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2022 The State of Cyber Assets Report Reveals Security Vulnerabilities

March 2022 by JupiterOne

The 2022 State of Cyber Assets Report (2022 SCAR) conducted by JupiterOne, the industry’s leading cyber asset attack surface management (CAASM) platform provider, analyzed more than 370 million assets at nearly 1,300 organizations. It reveals the current state of enterprise cyber assets - cloud workloads, devices, networks, apps, data, and users.

The top findings include:

The Expanding Attack Surface Puts Organizations At Risk

The enterprise technology ecosystem is being rapidly reshaped by API-first, cloud-first, and digital transformation initiatives, but they come at a high cost to security. As more assets are deployed into enterprise production environments, companies face an increased risk of a cyber attack that starts by exploiting unknown, unmanaged, or poorly managed internet-facing assets. The modern attack surface has grown too large and complex for security professionals to manage using traditional, manual approaches to the asset lifecycle.

Security Teams Have Too Many Assets to Secure

Security teams are fatigued and understaffed. Teams have an unprecedented number of assets to inventory, manage, and secure across a cloud-based organization. The report found that, on average, modern security teams are responsible for more than 165,000 cyber assets, including cloud workloads, devices, network assets, applications, data assets, and users. With cybersecurity talent in short supply, organizations need to help their existing teams become more efficient.

Cloud is Huge and is Here to Stay

Cloud deployments are taking over as the de facto deployment model in companies of all shapes and sizes, leading to 97 percent of security findings coming from cloud assets. Nearly 90 percent of device assets in the modern organization are cloud-based, meaning physical devices such as laptops, tablets, smartphones, routers, and IoT hardware represent less than 10 percent of total devices. Cloud network assets outnumber physical networks by a ratio of nearly 60:1, yet analysis of nearly 10 million security policies found that cloud-specific ones represent less than 30 percent of the total.

Understanding Asset Relationships Provides An Opportunity For Improvement

Most security teams pay little attention to the indirect relationships between users, devices, networks, and critical data. Just 8 percent of queries asked the JupiterOne platform to consider second-degree or third-degree relationships between assets. Data, including critical data and sensitive information , is among the most-related types of assets, with 105 million first-degree relationships (i.e. direct access from) to users, apps, devices, and workloads. The analysis also uncovered nearly 45 million relationships between security findings, indicating that many security backlogs contain findings identified as critical vulnerabilities or policy exceptions.

This leads to the average security team being blind to some security risks, and many are under-resourced or under-skilled to fully understand the risk of potential compromises. Organizations need to invest in cloud-native security tools that allow for automation and data-driven decision-making, helping security teams gain true visibility of their cyber asset landscape and asset relationships.

Additional 2022 SCAR Findings

Cyber assets significantly outnumber employees in the enterprise. The average organization has well over 500 cyber assets for every human employee, making automation a requirement for security success.

Devices are proliferating. Devices, including hosts, agents, and other device-related assets, are still an essential part of cybersecurity. The ratio of devices to every employee at the average organization is 110:1. The average security team is responsible for 32,190 devices. Additionally, nearly 90 percent of modern device inventories are cloud-based.

Ultra-reliable dynamic network architectures demand new, automated approaches to security. Modern DevOps teams use network interfaces to route traffic between subnets by hosting load balancers, proxy servers, and network address translation (NAT) services. Static IP addresses comprise fewer than 1 percent of network assets, while network interfaces make up 56 percent. The dynamic attack surface demands new, automated approaches to security.

Modern organizations are highly vulnerable to software supply chain attacks. The analysis of over 20 million application assets found that just 9 percent of applications were homegrown, or developed in-house, while 91 percent of code running in the enterprise was developed by third parties.

The tech analyst firm Gartner recognized JupiterOne as an “on the rise” vendor for cyber asset attack surface management, or CAASM, in its most recent report on “Hype Cycle for Security Operations, 2021,” released in July 2021.

About the 2022 State of Cyber Assets Report

The SCAR report analyzes cyber asset inventories and user queries derived from users of the JupiterOne Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management (CAASM) platform over one week from Sept. 28 to Oct. 5, 2021. The total data set included more than 372 million security findings from 1,272 organizations, including enterprises, mid-market organizations, and small businesses.

The complete 2022 State of Cyber Assets Report, Executive Summary, and Infographic are available on the SCAR resource page.

The SCAR team invites its readership to provide feedback on the findings and analysis within this year’s report. Any organization wishing to do so or become a SCAR contributor should contact research@jupiterone.com for further information.

Jasmine Henry, Field Security Director at JupiterOne and Lead Author of 2022 The State of Cyber Assets Report: “Shifts towards cloud-native development, microservices, and scale-out architecture have profoundly impacted security teams, who are overworked, understaffed, underskilled, and navigate an average backlog of over 120,000 security findings. Enterprise asset inventories have changed significantly, and for the first time in history, assets are not necessarily deployed by humans. The landscape demands new, automated approaches to attack surface management.”

“The major cybersecurity headlines last year included some terrifying software supply chain vulnerabilities from enterprise sources like SolarWinds and open-source software like Log4j. In fact, software supply chain security became nearly unmanageable for security teams in 2021, and the state of cyber assets in 2022 shows why.”

Sounil Yu, CISO and Head of Research at JupiterOne: “During the pandemic, businesses turned to cloud technologies to support the surge in remote work and maintain some semblance of normalcy in business operations. Unfortunately, the rapid digital transformation also resulted in new entry points for cyber attacks by malicious threat actors. This research shines a light on the sheer volume of cyber assets in today’s landscape and serves as a warning to business leaders and security professionals to take better stock of their assets so that they can understand the risk implications from their expanded attack surface.”


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