With the increasing complexity of the IT environment due to cloud migration, remote work, and shadow IT, security and IT teams face complex challenges to maintain visibility into their systems. This is further complicated by M&A, third-party, and partner activities. According to the Forrester Report “The External Attack Surface Management Landscape, Q1 2023, “These factors render potentially large areas of organizations’ estate as unknown or undiscovered – and therefore unmanaged and unpatched – territory. External attack surface management (EASM) tools deliver critical visibility that can identify security gaps and accelerate remediation efforts.”
External Attack Surface Management Tools assist Security and risk professionals in recognizing, attributing, and evaluating the potential risks of both newly discovered and previously known exposed assets, including vulnerabilities and misconfigurations:
- In recent years, organizations have rapidly migrated their IT assets to the cloud to support new work models and digital transformation initiatives. This shift has seen the replacement of data centers and on-prem systems with IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS solutions. However, these hasty migrations have often resulted in increased asset sprawl rather than consolidation. In the rush to move to the cloud, many firms have turned to systems and tools that are unknown to or not vetted by security and IT teams.
“Organizations using EASM tools discovered, on average, 30% more assets than they knew they had.”
- Security and IT teams often face conflicting goals to fulfill their respective mandates of security, availability and accessibility. Whereas, they must work together to resolve vulnerabilities. Although the notion of a “single pane of glass” is difficult to attain, EASM tools can come close to realizing it. By integrating telemetry from various asset types and workflows for IT and security, EASM tools provide a unified source of information. These tools serve as a common resource, allowing both teams to contextualize assets, prioritize exposures, and implement remediation efforts.
- The “true security posture of an acquisition or supply chain partner is largely unknown until the two organizations integrate systems.” The combination of divergent security measures creates fresh opportunities for attackers to target weaknesses in acquired or third-party systems and access more valuable assets. During M&A due diligence or third-party risk assessment, many companies rely on the static results of cybersecurity risk ratings services. However, beyond the initial discovery, EASM tools offer ongoing monitoring of potential exposures that could result in breaches and data loss.