How Attack Path Management can help secure your IT landscape

The sock in the CISO's safe

Do you lock your front door at night? It’s a strange question, right? And how do you secure your sock drawer?

We protect what is important and valuable to us, simply following human instinct. It’s the simplest and most obvious solution to lock the front door to secure everything inside the house. But burglars still break into homes every day, all over the world. Why? Because burglars don’t wait for the door to be open, they look for the easiest way to get inside, which can be an open window, a basement door, or the garage. And because we know that the lock on the front door is not a cure-all, we put our most valuable items like money or jewelry in the safe. Yet, we’re aware that we can’t protect everything at the same time and to the same extent. A TV, for example, doesn’t fit in the safe, and it would be impractical to have to unpack and install it every time you use it.

It’s similar in IT: companies protect their IT infrastructure from external attacks. However, IT security managers are aware that such protection is not airtight and that the attacker will find a way in if necessary. This explains why there are also extensive protection mechanisms within the systems. A large number of tools is used, each of which is intended to maintain or even improve the security of the overall system. But all these tools only work on the system they’re supposed to protect. On the other hand, attackers are not interested in the individual system — they are usually only looking for the fastest and easiest way to the most valuable data or simply to cause damage.

Attack Path Management (APM) addresses exactly this problem. APM solutions focus on the attacker’s perspective and analyze the entire IT landscape of a company from this point of view: what are the fastest and easiest ways to the „crown jewels,“ the most valuable information within the company? Based on the results of this analysis, the most efficient measures to improve security are derived.

APM enables companies to detect potential attacks before they happen – and thus to stamp them out by strengthening security measures at key points of the IT infrastructure. Both the short-term and long-term effects are dramatic – in a positive sense:

  1. Threat detection and response: APM enables organizations to identify potential security threats early and respond proactively.
  2. Risk mitigation: With APM, IT risks can be minimized in a targeted manner by identifying the most critical resources and prioritizing measures focusing on the attack paths with the greatest threat potential for precisely these resources.
  3. Compliance: APM makes a significant contribution to meeting legal requirements for security and data protection.
  4. Improved transparency: An APM solution provides a comprehensive overview of a company’s security posture, bringing together the most relevant data for identifying and eliminating undetected vulnerabilities.
  5. Continuous improvement: Ideally, APM is an ongoing process built on the pillars of monitoring, analysis, and implementation. This ensures continuous improvement of a company’s security posture and dynamic adaptation to changing threat landscapes.

APM therefore transfers our intuitive sense of security into the realm of IT – by looking at the most critical assets and protecting them as necessary, just like we do with our most valuable possessions in our daily lives. Or did you just realize while reading this article that you still have a sock or two in the safe and some cash in the drawer?

You can get more information about Attack Path Management here. 


Veronika Röthel
Swiss IT Security Group


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