If you want to beef up your organization's cyber hygiene and have a fighting chance against malicious actors, minimizing your attack surface is essential. You've probably heard that reducing your attack surface makes your company a “smaller target” and less vulnerable to attack – but what does that actually mean?
When the industry uses the term “attack surface,” they're referring to the net sum of vulnerabilities across your network, including all connected software and hardware. Even for smaller organizations, the attack surface can still be quite expansive. There are many steps you can take to limit the size of your network's attack surface. A smaller attack surface makes your network a “smaller target” for attackers because it has fewer weaknesses and is more difficult to exploit.
In the days of the floppy disk, firewalls were basically the zenith of cybersecurity. But the threat landscape has changed dramatically since then – and today, you're going to need a lot more than a firewall and an antivirus program to keep the wolves at bay.
Be a smaller target
Firewalls and antivirus programs can help you “dodge the bullets” so to speak, but what happens when an attacker breaks through anyways? The world of hacking has grown incredibly sophisticated, and these kinds of tools are no longer enough to prevent attacks. Firewalls and antivirus programs are just a few of the many tools and steps that organizations need to consider if they want to maintain resilience against security threats.
Minimizing your network's attack surface and being a “smaller target” is key. There are several things you can do to accomplish this.
One popular approach to minimizing the attack surface is called “micro-segmentation.” With this strategy, your “data center” is split up into smaller, logical units – each with their own unique security measures. This reduces the “surface” that is available to an attacker, should they breach the system.
However, approaches like this still fail to solve the root cause of most data breaches: unpatched vulnerabilities. An unpatched vulnerability is like a wound that's been left to fester – except infections can be cured. You can't really “cure” a data breach.
Cyber hygiene for all
Unpatched vulnerabilities remain one of the top causes of data breaches for one simple reason: They can be exploited. And if you haven't patched your system in a while, there could literally be hundreds of vulnerabilities for an attacker to choose from.
Patching is essential for minimizing your attack surface and becoming a smaller target. When you patch a vulnerability, you are ensuring an attacker can no longer gain access to your network through that entry point.
A good patch management system can also help your organization stay on top of its cyber hygiene. Patch deployment can be rough if you don't have tools to help you ensure patches are deployed to all endpoints. Poor endpoint visibility is another challenge many organizations face, but a strong patch management platform can help resolve that issue and streamline the entire patching process.
Keeping up with today's ever-evolving threat landscape is a tough job, but staying current with patch updates doesn't have to be. If you want to minimize your attack surface and make your organization a smaller target, taking a cold, hard look at your current patching regimen is a great place to start.
Facing growing threats and a rapidly expanding attack surface, understaffed and alert-fatigued organizations need more efficient ways to eliminate their exposure to vulnerabilities. Automox is a modern cyber hygiene platform that closes the aperture of attack by more than 80% with just half the effort of traditional solutions.
Cloud-native and globally available, Automox enforces OS & third-party patch management, security configurations, and custom scripting across Windows, Mac, and Linux from a single intuitive console. IT and SecOps can quickly gain control and share visibility of on-prem, remote and virtual endpoints without the need to deploy costly infrastructure.
Experience modern, cloud-native patch management today with a 15-day free trial of Automox and start recapturing more than half the time you're currently spending on managing your attack surface. Automox dramatically reduces corporate risk while raising operational efficiency to deliver best-in-class security outcomes, faster and with fewer resources.