What Is ASM (Assault Surface Management)?


From the standpoint of an external attacker, Attack Surface Management (ASM) is the continual discovery, inventory, classification, prioritization, and monitoring of an organization’s attack surface.

This developing cybersecurity solution assists businesses in identifying internet- and attacker-exposed IT assets, as well as monitoring them for unanticipated changes and vulnerabilities (e.g., blind spots, misconfigurations, and process failures) that raise the risk of attacks.

It’s simple for security teams to prioritize assets for remediation based on their level of attackability—the attractiveness of an asset to an attacker—from the perspective of an external attacker.

ASM has recently become one of the top cybersecurity objectives for CISOs and security teams, because to an increase in ransomware and supply chain threats, as well as recommendations from experts like Gartner.

What Is an Attack Surface and How Does It Work?

The attack surface, also known as the external attack surface or digital attack surface, is the sum of all Internet-accessible hardware, software, SaaS, and cloud assets that a hacker may find, attack, and utilize to break into a firm.

An assault surface is made up of the following sorts of assets:

Factors that Influence the Attack Surface

Your assault surface is expanding at a rate that you can’t keep up with. The assault surface of a company is made up of three basic components:

Data breaches and leaks occur as a result of failure to control the attack surface, affecting a company’s operations and reputation. This is why ASM is important since it can assist security teams in identifying, prioritizing, and monitoring assets that are actually important to an organization.

What Is the Importance of ASM for Your Business?

How Does ASM Measure Up to Other Cybersecurity Solutions?

Even if you’ve already implemented other cybersecurity solutions, ASM can work in tandem with them. Continue reading to find out how ASM can help you harden your other solutions so you can proactively detect and reduce threats from exposed assets.

Factors Affecting Attack Surface


Every day, your attack surface is growing faster than you can keep pace with. An organization’s attack surface is made up of three main factors:
ASM vs Asset Management

Asset Management is a foundational capability, but it only shows you the assets that you already know. If you want to know what you’re missing, you need the external perspective that ASM provides.
ASM vs Penetration testing Also known as pentesting, this approach works well if you’re specifically looking for known vulnerabilities and weaknesses at a single “point in time.” You can also integrate this solution with an external ASM solution to continuously discover assets and risks.


ASM vs Security Rating Services (SRS)


Security Rating Services (SRS) are fairly basic risk assessment systems that provide a scorecard-like rating on an organization based on publicly available information. You can get quick and simple insights into the public cyber profile of other parties like partners, suppliers, customers, and prospects. You can also combine that with ASM to get an in-depth analysis of security risks.


ASM vs Vulnerability Management



Vulnerability Management solutions usually consider the number and severity of vulnerabilities through a scoring system. Leverage an ASM solution if you want to evaluate the attackability of assets and how you should prioritize your remediation efforts.

ASM vs Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS)



Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) solutions use choreographed and predefined sets of operations and assumptions to see how well your cybersecurity program holds up against simulated attacks. This is also perfect for performing QA of your security tools. That said, you can still stretch its potential by incorporating ASM since this will show your organization’s real-world threats.


The Benefits of ASM

What Are the Applications of ASM?

If your firm requires the following, but not limited to, IT use cases, supplementing your existing cybersecurity program with ASM is recommended:

IT Investigations in the Dark

Shadow IT is problematic because it poses unknown and unforeseen dangers that are not addressed by typical cybersecurity systems such as Security Information and Event Management (SIEM). This is where ASM can assist you in determining the full extent of your company’s shadow IT.

Examine the risks associated with M&A and subsidiary businesses.

When a corporation buys a subsidiary, it takes on the subsidiary’s IT infrastructure, assets, and, of course, risks. External ASM solutions provide real-time visibility into subsidiaries’ attack surfaces and how they might affect the parent company.

Cloud Migrations That Are Safe

ASM enables safe cloud migrations by spotting dangerous blind spots and misconfigurations, whether it’s shifting to a remote-enabled workforce or implementing additional cloud-based technologies.

How to Pick the Best Solution

Automated Research

The optimal ASM solution, also known as blackbox discovery, should automatically and continually create the baseline of an attack surface with few false positives, without having you to manually enter which assets need to be monitored. To get started, all you need is a corporate email address or your company’s domain name.

Prioritization based on risk

The ASM solution must also prioritize these assets based on the likelihood of an attack by enemies. Bonus points if the program can additionally identify known exploits, the ease with which attackers can locate the assets, and the assets’ potential for post-exploitation.

Continuous Surveillance

Because your attack surface is constantly changing, it’s crucial that your ASM solution performs ongoing asset and vulnerability monitoring and notifies your security team instantly if a serious issue is discovered.

From the Eyes of a Genuine Assailant

Your chosen ASM tool must reveal an external attacker’s view of your assets, which can be weaponized using the path of least resistance. Despite being classed as critical, the ASM tool should avoid vulnerabilities that don’t necessarily pose a major threat because they don’t provide an obvious attack path for attackers.

Findings That Can Be Put to Use

The data from the ASM solution must have sufficient context and information that is searchable, as well as remediation suggestions that can assist your security team in fast improving your company’s cybersecurity posture.

Visibility in Real-Time

It’s not practical for you or your team to manually check the ASM solution for the newest attack surface modifications. The ideal ASM solution should offer real-time visibility and alerts for important issues (such as newly identified vulnerable assets), as well as regular summary notifications for non-critical concerns (i.e., newly discovered IPs).

Look for other useful features, like as role-based access control and reporting, to get the most out of your ASM solution.