In recent years, visibility has become a buzzword throughout the cybersecurity field, used by both industry vendors and cybersecurity professionals. There is no doubt that visibility is a crucial component of the mission to establish a thorough and secure IT network and to maintain an optimal security posture. Visibility can be interpreted in many ways across the cybersecurity space and to the ‘public’, so we want to help clarify what it really means in our industry and what companies need to look for when they want better visibility of their network.
When it comes to visibility providers, there are some solutions that dominate the cybersecurity market: vulnerability scanners, penetration testing, dark-web monitoring, risk rating solutions, threat intelligence and external attack surface management.
Let’s do a deep dive into the different types of visibility provided by some of these common solutions.
As the world goes digital, more exposed assets are vulnerable to hackers
Over the past decade, as more organizations have digitized, they have accumulated an ever-growing list of public IP addresses to facilitate the growing need for connection and interaction between their internal network assets and remote workers, branches around the world, and service providers over the internet. This means that the organization’s most sensitive data can potentially become exposed to the internet and be exploited or leveraged by an attacker. This includes any type of asset from domain names, SSL certiﬁcates and protocols to operating systems, IoT devices (Hello, Alexa and Siri, is it really you?), and network services. These assets are scattered across local infrastructures, cloud environments (AWS, Google Cloud), and third-party vendors and represent the easiest way to access internal networks and sensitive data.
In order to prevent potentially catastrophic attacks, it’s vital that cybersecurity teams have end-to-end visibility of all IT networks. Sourcing the right visibility tools for your network can be challenging with so many in the industry. We asked our team of cybersecurity experts to share what they see as the cyber visibility scope, or what every cyber team needs to be monitoring.
The Visibility Spectrum
- Penetration Testing
- Red Team Assessments
- Vulnerability Management
- Threat Intelligence
- Dark Web Monitoring
- Risk Scoring
- External Attack Surface Management
Penetration testing or ‘Pen testing’ as the cool kids say, are meant to simulate attacks against your IT systems, in order to find vulnerabilities that can be exploited by potential attackers and malicious adversaries. The goal of such solutions is to review and evaluate the level of security of specific IT infrastructures. Pen testing provides you with a level of visibility of your potential risks and vulnerabilities.
What’s missing for end-to-end security? – Pen testing is a very limited scope when it comes to attack simulations and is very service-specific. It mainly lacks comprehensive and continuous visibility of your organization’s network assets which also includes third-party assessments. These periodic tests are highly important but when lacking the fundamental visibility of the complete asset inventory, how can teams be sure that they are focusing on the right targets?
Red Team Assessment
Red team assessment or red teaming techniques are designed to evaluate and improve the security capabilities of an organization by simulating attacks inside the IT ecosystem. Red team assessment tools make a great fit for large-scale organizations with strong cybersecurity strategies, looking to monitor and assess their security posture.
What’s missing for end-to-end security? In terms of visibility, red team assessments provide a deep understanding of your organization’s IT weak spots and exposure risks but won’t provide a complete vision of the whole asset inventory, potentially leading you to miss network vulnerabilities in your organization’s attack surface. In addition, red teaming tools won’t provide visibility of your unknown assets which are a considerable part of an organization’s unofficial network perimeter.
Vulnerability Management solutions are designed to monitor networks and services and help diagnose security vulnerabilities within an organization’s IT environment. While delivering in-depth visibility into vulnerabilities within the OS and applications, the scans performed by this solution happen only on assets that are already known.
What’s missing for end-to-end security? Full visibility of your unknown assets which are part of an organization’s unofficial network perimeter. Such scanners are not able to detect any exposed and vulnerable assets that are unknown to the team, leaving a huge part of your network in the shadows (IT).
These solutions are commonly used by organizations in order to get a better understanding of the threats they are facing, or are likely to face in the future, by keeping track of the organizations’ network’s weaknesses. Threat intelligence tools are a great way for organizations to gain important threat insights and to provide actual recommendations for defense mechanisms.
What’s missing for end-to-end security? In some ways threat intelligence provides organizations great visibility, but only of the ofﬁcially registered public IP address and registered domains. The visibility you get is only as good as what you plug into the system, left with shadow IT and unmanaged sensitive assets facing the internet and are in great risk of exposure.
Dark Web Monitoring (a subset of Threat Intelligence)
Dark Web Monitoring solutions are part of the threat intelligence layer of protection and their main purpose is defending organizations’ sensitive data from leaking to the dark web and being traded for malicious purposes. These solutions constantly monitor and scan dark web forums and markets for any unauthorized activities and are able to alert you whenever it detects your information being advertised to the public, for sale.
What’s missing for end-to-end security? This type of solution can be considered more along the lines of “damage control” vs. a defense mechanism. Dark web monitoring alone won’t prevent the data breaches firsthand, they will assist you once the data was already leaked. Unfortunately, by the time you discover the data is advertised, it’s probably been in the hands of the criminals for quite some times. You must ensure your data is protected by security solutions that provide full visibility of your network environment, to be able to prevent such events from happening.
Security risk scoring solutions provide a simple output in the form of a high-level view of an organization’s security posture. However, the data and methods used to calculate the score are opaque and the accuracy of asset and risk attribution is unclear.
What’s missing for end-to-end security? Risk rating solution might be useful for your organization once given a clear assessment, but it won’t provide you with a full view of your exposed assets.. Using risk scoring solutions alone will only provide visibility of your already managed network assets, and will likely miss shadow IT assets at high risk, without even knowing about them being associated with your organization.
External Attack Surface Management
External Attack Surface Management solutions are specially designed for organizations to gain instant visibility into all of the IT network exposed assets and their security posture. These solutions enable real-time and ongoing discovery of unknown risk and exposures. External attack surface solutions provide the ability of getting an always up to date view of all your assets allowing you to fully maximize the current tools you are using. External Attack surface Management is the single, most efficient way to discover, manage and monitor your perimeter-less network at scale. With Shadow IT being so prevalent and human errors unavoidable, attack surface management is taking a center stage with more and more companies establishing dedicated teams for external attack surface management and reduction. The technology transformation in recent years got cybersecurity teams finding it hard to keep up with the new types of assets that can potentially cause risks to their IT ecosystem, and mapping the internet to find them seems like an impossible mission. The unique approach of external attack surface solutions allows organisations to identify the unknown assets and their potential risks and exposures.
What’s missing for end-to-end security? External Attack Surface Management is a relatively new space so there isn’t a lot out there but luckily for those who know how important visibility is, Reposify provides end-to-end visibility of all known and unknown assets. Security and IT teams get a 24/7 external view of their complete internet-facing assets inventory to immediately assess their actual security posture. Reposify provides a continually up to date visibility of all of your assets allowing security and IT teams to maintain a strong security posture.
Is more visibility a blessing or a curse?
Are you familiar with the famous saying: “facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored”? So same with your network vulnerabilities and exposures.
You might be giving 100% attention to your network environment, fighting every day to keep it safe and secure, but once you don’t implement solutions that provide you full visibility of your entire network, you’re basically ignoring 64% of your assets. 64% of your unofficial network perimeter. It’s simple: you can’t defend what you don’t know about, or what you can’t see, and in this case, there’s a lot of assets left at risk.
Those traditional risk assessment and perimeter security solutions are simply not enough! They are insufficient since they are built to discover, assess and exploit vulnerabilities in your known networks, leaving you with unknown and unmanaged assets that can easily be exploited.
Full visibility might seem like you’ll be required to invest more time and energy, but in fact, it will allocate your resources in a better way, taking “proactive” to a whole new level. Did anyone say blessing?
Reach out to us for a demo and gain immediate visibility into which assets your company has exposed at this moment. We already know and so should you.