Knowing the Battlefield Key to Winning the War

Shannon Ragan April 26, 2016

We talk about the attack surface (a lot) here at Skybox because we see it as the battlefield of cyber mayhem – from the multitude of vulnerabilities in existence today to complex, fluctuating networks ripe for configuration errors or risky access paths. But understanding the attack surface and reigning it into view is key to effective security programs. You have to see the battlefield in order to control it.

Many enterprises have dozens of network and security devices and products deployed to help keep the network secure and running smoothly; however, the data they produce is often disconnected and disparate, requiring time and resources to connect the dots. Now more than ever there is a great need for solutions taking a holistic approach to network and security management that can systematically control and reduce the attack surface.

  • Why Can’t Everybody See the Attack Surface?

It’s a tall order to visualize a moving target like the attack surface, especially in enterprise-scale networks in a near-constant state of change. Gathering and correlating the massive volumes of network and security data that build the picture of the attack surface is the first and foremost major challenge.

Enterprises may have thousands—even tens of thousands—of vulnerabilities on their network at any given time; policy rules embedded in firewalls, IPSs and other security systems add another dimension to the picture. And every day, new vulnerabilities are announced and rules introduced. Beyond correlation, this data has to be analyzed in order to derive actionable intelligence that can be of use to security teams.

What’s more, these security teams use their own point solutions creating data pools whose data is rarely communicated effectively (if at all) across the organization.

  • Consequences of Fighting Blind

Without a solution to unify disparate data, foster inter-team collaboration and translate complex network topology and configuration in a simple picture, enterprises will struggle to manage and systematically shrink their attack surface. This can have the following consequences:

  • Without the ability to identify or prioritize vulnerabilities, misconfigurations or overly permissive rules, organizations are at an increased risk of data breach.
  • Disconnected data pools and manual analysis slows reaction time to new threats, sometimes taking weeks to determine the potential threat impact and patch associated vulnerabilities.
  • Lack of insight around vulnerabilities and risk makes it difficult to demonstrate a business case for additional resources and harder to receive security investment.
  • The weeks and months required to gather information on the entire network topology, vulnerability data and rules and configurations increase the cost of an audit.
  • Inability to compare vulnerability data and policy violations across groups and track progress makes itimpossible to systematically manage remediation.

Attack surface visualization solutions improve ROI on existing investments and increase collaboration
To tackle cyber mayhem and avoid these consequences, you have to see the battlefield – from above and down in the trenches. Attack surface visualization solutions that provide comprehensive overviews and in-depth focus will give you a dynamic tool to defend cyberattacks, prevent data breaches and improve your security management operations.



Learn more about your attack surface – how to see it and how to control it – in our latest whitepaper.

See how attack surface visualization is changing the security status quo and powering agile, adaptive enterprise security.

Shannon Ragan is the Senior Communications Manager at Skybox Security. Prior to joining Skybox, Ragan was a writer and editor in the legal and STEM fields. She has a passion for the changing world of cyber security and is a self-confessed news junkie. Ragan earned her BA in English at Webster University in St. Louis.

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