Why BAS/XSPM is a Game-Changer

Cybersecurity, ever since its beginnings, has basically been a game of “catch me if you can” between attackers and defenders. Before the advent of Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) now augmented by additional offensive security capabilities in Extended Security Posture Management (XSPM), it meant that defenders were always a step behind the attackers, condemned to wait for the attacker’s initiative and react when, hopefully, the attack was detected. Consequently, organizations looked to improve their detecting capabilities by stacking up security solutions to address big and small risks and reduce the time between a potential attack’s start and the time needed to detect and defuse it, or at least, minimize its impact. 

This by-default cyber defenders’ reactive approach granted the advantage to attackers. What was needed is a proactive technology that closes the gaps left by the reactive approach without relying on timely detection and immediate response. 

 

Attack is the Best Form of Defense

Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) technologies were built exactly to tackle that issue and change the terms of the equation. As a prototypical form of continuous security validation, BAS technology already enabled cyber-security defenders to proactively close many security gaps by launching comprehensive sets of production-safe attack scenarios to validate their security controls’ efficacy. This initial set of capabilities is expanded upon in the Extended Security Posture Management (XSPM) Framework that uses simulated attacks scenarios and campaigns for attack surface management, outside-in attack path mapping campaigns, purple and red teaming automation, and vulnerability patching prioritization capabilities to complement BAS, creating a unified umbrella platform to: 

  • Test absolutely everything: from overall infrastructure security to granular sub-segments, such as EDR, email gateway, DLP, etc., or resilience to end-to-end inside-in or outside-in attacks mapping out potential attack propagation paths. 
  • Take pre-emptive corrective action:  Once the security gaps have been shown through testing, cybersecurity teams can focus their efforts on plugging uncovered security gaps, and automated retesting can verify that the corrective measures applied are effective.  
  • Combine security posture validation with threat exposure reduction: When applied comprehensively, this approach disables over 90% of the potential attacks. This means that, within a few weeks of the first testing/corrective cycle, not only is the visibility into security posture exhaustive, but threat exposure has shrunk considerably.  

Aside from expertly achieving its primary threat reduction goal from multiple angles, XSPM technology yields unexpected business values waterfalls:

 

Increased Operation Efficiency

Though not typically the first thing that comes to mind when talking about cybersecurity technologies, XSPM can actually boost operation efficiency in many ways: 

• Its ability to pinpoint exactly where security gaps are endangering the infrastructure or potentially threatening business continuity translates into the exact data necessary to optimize cybersecurity resource allocation:


 People: Thanks to XSPM’s comprehensive bank of automated attack scenarios and campaigns, and the template creation wizard, blue team members can easily double up as red teamers, creating an in-house purple team that runs continuous security validation.
Technologies: As XSPM testing shines a light on which SIEM and SOAR tools are underperforming, supplying overlapping capabilities, or are missing, restructuring the tool stack and the team structure to optimize existing tool stack efficacy.
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Cost-effectiveness: the breadth and depth of the security program evaluation with XSPM technology enable you to eliminate unproductive sunk costs for a fraction of your budget. For example, if a $100 investment in equipment is working at a typical 60% of its optimal capacity and XSPM can measurably raise that efficiency to a conservative 85%, you are getting an added 25% ROI. 

Improved Cyber Risk Exposure Management

As stated last year by Anton Chuvakin, formerly Gartner Research Vice President & Distinguished Analyst and currently involved with Google Cloud Security Solution Strategy, “Intel-supported or threat-informed decisions may be about changes in defense approaches, security architecture changes, activity prioritization, etc.”  

XSPM comprehensive sources of threat-informed intelligence range from discovering exposed assets (with ASM) to optimizing and streamlining vulnerability patching (with ABVM). The extensive and clear data generated by XSPM assessments delineates breach achievability, assesses resiliency against immediate threats, provides instrumentalizes security drift control, and satisfies the most stringent compliance validation requirements. 

 

Clarifies Performance Evaluation with Fact-based Metrics

The ability to generate security scores reflecting the security posture’s actual resilience facilitates communication between security staff and the board. Fact-based security metrics with numbers reflecting measurable resiliency help understanding the security posture. This translates into both security investments’ ROI and the organization’s factual risk exposure can be presented in a precise, exact fashion easy to align with KPIs, paving the way to interdepartmental common goal definition. 

This creates a common language that increases the executives’ involvement in the security sphere which as demonstrated in this survey about the impact of preparedness level on ransomware resilience, leads to fewer data breaches. 

 

 

Impact on IR Plans & Practice Graphical Chart
As security team members and board executives begin to talk in the same language, the convergence between business goals and security implications recasts security into its business enabler’s true role.

 

 Looking at the breadth of fundamental changes in the impact on security and business operability brought forth by comprehensive security validation technologies included in XSPM platforms, the fundamental shift from reactive to proactive technologies might spell a welcome downturn in the success rate of cyber-criminal across industries as XSPM technologies adoption rates increases.
According to ISACA’s State of Cybersecurity 2022 report, the percentage of the 2031 cybersecurity professionals surveyed who perform security assessments monthly or more often is still capped at 9%. This leaves far too large a playground for cybercriminals skilled at evading traditional reactive cybersecurity methods.  

Early adopters of continuous security validation technologies are not only the advanced force in finally reversing the trend of cybercriminals’ success, but they also spell out the dawn of the proactive era and embrace the age where security investments can be measured and tracked, where security language is accessible and understandable by business execs.  

Finally, CISOs and board members can understand each other, stop bickering at cross purposes and hug each other.  


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