How to Reduce Attack Surface: 7 Actionable Tips

Reduce Attack Surface

With the increase of all the devices being integrated into one network, the perimeter of a potential attack or security breach has increased. The risk of a security breach does not take place through only a network. With the advent of IoT, the entry points to penetrate a secure network has increased.

Aside from installing a security firewall, there are some steps you can take for attack surface reduction at the beginning of the software development.

Let us look at each one by one:

Tip no. 1: Reduce Complexity

The main reason behind a lot of security breaches is that the employees are not able to follow basic safety protocols. The lesser the network complexity the lesser are the chances of human errors.

At the same time having redundant rules, duplicate safety policies, or incomplete information about the rules can lead to further policy mistakes and allow access to more than required. The best and the most effective ways for the reduction of attack surface is reducing the complexity and unnecessary protocols and rules.

Tip no. 2: Identify Vulnerabilities

While all the automated testing and scanning is effective for an attack against known security breaches, it is the unknown that you need to identify even before any such event happens.

But it is difficult to run so many algorithms and tests. Instead, identifying the weak spots and then testing out the system in real-time will help track where the network can be compromised. Attack simulation, patch simulation, attack surface modeling are some great ways to do that.

Tip no. 3: Endpoint Control

The best way to keep attacks under check is by surveillance of the endpoint. This can be achieved in two steps.

Actually looking, not visualizing the endpoint is the first step. It is important to keep all the endpoints under check. Continuously monitoring connections, providing alerts, identifying the user behavior, and identifying any possible deviation from standard norms is critical.

After a proper analysis of a possible deviation from the norms, actually controlling what these endpoints can do is the second step. Having a strict network policy and security protocols can help establish a good communication of the endpoints with the networks in case of any security breach.

When there is any possible deviation, these policies and protocols help protect the network by stopping any further destructive spread.

Tip no. 4 Network Segmentation

Segmenting the network makes sense as a segmented network will be difficult to penetrate.  Segmentation literally reduces the attack surface. Also, it will be easier to establish barriers on a segmented network. It will also increase the diversity of security controls.

Network segmentation not only allows network surface reduction but also helps minimize dwell time, allowing tracking the criminal paths.

Reduce Attack Surface

Tip no. 5: Analytics

Analyzing the traffic data, social data, social configuration assessment, etc is a very common attack surface reduction technique. In fact, it is one of the methods organizations use as a preliminary security and threat assessment technique. It is a low cost and an effective method of achieving the results.

Tip no. 6: Network Isolation

Many times your networks are connected for convenience. But this can lead to compromising many networks that are internally connected to each other.

Along with network compromise, your data can fall into wrong hands if not handled properly with strict security policies.

Tip no. 7: Not Giving Access to New Installations

There are many applications in your systems that keep asking for permission to work as an admin. They are usually denied access, but we usually can skip the step of granting only restricted access to the applications during updating or installing new plugins.

By the time you realize this mistake, the software has run through your files and your data can be compromised. This type of data vulnerability can trigger various threats as it increases the endpoints. Including this in your SOP is very important.

Tip no. 9: Use Infrastructure as a Code

Not manually deploying anything reduces the maintenance cost. Being able to compare the deployed state and defined state allows you to identify any suspicious activity. Also, it is easier to rebuild in case of any compromise. It is easy to duplicate an environment with similar standards with Infrastructure as a code.


Although the security threats cannot be controlled, it can surely reduce the opportunities available to the criminals by best practices of surface attack reduction. Hopefully, these tips are useful to you.

Leave some comments below about which one you think will be the best for your organization.

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