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Threat Exposure Management: Safeguarding Your Organisation Against Data Breaches

Threat Exposure Management aims to fill gaps and develop strategies to determine vulnerabilities and mitigate risks quickly and logically

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Data breach is not an uncommon term in today's world anymore, and India has had multiple cases of it in the past few years. According to cybersecurity firm Surfshark, India ranks sixth in the list of countries with the highest cases of data breaches. During a data breach, information is stolen from any system without the knowledge or authorization of the system's owner. The stolen data may have sensitive information, including confidential data of customers and companies such as card numbers, trade secrets and even information that can put national security at risk. 

What are the forms of data breaches?

There are threats that enterprises are aware of; however, there are other threats where even awareness is not on par. The most common forms of data breaches occur through hacking and malware attacks. The others include insider leaks, payment card fraud, loss or theft of systems with confidential information, disclosure of information due to negligence etc. 

There are two stages in data breaching, including the research stage done by the hackers in which they identify weak spots in the company's system. The second stage is the ambush done on the company, which gives the hacker access to the company's and employees' sensitive and confidential information.

What is Threat Exposure Management, and why it matters?

India, as of now, has not enacted any specific legislation regarding data protection. However, the Indian legislature did amend the IT Act (2000) to include two sections which are 43A and 72A. This amendment now gives the right to compensation for improper disclosure of personal information. 

However, as India is fast transforming into a heavily digitalised ecosystem, Threat Exposure Management has become critical for every organization. 

It is a new approach designed to help organisations identify, prioritise and manage unexpected risks or exposures. This approach is different from standard threat management practices and takes a contextual view of the threat and focuses on establishing processes to gather and consolidate information, enabling better and faster decision-making.

The term Threat Exposure Management is new, but its concept is not. It combines an organisation's existing asset and vulnerability management capabilities with a new suite of tools. This process aims to fill gaps and develop strategies to determine vulnerabilities and mitigate risks quickly and logically. 

Some of the tools and technologies in identifying and alleviating risks in this space include:

1.External Attack Surface Management (EASM):  This benefits an organization with continual identification, classification, monitoring and prioritisation of the attack surface from the viewpoint of an external hacker. It supports enterprises by identifying risks from internet-facing systems that they may be unaware of.

2.Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management (CAASM): As technology environments become increasingly complex (both on-premise and in the cloud), managing internal and external digital assets becomes imperative. The CAASM combines people, processes, technology and services to discover and manage an organization's assets to reduce the exposure that could potentially be exploited via malicious attacks. It enables security teams to solve asset visibility and vulnerability challenges. 

3.External Asset Surface Management (EASM) and Digital Risk Protection Services (DPRS): EASM discovers internet-facing assets and associated vulnerabilities such as credentials, servers, third-party software code vulnerabilities and public cloud service misconfigurations. DPRS protects critical digital assets and data from external threats.

4.Breach and attack simulation (BAS) technologies, including Risk-Based Vulnerability Management (RBVM): BAS tools run attack simulations continuously and automatically, assessing the efficacy of network segmentation and which vulnerabilities are accessible. They also validate that the security tools are operating as assigned. RBVM are niche BAS use cases and aims to assist security teams in prioritising the correction of vulnerabilities with a broader range of inputs for evaluating real-world threats.

5.Threat Intelligence Platforms: These platforms help security teams to improve detection and response efforts, prioritize vulnerabilities, threat modelling and others. They can automatically gather, reconcile and organise data from diverse threat sources and formats.

6.Pen testing:  It is a security procedure that targets a company's perimeter with restricted attacks to identify vulnerable spots on the attack surface.

7.Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS): It uses configured, predefined actions and assumptions to see how well your cybersecurity program can withstand simulated attacks.

8.Security Rating Service (SRS): A relatively simple risk rating system provides organisations with a scorecard-like rating based on publicly available information.

Threat Exposure Management is relevant in today's world because it can be customised to every organization's needs. It acts as a shield which helps to deflect undesirable conflicts and helps companies as a buffer that absorbs potential risks. More importantly, it helps the organization resolve threats from the past and identifies present and future threats which may affect the company adversely. It helps with risk management and exposes the system's vulnerabilities, which can help make the organization run smoothly once the bugs are fixed. It is also more cost-effective for the company in the long run and can be changed depending on the long and short-term goals.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tags assigned to this article:
threat exposure management cybersecurity cyber attacks

Srividya Kannan

Kannan is Founder & Director, Avaali Solutions

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