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What does the threat surface mean for cyber security costs?

What does the threat surface mean for cyber security costs?

"Organisations need to reduce this attack surface to make their existing security infrastructure more effective."

The rapidly-increasing number of connected devices, such as smartphones and tablets, have made the business world more flexible, mobile, and innovative.

But there are drawbacks. For each connected device that communicates with internal business networks, the potential attack surface for cyber criminals grows.

Organisations need to reduce this attack surface to make their existing security infrastructure more effective.

Today’s ever-expanding attack surface generally demands multiple layers of security systems, such as firewalls and intrusion prevention platforms, and increasing security information.

“The network bandwidth, security resources, processing power, and oversight needed to keep multiple security solutions operating efficiently can be a substantial drain on organisations, especially when those resources are being taken from activities that add value to the business,” says Stephen Urquhart, general manager A/NZ, Ixia.

“Even when organisations are directing adequate resources to multiple layers of security, protection from unknown threats is not guaranteed.

“Most companies now have many endpoints integrated with their internal systems via mobile devices and other external equipment. These present new and expanded vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit.”

Traditional cyber security platforms often leave organisations spending a lot of time dealing with false-positive security alerts.

According to research by the Ponemon Institute, companies spend approximately 21,000 hours per year reviewing and managing these reports.

For Urquhart, this means that determining which alerts are critical is like trying to find a needle in a haystack, and could lead to overlooked intrusion attempts.

Urquhart says one of the ways businesses can avoid the drain on resources required to maintain and manage multiple layers of cyber security infrastructure is to simply reduce their potential attack surface.

“The network attack surface is the sum of every single point of access to an enterprise network,” Urquhart adds.

“Most enterprise security inspects all the traffic already in the network, whether it’s meant to be there or not.

“Putting a barrier in place to make sure that traffic doesn’t get in to begin with dramatically cuts down on the amount of work these existing enterprise security platforms need to do, making them more efficient.”

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