As network changes take place faster and faster, attack surfaces grow at a corresponding pace, increasing business vulnerability.
It’s critical to:
- Articulate the risks brought on by a large attack surface.
- Visualize how radically software-based segmentation can reduce your attack surface.
- Quantify the risk reduction so others across the business can understand the value of taking action.
But can you reduce your attack surface to zero? And what exactly are we talking about here when we reference the attack surface?
What is an application attack surface?
Application attack surfaces are the communications not restricted between endpoints in the network and an open port on one of the servers of the application in review. The bigger the attack surface, the more vulnerable your environment is. For example, a successful ransomware attack starts from an attacker leveraging the ability to (a): penetrate the network by leveraging non-monitored communication paths1 and (b): move laterally, targeting critical data or high privileged services and propagating ransomware across entire networks, before encrypting all they can (including your backups).
Reducing the attack surface by exposing only needed services/ports to the smallest group of clients is essential to stopping this type of attack from penetrating your network. A well micro-segmented network will prevent the attackers from moving laterally within the network, gaining growing control over more assets. Unfortunately, this is just one possible attack vector – there are others.
So, can you reduce your attack surface to zero?
Given all the issues that can be brought on by having a broad attack surface, it seems like the answer would be to shut the attack surface down.
Unfortunately, you can’t really reduce your attack surface to zero – unless you can:
- Disconnect all communication paths between the internet and all of the servers in your network (including IoT devices).
- Prevent anyone with access to your organization’s IT infrastructure (including network systems, laptops, virtual environments, databases, business applications, etc.) from uploading, downloading, opening emails, clicking on links, connecting their own devices, or making any changes to set configurations.
- Hire only people who make zero mistakes, 100% of the time.
Assuming connectivity with the outside world is required and human errors are here to stay, how can you realistically protect your critical applications to ensure business continuity and growth? The answer is to reduce the attack surface to a minimum using software-based segmentation. Make sure the only open communication paths between an application’s servers/processes and other applications, users, or internet sources are allowed and monitored by your set policy.
How do I prove the value of attack surface reduction to management?
Even if you know the benefits of using software-based segmentation to reduce your attack surface, demonstrating the risk reduction value of segmentation to management can be a challenge. That’s where Guardicore’s Risk Reduction Assessment Report comes in.
The report enables security teams to visualize and understand their applications’ attack surface by seeing which other assets can communicate with the application’s servers. The report then provides a view of what the attack surface looks like once unnecessary communication paths are closed and the attack surface has been minimized.
The personalized report is based on a zero-impact process that enables Guardicore to analyze your own applications. There is no required software installation and we are at no point connected to your environment. The report is based on netstat type data we receive from the organization we work with on the report. The business requesting the report chooses which application and servers to collect data from.
There are a few ways to collect us the data:
- Open-source data collector script
- A Netflow file
- A PCAP file containing packet network data
- Guardicore agents (as part of a PoC process)
The result is a document that visually demonstrates:
- The way software-based segmentation reduces the risks of a flat network.
- The quantified value of segmentation in your own business environment.
- The logic behind the generation of the graphs and numbers in the report.
How do I get a personalized report analyzing my business applications’ risk reduction potential?
Ready to try the Risk Reduction Assessment Report out for yourself? Sign up today to find out how much you can reduce your attack surface using Guardicore’s software-based segmentation solution.
How does Guardicore Centra help reduce the accessibility of the attack surface?
Guardicore Centra’s software-based segmentation enables enterprises to reap the benefits of risk reduction while supporting agile DevOps and rapid application deployment. The solution delivers optimal security at a faster speed with greater security efficacy.
Guardicore’s micro-segmentation is performed at the workload level rather than at the infrastructure level. Therefore, it can be implemented consistently throughout a hybrid cloud infrastructure and it adapts seamlessly as environments change or workloads relocate.
Micro-segmentation lets security teams create granular policies that segment applications from one another and/or segment tiers within an application. As a result, companies can accomplish such goals as:
- Slow or block attackers’ efforts to move laterally.
- Create a security boundary around assets with compliance or regulatory requirements.
- Enforce corporate security policies and best practices throughout the infrastructure.
- Apply Zero Trust principles throughout the infrastructure, even as the business extends from the data center to one or more cloud platforms.
This focus on preventing lateral movement through in-depth governance of applications and flows reduces the available attack surface even as IT infrastructure grows and diversifies.
What can I do to kickstart my program?
Now that you understand the importance of reducing the accessibility of the attack surface, here are a few things you can do get started:
- Read more about attack surface reduction: Download the paper about how to demonstrate the importance of minimizing the attack surface.
- Get the attack surface reduction report: Sign up for your personalized report today.
- Receive a Guardicore demo: See how Guardicore’s software-based segmentation solution, Guardicore Centra, can help you today.
1 For example by using weak points such as internet-facing servers and remote-desktop logins or people unintentionally downloading malicious payloads