Key Criteria for Evaluating Attack Surface Management Solutionsv2.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. ASM Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take
  8. About Chris Ray

1. Summary

The difficulties and challenges presented by rapid digital growth, cloud adoption, and the sprawling public IP space leave organizations unable to accurately identify their rapidly changing attack surface, creating a wealth of opportunities for online attackers. Compounding this problem is the lack of visibility into the risks resulting from the dynamic nature of the attack surface. In response, attack surface management (ASM) solutions provide value through the continuous discovery of and insight into an organization’s attack surface.

The attack surface encompasses all public-facing services, application programming interfaces (APIs), applications, IP addresses, and infrastructure, regardless of the host type (virtual machine or VM, container, bare metal) or location (on-premises or cloud). ASM starts with the attack surface and builds a proper management process around it. This includes automated asset discovery and tracking of asset details.

The attack surface is composed of some of the newest technologies, like containers, Kubernetes clusters, serverless functions, social media, static and dynamic HTML web content, and even internet of things (IoT) devices. This conglomeration creates an enormous amount of additional work for security teams to properly manage all facets of their attack surface.

Moreover, the attack surface is dynamic; it can change daily, if not more often, and tracking these changes in an automated fashion is a key capability for an ASM solution. But simply knowing the entirety and composition of the attack surface is not sufficient. Delineating the types of assets in an organization’s attack surface as well as the severity of related risks rounds out an ASM solution’s value proposition.

ASM is a recent addition to the defender’s tool set, and like other new technologies, it is still evolving. As more vendors enter this space, they are compelled to innovate to differentiate from one another. Decision-makers should keep this ongoing evolution in mind because this space has yet to realize its full potential.

This GigaOm Key Criteria report details the criteria and evaluation metrics for selecting an effective ASM solution. The companion GigaOm Radar report identifies vendors and products that excel in those criteria and metrics. Together, these reports provide an overview of the category and its underlying technology, identify leading ASM offerings, and help decision-makers evaluate these solutions so they can make a more informed investment decision.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

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