External Attack Surface Management (EASM)

From darkness to defence: Mapping your attack surface for ultimate visibility.
external attack surface management


When it comes to cybersecurity, IT landscapes are complex, often untamed, and inherently unpredictable. There are many known unknowns, and there are even more unknowns.

A lack of, or limited visibility over the organisation’s estate, is the root cause of many of the cybersecurity challenges organisations are facing today. 

If there is no clear visibility over the IT estate, it is not possible to accurately validate potential threats or have any control over them. Only when visibility is clear can intelligence be wrapped around the known elements, enabling positive controls to be put in place.

The journey towards genuine visibility over your organisation’s cybersecurity estate starts with External Attack Surface Management—the crucial first step to transforming the unknown into the known. 

EASM solutions
What is External Attack Surface Management (EASM)?

External Attack Surface Management (EASM) is a systematic approach to the identification, analysis, and mitigation of vulnerabilities and risks associated with your organisation’s internet-exposed digital assets. From domains and web applications through to network infrastructure, EASM enables you to discover your organisation’s entire attack surface, including assets you may not know you have. 

Threat actors will always take the path of least resistance, identifying areas of an organisation’s IT infrastructure where access will be easier, quicker, and have the least chance of detection. Attackers will look to access an organisation’s data, applications, and networks across various environments, including on-premise, cloud, subsidiary, third-party, or partner environments.

Highly distributed workforces, evolving IT infrastructure, and layers of legacy technology have left many organisations vulnerable to attack by a motivated adversary. Many are also working to a narrow definition of ‘attack surface’, neglecting SaaS applications, public cloud workloads, or third-party environments.

EASM: Mapping your attack surface for ultimate visibility

Why is External Attack Surface Management (EASM) important?

EASM is now a critical solution for SecOps teams. The objective is to know exactly what your attack surface reveals to an external threat actor—even over time, as your IT environment changes and evolves. Only by looking through an external lens, can you identify all potential points of entry an attacker might exploit to compromise your organisation’s security.

EASM gives you a holistic understanding of the security gaps you need to fill to fortify your organisation’s defences and reduce your overall risk.

How does External Attack Surface Management (EASM) work?

BlueFort’s methodology is founded on Continuous Cyber Discovery – a technology-based roadmap to discover, maintain, automate and validate a single view of an organisation’s entire threat surface, delivering a comprehensive understanding of tools, assets, policies and APIs across on-premise, cloud and hybrid environments.

EASM is a critical component of Continuous Cyber Discovery involving two key steps:

First, we work to identify and catalogue all of your organisation’s business and IT entities, including any acquired companies or joint ventures, and any internet-exposed assets relating to those entities. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, this process will identify and highlight any relationships and connections between entities and assets that may not already be visible or even expected, and how these put your organisation at risk. Connections like these can often be obvious to an attacker, even when they are not clear to the organisation itself. The discovery phase will test your organisation’s entire attack surface – not just the IP ranges and assets you are already aware of. During this phase, organisations can find they have up to 30% more assets than they expected. This identifies a range of potential risks, gaps, and vulnerabilities that previously would have remained undetected – potentially indefinitely, or until a breach occurs. The process also uncovers and clarifies many of the shadow IT incidents that SecOps teams suspect exist within their organisation, but haven’t yet been identified. A key benefit of the EASM discovery phase is applying business-level attribution to the risks identified. As assets and risks are uncovered, these are automatically and properly attributed to the correct business entity, function, area, or owner. This built-in context significantly increases remediation speed. Asset inventories include all external digital assets and identifying elements, from IP ranges and links, to web applications, certificates and software deployments.

External Attack Surface Management (EASM) provides a foundation for ongoing security controls

Active testing of the external attack surface is fast becoming a central focus for SecOps teams that realise effective visibility requires a transformational approach. As one of the only approaches to vulnerability management that addresses the ever-increasing sprawl of organisational IT environments, EASM ensures vulnerabilities are discovered and remediated quickly. 

As things change within your organisation, EASM dynamically changes with it – automatically identifying and prioritising new vulnerabilities as your external attack surface evolves. It’s a solution that can continuously scale alongside your organisation and your security team – across cloud (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS), on-premise, subsidiary, third-party, or partner environments. 

What you need to know

  • How to reduce an enterprise attack surface?

    Reducing an enterprise attack surface involves implementing robust cybersecurity measures, including regular updates, patch management, network segmentation, and user education to minimise vulnerabilities.
  • Why are web applications so vulnerable to attacks?

    Web applications often face security risks due to flaws in coding, inadequate input validation, and outdated software. Regular security audits, code reviews, and patches are crucial to mitigate vulnerabilities.
  • What makes IoT devices vulnerable to cyber attacks?

    IoT devices are vulnerable due to inadequate security measures, weak authentication, and lack of regular updates. Ensuring strong encryption, robust authentication protocols, and timely firmware updates helps enhance IoT security.

Have more questions?

Speak to our EASM experts.

Delivering cybersecurity with the power of Evolve

BlueFort’s Evolve allows you access to flexible and on-demand cyber skills and expertise to help you deploy any new solution and fill in any cyber skills shortage you may have.

Why work with BlueFort?

BlueFort is the UK’s leading independent Security Solutions Partner (SSP). Our unique combination of people and technology is focused on simplifying your cybersecurity journey. With a curated suite of tools, products, and skills, BlueFort partners with CIOs, CISOs, and SecOps teams to simplify, consolidate, and optimise their cybersecurity environment. 

BlueFort’s carefully tested suite of tools and technology simplifies the chaos of the cyber landscape, while its in-house experts provide a rapid and immediate solution to the cybersecurity skills shortage, reducing pressure on internal security teams and delivering ongoing, on-demand cyber resource flexibility.  

BlueFort provides expert insight into EASM that enables your team to gain invaluable real-time understanding about the threats facing your organisation. BlueFort works side-by-side with your team to add context to the most critical vulnerabilities facing your IT environment, and provides guidance and support on remediation and mitigation.    

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“Without Evolve, we would have to get in additional resources for bespoke deployments and we would certainly have to spend a lot of time in the research phase to make sure we are buying the right technology. We use BlueFort’s expertise to guide us down the right path – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.”

Gary Lewis, Head of IT, Atrium Underwriters

See how BlueFort can help you simplify your cybersecurity