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What is an attack surface?

An attack surface consists of all of the points of entry that hackers can use to access a system. These include digital points of entry. They also include physical points of entry. Exploitation of entry points can lead to large-scale cyber security events.

What are the mostly targeted attack surfaces? 

Devices represent one of the most commonly targeted attack surfaces. The category “devices” refers to more than just mobile devices. It refers to IoT devices too. Devices are commonly targeted due to their ubiquity. Most workers use or own at least one device. Experts estimate that 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2030.

Humans also function as targets of cyber attacks and may be considered an “attack surface” of sorts. Humans are typically considered the ‘weak links’.

How many attack surfaces do organizations typically have? 

The answer depends on the type of enterprise. Multi-national groups will have large attack surfaces. SMBs will have significantly smaller attack surfaces.

What should organizations think about in terms of securing attack surfaces? 

  • Organizations should think about their asset inventory (scope, breadth, complexity of attack surface)
  • They should consider points of exposure
  • They should take note of where bad actors may look to gain entry
  • See how risk levels compare with those of similar organizations
  • Develop an effective security program

What can help reduce attack surfaces for organizations?

Organizations cannot easily take steps to reduce their attack surfaces. This would entail limiting the use of devices.

To reduce the attack surface that an attacker can access organizations should implement cyber security solutions. Following industry best practices will also help.

Ways to secure attack surfaces include:

Businesses should also regularly revisit audit systems to check for vulnerabilities.

What are KPIs for success in securing the attack surface? 

Organizations can use metrics to evaluate attack surface security. These include ‘mean time to remediation’ or ‘positive reporting rate’ (confirming that the threats blocked are in fact real threats). Organizations can also base decisions on quality and speed of incident response handling.

How does remote work expand the attack surface? 

Remote work means that employees are using corporate or personal devices to store business data. Any device on which business data is stored represents an attack surface. The coronavirus pandemic led to the overnight expansion of attack surfaces.

The attack surface increases with a distributed workforce because organizations are moving applications to the cloud. “…Some parts of an organization’s infrastructure that were only used internally are now exposed to the internet,” says cyber security expert Omri Herscovici.

What role can CxOs play in protecting attack surfaces? 

CxOs can emphasize risk management. Doing so can include sitting in on CISO presentations and CISO led meetings. It can also include overseeing staff awareness initiatives. Another option is to discuss the importance of cyber security in an all-hands call.

Be sure to hire skilled personnel who devise and implement strategic security management protocols.

Examine metrics to determine whether or not the current budget and the current cyber security outcomes align with one another. Cyber security investments should payoff. Ensure their value by evaluating the data. Review the data with your staff. Determine how to better calibrate spending with driving cyber security results.

You can also isolate attack surface security gaps. Explore whether or not additional cyber security technologies and budgetary expenditures could reduce the risk.

Taking a proactive approach when it comes to securing your attack surfaces is imperative.