Lalit Ahluwalia is committed to redefining the future of cybersecurity by helping large and small-scale businesses prioritize digital trust. Here, Lalit highlights ten (10) often overlooked attack surface managment blind spots that are critically undermining the security posture of many organizations today and what you can do to stay safe.
You’ve heard the buzz about Attack Surface Management (ASM), but do you know about the critical blind spots that may be undermining your security posture?
In this article, I’ll walk you through ten vital ASM blind spots, backed by recent research, news articles, and expert opinions, to help you shore up your defenses effectively.
1. Unmonitored Shadow IT:
Recent research from Gartner reveals that Shadow IT has grown substantially over the last year, accounting for up to 40% of technology spending in some organizations. Shadow IT encompasses unapproved apps, devices, and services used by your employees, operating under the radar of your IT department. These clandestine elements represent a gaping hole in your security net, providing a potential entry point for attackers. By not monitoring these, you’re neglecting a significant blind spot.
To combat this, you should implement robust discovery tools, educate your staff about the risks of Shadow IT, and establish clear policies to ensure that all technology usage is well-documented and approved.
2. Third-Party Vendor Vulnerabilities:
Your third-party vendors often have access to your systems and data. If they have weak security measures, you’re exposed to risks. In fact, according to a report by the Ponemon Institute, 49% of organizations experienced a data breach caused by a third party.
To address this blind spot, you should conduct regular security assessments of your vendors, insisting on transparency about their security practices, and clearly defining security expectations in your contracts.
3. Incomplete Asset Inventory:
An incomplete or outdated inventory can mean that some assets are unmonitored and unsecured. This oversight poses a severe blind spot. You should aim for a real-time asset inventory that includes all devices, software, and services in your environment. At DigitalXForce, we offer a security combo pack comprising attack surface management and complete asset inventory to make sure all your digital assets and IT infrastructure are continuously monitored.
4. Vulnerability Scanning Gaps:
Cybersecurity firm Rapid7 conducted a study that found that 51% of organizations have unresolved vulnerabilities. Vulnerability scanning tools are essential, but they don’t catch everything. You might be leaving blind spots by relying solely on these tools. Ensure that your scanning covers not just software, but hardware, configurations, and cloud environments too.
5. Social Engineering Weaknesses:
You’re not just defending against technology; you’re also up against human ingenuity. Recent incidents like the Twitter Bitcoin scam and phishing attacks underscore the effectiveness of social engineering. These attacks can sidestep even the most fortified security systems. Consider the recent Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report 2023, which highlights a rise in social engineering incidents, with an average of $50,000 stolen from victims. Security awareness training is crucial to close this blind spot.
6. Insider Threats:
Your organization’s biggest security risk might already be within your ranks. Insider threats can stem from disgruntled employees, careless actions, or just a lack of awareness. A recent report by IBM states that 6% of data breaches are caused by insiders. To tackle this blind spot, you should implement user activity monitoring and follow the principle of least privilege.
7. Legacy Systems:
Recent studies have shown that legacy systems are often the weakest link in an organization’s security chain. Many organizations rely on outdated software and hardware that no longer receive security updates. These systems are sitting ducks for attackers. To counter this blind spot, you should establish a plan to update or replace legacy systems.
8. Undefined Incident Response Plan:
A recent analysis of cybersecurity incidents by IBM & Ponemon Institute found that it takes an average of 280 days to identify and contain a breach. Without a well-defined incident response plan, the ensuing chaos can lead to extended downtime and data exposure. Ensure that your team knows precisely what to do in the event of a breach and conduct regular drills to stay prepared.
9. Ignored Physical Security:
While digital threats often dominate discussions, don’t neglect the importance of physical security. Recent events have highlighted the significance of this blind spot. Unlocked doors, unattended servers, or insecure equipment disposal can jeopardize your organization’s data. Make sure physical security measures are an integral part of your defense strategy.
10. Misconfiguration Oversight:
Misconfigured systems are a common blind spot. A small mistake in system configuration can lead to a significant security breach. Regularly audit your configurations and follow best practices to minimize this vulnerability.
The world of cybersecurity is dynamic and filled with emerging threats. Recognizing and addressing these critical Attack Surface Management blind spots is an ongoing process. To fortify your defenses effectively, you must stay vigilant, adapt your strategy to evolving threats, and harness the latest security technologies and best practices.
By acknowledging these blind spots and proactively working to mitigate them, you can significantly enhance your organization’s security posture. Keep in mind that the digital world is in a constant state of flux, and so should your defenses. Be proactive, stay vigilant, and secure your digital realm. Your organization’s digital assets depend on it.