The relevance of continuous attack surface management across the supply chain

While supply chain attacks have always undermined the stability and reliability of businesses, in the past few years, we’ve witnessed a disconcerting spike in these incidents, creating a greater level of disruption than previously anticipated.

This has been confirmed in a recent study by the European Union Cybersecurity Agency, which revealed that the number of attacks on the supply chain may increase fourfold in the last few months of 2021. 

Ultimately, what persistent and continuous attacks reveal is that most organisations lack the means to prevent supply chain attacks. While concerning, it is not entirely surprising; modern businesses across different industries work with hundreds, if not thousands, of vendors. 

This expansive network has increased the attack surface to the point where it is impossible for even some of the best cybersecurity teams to detect these vulnerabilities. 

Furthermore, cloud computing and open-source software have combined to create a dynamic attack surface, where assets are removed and added regularly. 

A changing attack surface exposes the shortcomings of conventional security assessment tools, which only assess security standards at a single point in time; this means that the data collected is often out-of-date. 

Another factor that’s overlooked is that major cyber breaches could occur between assessments without the expert’s knowledge. Today, cyberattacks have become subtle and insidious, exploiting loopholes in the attack surface to siphon data out of the supply chain over time. 

Given the challenge involved in detecting these cyberattacks through conventional means, cyber breaches via social engineering have increased significantly. Compliance also remains a problem to surmount, with regulatory bodies becoming more stringent across their security demands. 

To manage the attack surface better, prevent supply chain attacks, and meet compliance demands, therefore, organisations need to reconsider their security strategy, including the type of technology they use. 

Today, they need to adopt advanced techniques such as continuous attack surface monitoring to secure their environment.

What is continuous attack surface management and how does it protect the supply chain? 

Continuous attack surface management (CASM) builds on the robust capabilities of attack surface management (ASM) solutions. 

ASM allows organisations to discover and monitor potential threat targets, mitigate risks, and reduce the attack surface of the supply chain; CASM, however, improves these capabilities by monitoring the attack surface for suspicious anomalies continuously in real-time. 

A real-time assessment of the supply chain, in turn, allows cybersecurity experts to respond faster to a potential cyberattack. 

What’s more, is that CASM software adapts to the evolving nature of cyberattacks, which means that it is a far more flexible and agile tool for improving attack surface management, reducing cyberattacks, and creating a more secure supply chain. 

These tools also monitor the attack surface 24×7 through automated tools that allow cybersecurity experts to categorise digital assets and monitor the attack surface more effectively. They also feature robust reporting capabilities, making it easier for security teams to send detailed reports to business stakeholders. 

These reporting features present information in a format that is engaging and easy to understand, helping business leaders get a better idea of security risks and the measures that can be taken to mitigate them. 

By improving reporting capabilities, cybersecurity experts close the gap between technical and business stakeholders and turn security compliance into a company-wide effort.

Moreover, cybersecurity experts can monitor security controls to determine their effectiveness. CASM indicates if security controls are weakening, allowing security teams to improve them by securing attack surfaces. In the long run, this creates a positive cycle where security controls adapt and evolve to mitigate cyberattacks. 

What are the organisational benefits of CASM?

Today, investing in continuous risk management tools allow organisations to create a robust and secure supply chain that mitigates cyber attacks. By taking a more responsive approach to risk management, it’s easier to convert supply chain security and digital attack surface management into an automated, real-time procedure, allowing experts to take a more proactive approach to cybersecurity. 

This, in turn, minimises ongoing compliance costs. What’s more, is that improved security and privacy controls lead to a higher ROI on security too. 

In today’s risk-averse and privacy-conscious business landscape, a more secure organisational environment increases a company’s value, imbuing greater value to stakeholders and greater confidence across the market at large. 

Create a more secure business environment with the latest best practices and tools

As vendor infrastructure expands, organisations need to reconsider the security tools and practices they leverage to manage their supply chain. 

In this context, continuous attack surface management tools make a huge difference down the line because it allows cybersecurity experts to keep pace with the evolving nature of cyberattacks. 

With this proactive approach to cybersecurity, it’s much easier to manage your attack surface with greater precision and save money by reducing cyberattacks and improving your compliance efforts.

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