Continuous Exposure Management and The Rise of Proactive Cybersecurity

Sam Reed

The germ of cybersecurity began as “computer security” in the 1960s.

This is when innovators, like James Anderson, began outlining safeguards to protect user accounts and file permissions on mainframe computers.

But over the next few decades, computer security remained a relatively obscure niche filled mostly by hobbyists, academics, and government agencies.

In 2023, revenue in cybersecurity is projected to reach USD 166.20 billion, 87.97 billion in security services alone.

From niche to a 12-figure industry and the focus of governments worldwide, cybersecurity continues to evolve. The most recent trend is one of the most exciting–a shift from reactive to proactive.

Continuous exposure management is the protagonist in this unfolding story.

"Not If, But When"

The 1990s kicked off the pre-modern era of cybersecurity.

The rise of data networks and personal computing created new attack surfaces. Viruses like Melissa and ILOVEYOU spread globally and highlighted the interconnected fragility of networks.

This led to the emergence of antivirus software and firewalls.

As attacks became more sophisticated in the 2000s and early 2010s, the major categories that exist today–SIEM, SOC, EDR, MDR–were developed.

These efforts primarily focus on threat detection and incident response.

The prevailing idea has been that breaches are unavoidable, and the best outcome was to respond swiftly to minimize damage.

The Shift to Proactive

Most people would agree it's a good thing Samuel Bankman-Fried was caught and convicted. (Making sure you're still paying attention.)

But what about the billions of dollars lost before that happened?

That’s analogous to organizations relying solely on reactive cybersecurity. It’s like leaving the door open and hoping to catch the bad guy in a net before too much damage is done.

Unfortunately, the average amount of “damage done” (cost of a data breach) in 2023 was USD 4.45 million.

Many of these incidents could have been prevented with proactive measures focused on risk visibility and reduction. Thus, the rise of organizations augmenting reactive capabilities with proactive technologies.

Solely detecting and responding to breaches is no longer an option.

The Role of Continuous Exposure Management

Continuous exposure management allows you to proactively reduce risk in your environment.

Attackers go beyond vulnerabilities to breach environments. Continuous exposure management gives you their playbook.

Imagine nearly half of the homes in your neighborhood had been broken into in the past 12 months.

The home invaders regularly bypassed the best home alarm and response systems until it was too late.

Now imagine a tool that continuously surveyed your property and told you exactly where the invaders could get in, what they could access from each entry point, and how to keep them out. That is the role of continuous exposure management.

With 47% of all US businesses suffering an attack in the past 12 months, the dangers of foregoing proactive cybersecurity are obvious.

Continuous exposure management is the next evolution in proactive cybersecurity. By understanding how an attacker views an environment, security teams can see the most critical risks on the most critical assets, and proactively defend what's important.

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