystem. With Bitsight, you get the attack surface monitoring solution you need to build better cyber security and risk management programs.

What are Attack Surface Best Practices?

There are several critical best practices when it comes to protecting an attack surface.

Monitoring your endpoints

Continuous monitoring is essential to securing your endpoints. You’ll want to monitor endpoints and devices like laptops, desktops, mobile phones, and tablets as well as digital environments like services and cloud services. New servers and network connections from vendors and employees working from home must also be carefully observed. You’ll also want to use a cyber security assessment tool to see how your internal security controls are performing and to determine which endpoints pose the greatest risk in your attack surface.

Visualizing vulnerabilities

To reduce the opportunities for attack, you can perform a cyber security vulnerability assessment to discover vulnerabilities through simulation forecasting. By running scenarios that mimic the work of a malicious attacker, you can gain a clear picture of where your vulnerable spots are, what damage they might allow, and how you can remediate them.

Reducing human error

Your users are the weakest link in your security chain, and it’s hard to protect against human error. No matter how many controls or programs you put in place to protect your attack surface, users can often inadvertently and unknowingly find a way to subvert them. Protecting your attack surface from human error requires superior awareness training. You can also limit the devices employees are allowed to use for work and require security measures such as two-factor authentication and frequent password changes.

Bitsight Attack Surface Analytics

Founded in 2011, Bitsight has become the world’s leading Security Ratings Service, helping to transform how companies address management of third-party risk and their own security performance. Bitsight’s platform delivers actionable security ratings, cyber risk metrics, and security benchmarks through continuous monitoring of large collections of objective and independently verify data.

Bitsight Attack Surface Analytics provides the tools to continuously discover and segment the assets, applications, and devices that make up your attack surface. With Bitsight, you can see your attack surface clearly, assess your current risk exposure, prioritize high-risk assets, and take actions to mitigate risk.

Bitsight also enables you to:

  • Identify digital assets. View your attack surface on a centralized dashboard that shows the location of your digital assets broken down by cloud provider, geography, and business unit.
  • Understand risk. Bitsight shows the cyber risk associated with each asset. With Bitsight, you can visualize areas of critical or excessive risk and identify areas of highest exposure to prioritize remediation.
  • Reveal shadow IT. Uncover cloud instances and hidden assets that circumvent your security controls. Assess each element of shadow IT for risk and bring it in line with corporate security policies.
  • Monitor risk in cloud environments. Gain visibility into the risk profile and security posture of your assets stored in cloud environments.

The Attack Surface Beyond the Corporate Network

With more employees working remotely and from home, your attack surface becomes larger and more difficult to protect. Remote and home networks are often unmonitored and less protected. As a result, they’re more likely to be infected with malware and to expose vulnerable services.

Bitsight helps to gain visibility into this expanded operating environment. With Bitsight, security teams can identify risk within remote networks and determine appropriate mitigation measures.

Bitsight’s mapping capability enables visibility of potential security issues associated with remote offices vs. corporate networks. Cybersecurity analytics let security professionals drill down to identify open ports or compromised systems that can be exploited by attackers. Bitsight provides visibility into risky home office networks as well. With the insight that Bitsight provides, security teams can prioritize risk mitigation strategies, adopt robust security controls, and strengthen your organization’s security posture for the attack surface beyond your corporate network.

Why protect your attack surface with Bitsight?

Bitsight is the most widely adopted Security Ratings solution. By continuously analyzing vast amounts of external information on security issues, Bitsight provides a dynamic measurement of a company’s cybersecurity posture based on objective, verifiable data. With Bitsight, organizations can make faster, more strategic decisions about cybersecurity policy and third-party risk management.

Bitsight’s technology for continuous monitoring assessment – including attack surface monitoring, cyber risk monitoring, and cloud security monitoring – have earned the trust of some of the world’s largest organizations. More than 20% of the world’s countries trust Bitsight to protect national security. Bitsight is the choice of 25% of Fortune 500 companies, 4 of the top 5 investment banks, and all 4 of the Big 4 accounting firms. Bitsight’s 2,100+ customers monitor 540,000 organizations to collectively reduce cyber risk, making Bitsight the most widely used security ratings platform across all industries.

FAQs: What is an Attack Surface?

Get a complete view of your organization’s attack surface — both on-premise and in the cloud and discover where your organization's cyber risk is.