The key to maintaining cybersecurity throughout an organization is knowledge. To secure an organization’s network, CISOs must have a comprehensive, all-inclusive view of the technological environment, and attack surface analysis can help them to achieve this.

An attack surface describes all the points where a malicious actor could access the system, defining all the paths into the application, and all the channels that can be used to extract data. The attack surface also depicts the code that protects paths and data, as well as the different types of users that can access and modify the system and the data itself.

An attack surface analysis, which is the process of defining all potential vulnerabilities and the strength of protections at every access point, will become more complex as enterprises add additional paths, applications, user types, physical locations, and mobile accessibility functions.

A recent survey found that 89.1% of CISOs are concerned about the rise of digital threats across web, social and mobile channels. Remote access to critical data poses a potential increase in vulnerable access points that must be recognized, monitored and protected.

The internet of things (IoT) may also inflate the size of the attack surface. A network of distributed devices that gather and transmit data to a centralized source can provide a hacker access at the device, or at different points throughout the transmission network. CISOs must consider all of these points in a comprehensive attack surface analysis.

Related Readings: IoT Threat Modeling Example for the Importance of IoT Security

The growing trend toward BYOD policies further expands and complicates the attack surface. 85% of organizations currently allow employees to use personal devices to access company applications; however, the level to which those devices are secured varies significantly from one company to another.

As businesses increase the number of ways that employees, customers, and vendors interact with applications and data, the attack surface grows and becomes more challenging to manage. As the technological environment continues to expand, an attack surface analysis process must be scalable and repeatable.

Why Is A Threat-Centric Approach Critical For Cybersecurity?

A threat-centric approach to managing cybersecurity is fundamental to analyzing an organization’s attack surface – and it is also a primary component of an efficient threat modeling process as well. Attack surface analysis requires that a company clearly define and understand all access vectors and the protections that are in place. Threat modeling takes that one step further – incorporating assessment of potential vulnerabilities into pre-deployment analysis and post-deployment maintenance to ensure that a network sustains protections.

Attack surface analysis is the primary focus of cybersecurity efforts: understanding, from a malicious actor’s point of view, how to access and manipulate sensitive data at this point in time. Incorporating attack surface analysis into an overall threat modeling process expands protections to application design, build, and maintenance activities to create a comprehensive, end-to-end security policy.

Approaching threat modeling from the point of view of the attacker provides CISOs with an objective measurement of potential system vulnerabilities, and provides a clear path to create a plan for remediation.

A threat modeling tool like ThreatModeler with the ability to automate repetitive functions, and automatically update in response to new threats, can be an invaluable resource for CISOs and their teams. Creating a comprehensive, scalable, manageable cybersecurity process while relieving employees of some of the administrative burden can help CISOs address the security needs of an expanding, complex technological environment.

About ThreatModeler

ThreatModeler is an automated threat modeling tool that strengthens an enterprise’s SDLC by identifying, predicting and defining threats across all applications and devices in the operational IT stack. This automated platform works with all types of computing environments.

To learn more about why ThreatModeler is an excellent choice for your enterprise, request a free evaluation of the ThreatModeler platform or contact us to speak with an application threat modeling expert today.