As business environments become increasingly connected, organizations’ attack surfaces continue to expand, making it difficult to map and protect both known and unknown assets. In particular, unknown assets pose security challenges related to shadow IT, misconfigurations, invalid scan coverage, and more.

Given the growing attack surface and evolving threats, many organizations are adopting it. Attack Surface Management (ASM) Tools to discover and address critical risks.

Asset discovery is a key feature and helps drive adoption of attack surface management tools and services. Asset discovery is just one aspect of her effective attack surface management, though. Offensive security goes far beyond discovery to make the attack surface as impenetrable as possible.

Why Asset Discovery Isn’t Enough

Given the complexity and ever-expanding scale of most companies’ digital infrastructures, cataloging all known devices and assets is a daunting task, and scrutinizing to discover all the unknown. Is required. Building a complete inventory ensures that all devices and assets are subject to the same security measures and that no vulnerabilities are lurking in the shadows. This is an important and complicated step.

However, asset discovery alone is not the solution.

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Asset discovery helps security teams get a comprehensive view of the entire attack surface (also known as attack surface mapping). You can’t help your security team identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities in your attack surface. Most importantly, Asset Discovery does not support remediation of any of these issues. This means that the attack surface is still at risk of being compromised by advanced threat actors.

Attack Surface Management
Source: NetSPI Attack Surface Management Platform home screen

Asset discovery improves visibility. For attack surface management to effectively improve an organization’s aggressive security program, it must also incorporate vulnerability prioritization and remediation.

There are different approaches to vulnerability remediation, and some are more effective than others.

How to prioritize vulnerability remediation

Vulnerability remediation requires multiple phases. The first phase discovers all weaknesses in the attack surface, including identifying vulnerabilities associated with known and unknown assets. A vulnerability list is then created and ranked by severity so security teams can remediate the most urgent risks first.

Most modern attack surface management tools take this approach to some degree. These draw attention to the most dangerous vulnerabilities and often also outline remediation steps. However, the effectiveness of this process depends on the information that informs it. And if the intelligence isn’t refined or backed up by human analysis, vulnerabilities can be overlooked or de-prioritized. As a result, cybercriminals can easily penetrate the attack surface.

What is the difference between quality intelligence and other intelligence? Mainly context. Vulnerability and risk are complex decisions. And while automation can scan large amounts of data at once, technology alone often struggles and fails to detect red flags.

Relying on a combination of technology, comprehensive methodology, and human offensive security teams with deep experience and cross-domain expertise adds context that automated vulnerability management tools often lack. The result is better insight into your most critical vulnerabilities and smarter strategies to remediate them as quickly, easily and completely as possible.

Automation is a key capability for both asset discovery and vulnerability remediation. However, the best results and the strongest possible attack surface are achieved when a team of human experts is also involved.

Choose attack surface management tools strategically

Reaping the full benefits of attack surface management, including stronger and streamlined security, requires careful consideration in choosing the right tools and vendors.

First, look for solutions that enable and improve vulnerability remediation beyond asset discovery. Next, prioritize the partners who will run this process with a human operations team to find a team with tenure.

Global enterprises trust NetSPI’s experienced team, technology and comprehensive methodology to discover and address risky exposures before adversaries strike. For more information on NetSPI’s Attack Surface Management feature, please refer to the following link: connect with the team today.

Note: This expert contribution is written by Brianna McGovern. Brianna is her ASM product manager at NetSPI and has a degree in industrial engineering from Penn State University.

NetSPI is the world leader in offensive security, offering the most comprehensive suite of penetration testing, attack surface management, breach and attack simulation solutions. Through a combination of technology innovation and human ingenuity, NetSPI helps organizations discover, prioritize, and remediate security vulnerabilities. Our global cybersecurity experts work with 9 of the top 10 U.S. banks, 4 of the top 5 global cloud providers, 4 of the 5 largest healthcare companies, and 3 FAANG companies. We work to secure some of the world’s most prominent organizations, including 7 of the top 10 companies. US retailers and e-commerce companies, as well as many Fortune 500 companies. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, NetSPI has offices in the US, Canada, UK and India.

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