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What every CISO needs to know about ASM

Harold de Vries


What every CISO needs to know about attack surface management

In today's digital world, you face an ever-evolving threat landscape, where cyberattacks have become increasingly sophisticated and frequent. As the guardians of your digital assets and sensitive data, Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) play a pivotal role in defending against these threats. One crucial aspect of this role is understanding and effectively managing the attack surface. In this blog post, we will delve into what every CISO needs to know about Attack Surface Management (ASM).

Defining the attack surface

The attack surface refers to all the points of entry and potential vulnerabilities that a threat actor can target to infiltrate your system, network, or organisation, like:

  • Hardware: Servers, routers, and IoT devices
  • Software: Applications, operating systems, and third-party services
  • Human Elements: Employees, contractors, and third-party vendors
  • Data: Sensitive information, databases, and cloud storage
  • Processes: Workflow vulnerabilities and operational weaknesses

The Importance of Attack Surface Management

  • Risk Reduction: ASM allows you to identify and mitigate potential vulnerabilities, reducing your overall risk of a successful cyberattack.
  • Proactive Defence: Rather than reacting to threats after they occur, ASM enables you to take a proactive approach, identifying and addressing vulnerabilities before they can be exploited.
  • Compliance: Many regulations and standards, such as GDPR and PCI DSS, require you to maintain a robust security posture. ASM helps ensure compliance with these mandates.
  • Resource Optimisation: By understanding the attack surface, CISOs can allocate resources more efficiently, focusing on critical assets and vulnerabilities.

Key Components of Attack Surface Management

  • Discovery: The first step in ASM is to identify all assets within your organisation. This includes a comprehensive inventory of hardware, software, data, and processes.
  • Assessment: Once the attack surface is defined, it's crucial to assess the vulnerabilities associated with each component. This involves vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, and risk assessments.
  • Prioritisation: Not all vulnerabilities are created equal. You must prioritise them based on their severity and potential impact on your business.
  • Mitigation: After prioritisation, the next step is to mitigate vulnerabilities. This could involve patching software, improving security policies, or even retiring outdated systems.
  • Continuous Monitoring: ASM is an ongoing process. It's essential to continuously monitor the attack surface, as it evolves with technology changes and organisational growth.

Selecting the Right Tools

To effectively manage the attack surface, CISOs should invest in the right tools and technologies. This includes vulnerability scanning tools, penetration testing services, and security information and event management (SIEM) systems. Additionally, ASM platforms that provide real-time visibility and automated vulnerability management can be invaluable.'s HIO Engine

Our HIO ( Intelligent Operations) Engine is a fully automated red teaming solution which on a daily basis, proactively tests your entire attack surface. It does this by mapping vulnerabilities, which it will actively exploit with payload-less attacks and tests your human firewall through automated social engineering.

The HIO Engine replicates a real cyberattack on your infrastructure using the same tactics that threat actors use. Combining the proactive, daily testing of your attack surface, with IT supply chain attacks and automated social engineering creates a holistic cybersecurity solution which focuses on both technological and human security.

Through our detailed and intuitive online dashboard you always have full insight in the HIO Engine’s test results and reports. Our dashboard can be fully integrated with your IT ticketing system, without extra licensing fees, to create a smooth workflow for you and your team.

Our HIO Engine is the perfect blend of continuous vulnerability scanning with automated pen testing and managing your entire attack surface.


About is redefining cybersecurity through our innovative, automated and powerful security and attack simulation tools. We map vulnerabilities across your entire attack surface, exploit with payload-less attacks and test your human firewall through automated social engineering. Unlike traditional security, proactively tests your IT infrastructure on a daily basis to deliver realtime insight to your current security posture.

Developed by enterprise pen testers, provides 24/7 cyber resilience, focused on prevention, significantly reduce the chance of a successful cyberattack on any organisation. Headquartered in The Netherlands, offers its world class cybersecurity solutions to businesses around the world.
Blaak 520
3011TA Rotterdam
The Netherlands

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