CAASM is more than just another acronym; at its core, Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management is about a holistic approach to your attack surface. Without centralized visibility into your assets, attackers can exploit blind spots to access systems and data through unprotected routes.

Why Attack Surface Management Matters

Over the last decade, many companies have undergone a significant transformation of their information technology (IT) landscape. With new technologies and concepts such as cloud infrastructure, digital identities, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions, traditional asset management tools have become increasingly inadequate to manage and control these new digital assets.

Cloud infrastructure has revolutionized how businesses store, manage, and deliver computing resources. Companies now store their data and applications on virtual servers hosted in the cloud. This has made it easier for companies to scale their operations and reduce the costs associated with maintaining physical hardware. That scale has also meant that organizations often need help understanding the full scope of their cloud footprint as it spans multiple clouds, services, and accounts.

With the proliferation of online services and the increasing use of social media, digital identity management has become a critical issue for businesses. Traditional asset management tools are not equipped to manage these identities, which can lead to security breaches and other issues.

Finally, software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions have become increasingly popular in recent years. SaaS solutions provide businesses access to software applications and tools hosted in the cloud. This eliminates the need for businesses to purchase and maintain their software and hardware, which can be costly and time-consuming. However, this interconnected nature means security teams must also understand the SaaS vendor’s access and permissions. Otherwise, attackers may exploit this 3rd party source to access company assets.

How CAASM helps

CAASM solutions secure an organization’s digital assets by providing a comprehensive view of their attack surfaces. By gathering information through various methods, such as API integrations, network scans, and existing asset inventory systems, CAASM identifies security gaps and vulnerabilities. Automated remediation workflows are provided to help address these vulnerabilities and reduce the risk of cyber attacks.

A logical architecture overview of a CAASM solution integrated into other security toolsets

CAASM solutions also assist organizations in assessing and managing the risks associated with their attack surfaces. Through the unified view of the organization’s attack surface that CAASM provides, security teams can quickly identify the types and locations of assets and associated risks. This allows organizations to prioritize their security efforts and take proactive measures to secure their digital assets.

Inventorying your Cloud Asset Attack Surface

Cloud assets refer to any resources stored or managed in the cloud, including data, applications, infrastructure, and services. Cloud assets can generally be divided into four categories:

  • Compute: Cloud assets that process data in some way, such as virtual servers, containers, functions as a service, and some data analytics services.
  • Network: Cloud assets involved in data transmission, such as virtual networks, virtual private clouds (VPCs), virtual private networks (VPNs), and security groups or virtual firewalls.
  • Storage: Cloud assets or services that hold data at rest. This category includes storage buckets and containers, databases, and virtual hard disks.
  • Services: Assets that don’t fit into the categories above, such as identity services like IAM solutions or services that use common authentication protocols like SAML, OIDC, or OAuth, such as Azure Active Directory and Google’s G Suite.

To visualize that attack surface requires inventorying all your cloud computing, network, storage, and services into a central location. This inventory can then be scanned, queried, and visualized to provide teams with the holistic risk information they need to prioritize remediation efforts.

Organizations often accomplish this by feeding all that data into a data analytics tool and building reporting on top of it or using a platform with attack surface management capabilities like Paladin Cloud.

Visualizing your Cloud Asset Attack Surface

Once the data is centralized, it is time to visualize the attack surface. By analyzing and monitoring the asset inventory, an organization can extend its security posture holistically across its entire cloud asset attack surface.

Screenshot of the Paladin Cloud asset distribution page

Visualizing an asset inventory provides forecasting information and can identify anomalies that may be risks. An organization’s attack surface is nearly always very different than what they thought as the asset inventory discovers unknown assets and shadow IT. In addition to improved security, organizations can save money and reduce their attack surface as they adopt better cloud hygiene practices.


Organizations transitioning to the cloud require new techniques and tools to understand their cloud attack surface. Without this understanding, organizations may miss up to 30% of their assets, leaving giant blind spots in their security posture. By inventorying and visualizing their assets, an organization can be confident about their cloud assets and extend their security posture holistically across cloud providers and services.