The Definitive Guide to Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management (CAASM)

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Cybersecurity is all about cyber assets. When companies are hacked, be it through their software, cloud workloads, code repositories, ephemeral devices, identities, and more – they are all potential points of entry for attackers.

Increased adoption of API-first, cloud-first, and digital transformation helps companies accelerate the delivery of new business initiatives and experiences for customers. Additionally, the rise of remote work enhances business continuity, workforce flexibility, and employee satisfaction. But these benefits come at a cost. The “cyber asset” universe continues to expand as we progress with cloud and digital transformation to keep businesses moving faster. The more cyber assets an organization has in its environment, the harder it becomes to understand the full scope and impact of an attack or breach.

Enter Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management (CAASM).


Read on to learn:


What is Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management (CAASM)?

Gartner defines CAASM as “an emerging technology focused on enabling security teams to solve persistent asset visibility and vulnerability challenges.”

CAASM elevates all of your existing data and point solutions into a single and unified view of your entire cyber asset universe.

CAASM technology enables security and IT teams to:

  • Gain complete visibility across all their assets (both internal and external, cloud and on-premise) via API integrations with their existing tools
  • Query their consolidated data
  • Identify the scope of vulnerabilities and gaps in security controls
  • Accelerate incident response and remediate issues

Why is CAASM an emerging technology?

The simple reason is that the world has changed.

Today, it’s difficult for IT, security, and cloud teams to answer even the most basic questions about their complex environments and cyber assets.

  • How many known and unknown cyber assets does my organization have?
  • What are my most critical cyber assets (People, Data, Devices, Networks, Infrastructure, Applications, etc.)?
  • What is the blast radius for vulnerable users, cloud workloads, or endpoints?
  • What accounts are in my AWS organization and which accounts are vulnerable?
  • Does my organization have any suspicious code commits and git behavior in Bitbucket and GitHub pull requests (PRs)?
  • And more…

How do you secure what you can’t see or don’t know you have? What is your cybersecurity hygiene and risk posture today?

Context across your entire infrastructure and cyber assets is the new frontier of cybersecurity.

Understanding your entire cyber asset landscape and the relationships across your security posture is nearly impossible due to the broad span of siloed tools and sheer volume of asset data. A complete understanding of all cyber assets and their relationships puts the context to build a rock-solid  cyber security program within reach.

Cloud adoption, digital transformation, and API-first architecture have fundamentally changed how we build, manage, and secure the enterprise. Enterprises use specialized infrastructure and security tools, each of which has its own definition of “asset”. It’s difficult to secure or even know what assets you have across your teams and organization.

CAASM Benefits & Use Cases

CAASM can be a powerful tool to boost visibility across cyber assets and accelerate SecOps actions. With a comprehensive CAASM solution, security teams gain detailed context and a unified view across their tooling and cyber assets for a more effective security program. CAASM empowers organizations to gather all internal and external cyber assets through API integrations, query them, and remediate security control and vulnerability gaps continuously.

Benefits of a CAASM solution include:

  • Improved cyber asset hygiene and security posture management. Nearly 66% of organizations have an incomplete or obsolete asset inventory. JupiterOne creates a single source of truth to help you go beyond visibility to observability - the ability to understand a system's health based on emerging properties and patterns. The result is improved security hygiene and posture management across your entire security operations.
  • Centralized view into all of your software-defined assets. Assets are more than just devices with IP addresses. They are operational entities – code repos, data stores, IAM policies and roles, security controls, people, vulnerability findings and more. A truly dynamic CAASM solution, like JupiterOne Cloud Asset Management, gives you complete visibility into all of your cyber assets in one platform. CAASM tools help you discover and consolidate your asset data by ingesting data from across all your infrastructure and tools saving you time and resources
  • Understanding cyber assets through contextual relationships. The best CAASM solutions utilize a graph-based model that allows customers to not only track and monitor assets, but also analyze and map all intra-asset relationships. This rapidly adds context to your cloud security, compliance, IAM, vulnerability management processes.
  • Your teams get answers to complex questions across their assets. The power  of seeing across all your cyber assets and their relationships is in the ability to query them. Advanced CAASM tooling, like JupiterOne Smart Search, allows users to query their entire asset universe and to get answers to the questions that matter most. What are all of my assets, who owns them, which apps are vulnerable, what are systemic threats to my system, and much more can be answered with a CAASM solution.
  • Accelerate detection and response across security operations. An effective CAASM tool helps you and your team quickly determine the blast radius for any attack surface and fast-track investigation and response with the ability to visually explore your security architecture or query for actionable context instantly.
  • Monitor your asset compliance through automated security enforcement. Automation is a natural requirement as teams scale. It’s no different in security. An advanced CAASM tool, like JupiterOne Security Policy as Code feature, automates the discovery and management of cyber assets and aligns them with required security policies. JupiterOne reduces complexity by automating security policy enforcement.
  • Continuously monitor compliance drift across all cyber assets. Whether you have no security program, a distributed security team model, or a mature security organization - CAASM helps organizations automate the collection and analysis of cyber asset data helping you avoid any compliance gaps and security issues.

Teams can use CAASM for specific use cases, including:

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Use Case

Key Benefit of CAASM

Answer Questions like...

Cyber asset management

Gain a complete view across your entire cyber asset inventory to improve cybersecurity hygiene and security posture. Add context and map relationships across cyber assets to take action and accelerate response times.

  • How many cyber assets do I have?
  • What are my most critical assets and problems?
  • Which findings have the greatest risk of critical impact?
  • What is the blast radius of a compromised cyber asset?

Cloud Security

Gain a complete understanding of your AWS, GCP, and Azure cloud asset inventory and cloud security posture. CAASM helps your teams find misconfigurations and continuously monitors cloud assets for any compliance drift.

  • Are any of our data stores exploitable?
  • Are my cloud assets hardened against common misconfigurations?
  • Do I have any overprivileged workloads or users?
  • Are there any applications or workloads that are internet-facing that should not be?

Vulnerability and Incident Response Context

Enrich incidents and vulnerabilities with the necessary context for triage and response. CAASM accelerates SecOps response times by identifying specific, critical risks and the blast radius associated with vulnerability findings and incidents.

  • What attack scenarios have the greatest likelihood and impact?
  • What’s the blast radius of a compromised device, user, or other asset?
  • Which applications are vulnerable and where are they operating?
  • How can I reduce noise from scanners and focus on the most important vulnerabilities I have?

Identity and Access Governance

User identity inventory automates user access reviews and detects permission and entitlement issues.

  • Who or what can access a particular service, resource, or data store?
  • What are my external users?
  • Has access been correctly revoked for offboarded employees?
  • Are there users or workloads with excess permissions?
  • Which users or  roles have not been active in the past 90 days?

Compliance

Automate testing and evidence collection for all security policies and compliance frameworks including SOC 2 Security, NIST Cybersecurity, CIS Benchmarks, PCI DSS, HIPAA Compliance, and more. You can also use CAASM solutions like JupiterOne to map the controls and frameworks relationships. Automation is critical for teams with limited resources, budget, and time.

  • What is the evidence that I am compliant with a particular requirement?
  • Whose endpoint is out of compliance with baseline configurations and patch management?
  • What is my compliance status against my custom SOC2 controls?
  • What are my gaps?
  • How do my compliance gaps compare across frameworks?

What are the most important features of a CAASM solution?

A dynamic solution that continuously monitors all cyber assets by integrating existing tools - no agent necessary. CAASM tools correlate data at scale and provide querying capabilities to find potential security gaps and compliance drift.

An effective CAASM solution helps you map your assets and asset relationships on a graph-based system allowing you to ask any question of your asset collection. You can quickly make logical connections between identities, cloud workloads, git repositories, code commits, and much more. This relationship context makes it possible to ask extremely complex questions and get answers within seconds.

CAASM is the knowledge base for your entire security posture and enables you to quickly and automatically analyze complex attack surfaces. The more integrations you have, the more connections you can understand and govern across your cyber asset environment.

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JupiterOne connects all your integrations and cyber asset data into one platform.

jupterone-search-for-anything
The ability to query your cyber assets is critical to understanding the blast radius of an impacted asset and accelerate SecOp detection and response.

What is the difference between CAASM and CSPM solutions?

Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) has grown beyond tools like Dome9, DivvyCloud, and Prisma Cloud to include infrastructure and workload scanners that claim CSPM capabilities. But, the CSPM ecosystem has not evolved to keep pace with the complex requirements of cloud-native organizations. Too often, CSPM offer a standard set of misconfiguration checks without depth, flexibility, or even visibility into the monitoring rules. CSPMs are generally a black box with extremely limited capabilties to understand compliance with configuration baselines. Sadly, the same old misconfiguration checks come out of every CSPM offering with no depth or flexibility to modify the monitoring rules. How can we monitor user defined configuration baselines? There are many configs that are unique to our cloud environment. How can we monitor more than just basic property checks such as the relationships between assets?

CAASM Goes Beyond Traditional CSPM

CAASM can do everything CSPM does and more. CAASM is extensible, going way beyond the basic cloud configuration checks, and allows you to monitor custom configurations important to your unique security architecture.

CAASM visualizes and monitors the entire attack surface including the public cloud and beyond, exposing unique toxic combinations of misconfigurations and relationships that CSPMs simply cannot understand. Read more to see how CAASM handles two examples of cloud attack surface monitoring use cases that traditional CSPM cannot.

What is the difference between CAASM and EASM solutions?

External Attack Surface Management (EASM) solutions like Expanse and CyCognito are most commonly used to discover unknown external-facing assets and networks. They identify infrastructure-based vulnerabilities for an organization’s security operations program. The problem with an EASM tool is that it can’t tell you what’s actually inside your environment today.

CAASM solutions like JupiterOne augment current EASM tooling and existing external asset data by consolidating all data to give teams complete visibility across all their assets (both internal and external, cloud and on-premise) via API integrations. The combined structural data across all cyber assets gives companies the complete context they need to accelerate their security operations.

How can CAASM complement other technologies like SIEM, SOAR, XDR, and vulnerability management?

Modern cybersecurity is built on knowledge of your infrastructure and cyber assets. Knowing what exists, where it exists, and all pertinent meta-data around each asset makes it possible to create an effective security program on top of that knowledge.

CAASM solutions like JupiterOne integrate with and connect your assets beyond the cloud into a powerful knowledge graph. The more integrations you connect, the more you can see and understand across your cyber asset universe. Having queryable access to an up-to-date cyber asset knowledge base is complementary to watching all of the events as they go into and out of the infrastructure. While most tools focus on the events of the system, CAASM tools focus on detecting issues and changes that occur within the assets themselves.

Interested in learning more about CAASM? Check out the resources below or contact us today.

Additional CAASM Resources and Related Blogs

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Posted By Jennie Duong

Director of Product Marketing at JupiterOne. Eternal cynic and privacy advocate. Prior to JupiterOne, Jennie spent the past three years living, traveling, and working abroad across 25+ countries. She consulted and advised for several B2B cybersecurity and cloud startups.

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