On average, companies have up to 75 security tools that guard them against cyberattacks.
This includes a variety of protective software as well as measures and protocols that are put in place to protect essential assets.
This number is increasing, as businesses have been adding new components to their infrastructure (e.g. cloud storage) and covering them with even more security points.
The fact is that layered cybersecurity is the strongest way to protect the company. However, if the tools in question are not working properly, they can often create major flaws that hackers exploit — leaving the company just as exposed as if they had no tools at all.
Unless targeted by a cybercriminal, it’s likely they won’t know whether all the protective software and protocols are successful at securing their assets.
To detect threats early and put the security points to the test, businesses rely on tools such as Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS).
Breach and Attack Simulation is an AI-based tool that validates security at all times.
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Automated Discovery of Vulnerabilities
The main purpose of Breach and Attack Simulation technology is to detect vulnerabilities and seek security gaps to find space for improvement.
To identify the flaws that need patching up, BAS follows several stages:
- Scanning of the attack surface
- Simulating attacks on the system
- Generating a report
It all starts with the initial scanning to identify what should be tested.
The tool imitates known attacks to discover whether the protective tools and protocols would defend the system in a real-case scenario.
The results follow with a report that concludes which parts of the system display critical vulnerabilities and should be repaired. For instance, it could point towards a WAF that is not working or discover an employee that fell for a phishing scam.
What’s more, BAS technology relies on artificial intelligence that allows the continual discovery of threats but also enables teams to calibrate it to imitate attacks that are likely to compromise the network — such as email phishing campaigns.
The Key to Continual Security Management
BAS is also a tool that aids companies in managing their security. It performs simulated attacks before and after teams make changes.
As a result, assets are protected at all times, and businesses know that the tool they do have will protect them in case of an actual attack.
Some advantages of Breach and Attack Simulation include:
- Early discovery of malicious activity and vulnerabilities
- Reduced alert fatigue for IT teams
- Readiness for novel hacking methods
The BAS dashboard allows security analysts to make conclusions about the state of security at a glance.
Instead of being bombarded with multiple alerts that are coming from different dashboards, BAS eases the pressure by presenting a comprehensive report in real time. The information aids them in reacting early and making informed decisions on the spot.
One of the main reasons that companies need continual security management that include tools such as BAS is that new hacking methods come about all the time.
MITRE lists the latest cyber threats and details how threat actors have been using them in the past as well as how to protect the system from such exploits.
Can Breach and Attack Simulation Replace Pen Testing?
Because of the similar way in which they put security to the test, BAS and pen testing have often been discussed and compared. Even though BAS can replace some capabilities of pen testing, the truth is that companies still require both.
Penetration testing (also known as pen testing) is a manual way of assessing the security of a company. The goal is to discover vulnerabilities that might result in a cyberattack.
Considering that pen testing requires employing white hat (ethical) hackers to determine whether an organization can be breached, this process is also expensive.
Most organizations use this type of testing once or twice per year. In some cases, pen testing is also mandatory by law.
BAS, on the other hand, relies on artificial intelligence that allows the program to run in the background 24/7, automatically testing the security tools. That cuts the costs of hiring experts and forms a regular and up-to-date assessment in an ever-changing environment.
Although BAS has many benefits compared to pen testing, as a cost-effective and continual way to test security, most businesses use both.
Breach and Attack Simulation and pen testing are frequently grouped together.
However, they have slightly different roles within cyber protection since BAS puts security to the test and pen testing replicates the action of threat actors to discover paths they could use to compromise a company.
While it’ll take some time until tools such as BAS replace pen testing altogether, it’s safe to say that pen testing is going to stay reserved for testing the system against more complex hacking methods. Well-known and simpler attacks, on the other hand, are going to be reserved for BAS.
BAS Discovers Threats Early
Breach and Attack Simulation is a valuable tool for IT teams because it provides continual feedback. Cyber analysts can use the information that is updated on the dashboard to strengthen company security.
While it does have many benefits as an automated tool that is continually updated with new exploits and tests the security tools 24/7, it still can’t replace the more complex capabilities of penetration testing.
However, BAS is essential for the continual diagnosis of the system and the timely discovery of weaknesses.
Therefore, its main advantage is that it can spot unwanted activity within the system or improperly working tools early — before high-risk flaws damage the company’s finances and reputation.