External attack surface management (ASM) refers to the process of identifying, analyzing, and mitigating security risks and vulnerabilities that originate from outside an organization’s network. The focus of external ASM is to protect against threats such as hackers, cybercriminals, and malicious software that can target public-facing systems and applications. These threats can pose a significant risk to organizations, as they can compromise sensitive information, disrupt operations, and damage the organization’s reputation.
One effective way to reduce the external attack surface is to disable unused external services. This includes shutting down or deactivating any external-facing applications, systems, or services that are no longer needed or in use. Alternatively, services can be configured to only allow access from the internal network, and users can access the services by first using a VPN to connect to the network. By doing so, organizations can reduce the number of entry points that can be targeted by malicious actors and minimize their exposure to potential threats.
Penetration testing is also a crucial component of external attack surface management. It involves simulating an actual attack on the network to identify and address vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by malicious actors. Penetration testing provides a comprehensive assessment of an organization’s security posture, allowing organizations to understand their level of preparedness for a security breach and to identify areas for improvement in their security strategies.
External attack surface management is essential for organizations of all sizes, as it helps to reduce the risk of a security breach and protect sensitive information and assets. Disabling unused external services and incorporating penetration testing into the security strategy are important steps that organizations can take to effectively manage the external attack surface. By implementing a proactive approach to external attack surface management, organizations can protect themselves against the growing threat of external attacks and ensure the security of their critical assets.