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What is an attack surface?

What is an attack surface?

An attack surface is comprised of all of the different points of entry that hackers can potentially use to work their way into your system. These not only include digital points of entry, such as cloud servers, but also include physical points of entry, such as badge in-out systems. Exploitation of these entry points can lead to large-scale cyber security incidents. 

How can organizations reduce their attack surfaces?

The attack surface itself cannot often be reduced in scope or size, but a strong cyber security posture can effectively protect your attack surfaces. 

Established and repudiated means of securing your attack surfaces include: 

What are KPIs for success in securing attack surfaces? 

Organizations can use metrics such as ‘mean time to remediation’ or ‘positive reporting rate’ (confirming that the threats being blocked are in fact real threats) and quality and speed of incident response handling. 

How does remote work expand attack surfaces? 

Remote work means that employees may be using company-owned devices and/or personal devices to retrieve and send business information. Each of these devices represents an additional attack surface, or potential point of entry, for cyber criminals. 

With remote work, the attack surface also increases because organizations are dropping on-prem, and 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, and discussing the importance of security best practices in all-hands calls. 

Be sure to hire skilled personnel who can collaboratively work with other IT professionals to 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. Maybe you’re investing a lot, but the data shows that the strategies aren’t all that effective. Review this type of data with your staff, and determine how you can better calibrate spending with driving cyber security results.

 In addition, isolate attack surface security gaps. Explore whether or not additional cyber security technologies and budgetary expenditures could reduce the risk.