4 Reasons Behind the Attack Surface Expansion of Modern Cloud Stack

Growing attack surfaces are the aftermath of growing cyber assets. So much so that according to a recent report by Gartner, the number one trend in security and risk management today is attack surface expansion. 

With the adoption of new technologies and cyber environments, organizations and security leaders must evolve security strategies and practices in order to avoid emerging threats. This blog covers the four reasons behind attack surface expansion and how to rethink cyber asset security around them.

1. Rapidly growing multi-cloud trend

Global cloud adoption is expanding rapidly due to more and more modern organizations’ desire to keep up with digital innovation and scale around industry demands. However, sticking to a single public cloud provider is no longer an ideal solution for enterprises spread across multiple geographies. 

The motive is simple: finding one that meets all organizational needs is a struggle in itself. So, the end product of this simple problem-solution brought the multi-cloud trend for many enterprises. 

According to a recent survey conducted by Gartner, 81% of respondents remarked that they are operating with two or more cloud providers.

Let's not go without mentioning that another reason behind the multi-cloud strategy, in other respects, is born out of a desire to preserve a vendor-agnostic approach and avoid vendor lock-in. Namely, multiple vendors offer best-breed solutions to stay ahead of the competition. That, without question, is highly advantageous for multi-cloud adopters.

  • Lack of a one-fits-all solution
  • Vendor agnostic approach

Why the multi-cloud trend adds to attack surfaces

How practical it may be, cloud computing brings about organizations’ attack surfaces exposed to new security risks outside their controllable assets. However, as with any innovation with pros and cons, the multi-cloud trend paves the way for innovative security and visibility solutions.

Organizations need to move beyond traditional approaches to security and compliance monitoring, vulnerability detection, and response to improve security coverage of a broader set of assets. In the following parts of the article, we will discuss another security trend born out of this exact need, CAASM.

2. More complex and layered cloud environments

With the multi-cloud approach, organizations face increasingly complex cloud environments challenging to maintain compliance. Ultimately, businesses start looking for SaaS solutions to reduce blind spots and monitoring challenges. 

In the light of this, visibility will be more critical than ever, allowing businesses to gain security and compliance insights across multiple providers and instances to eliminate gaps. If organizations fail to achieve sufficient visibility over multiple environments, bottlenecks and blind spots could turn into cyberattacks or internal governance issues. 

Nonetheless, a single cloud environment is already an existing potential attack surface–additional infrastructure only complicates the matter further.

3. Multiple cloud accounts for each developer 

Another rising trend in security and risk management, using multiple cloud accounts for developer teams, is an outcome shaped by security concerns and practicality for organizing larger serverless applications. 

Development managers aim to preserve the simplicity of design and low-code implementation state as their serverless projects grow. While there are many methods to develop and deploy applications to production, one that is highly recommended is to use multiple cloud accounts. In AWS, for example, this has several advantages, including:

  • Ability to centrally manage the security, compliance, and billing of these accounts,
  • Prevent custom scripts and manual processes
  • Minimizing risks to producing assets

4. Visibility problem for ever-expanding SaaS toolchains

Organizations with over 1,000 employees use more than 150 SaaS applications.

Fast-paced modern organizations adopt a growing number of SaaS applications to accelerate their day-to-day workflows. As SaaS usage grows, however, so do organizations' attack surfaces. The top reasons for SaaS security are:

  • Misconfigurations
  • Lack of a comprehensive identity and access management
  • Lack of a disaster recovery plan
  • Data retention issues
  • Privacy and data breaches
  • Inability to meet regulatory compliance 

In order to keep up with the continuously evolving SaaS platforms, organizations need to keep their security and compliance policies up to date and scalable enough for a changing environment.

Understand the misconfigurations that lead to SaaS security vulnerabilities.

CAASM to automate the discovery of security gaps

As mentioned in Gartner’s recent report about top security and risk management trends, Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management (CAASM), along with Digital Risk Protection Services (DRPS) and External Attack Surface Management technologies (EASM) will help CISOs secure environments against the growing attack surfaces.

Learn the difference between CAASM and CSPM

CAASM, specifically, will support security teams to:

  • Gain visibility across their entire cyber assets, including cloud and SaaS 
  • Automatically identify and cover security gaps
  • Speed up their incident response and remediation

Fortify your security posture

Modern organizations should be aware of their constantly evolving and expanding cyber assets. The traditional security monitoring, identification, and tracking approaches are not flexible enough to cover the growing attack surfaces. In order to protect your organization from emerging threats, you must be able to discover vulnerabilities in time and keep up with the ever-changing digital environment. 

How does Resmo Help?

Resmo brings the multi-cloud and SaaS assets in one place with real-time and easy-to-use integrations. No need to go back and forth between cloud providers. You’ve one view of all your modern cyber assets and can set up custom rules and alerts and query everything with SQL. Check out our product page and request a demo if you’d like to learn more.

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