The automated breach and attack simulation (BAS) market is relatively small. In Reportlinker.com’s recently released report entitled “Automated Breach and Attack Simulation Global Market Report 2022,” its estimated market value in 2022 is around $380.89 million. This is considerably smaller compared to other segments of the cybersecurity industry like the antivirus market which is worth around $4 billion.
What makes the automated BAS market notable, though, is its rapid growth. Reportlinker.com estimates that it is set to become a $1.35 billion market by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 37.3 percent. Many are seeing its benefits, but there are still many more organizations that have not incorporated it into their security posture management.
Adopting automated breach and attack simulation
Breach and attack simulation was introduced in 2017. It took a couple of years for it to be polished and become more acceptable as a cybersecurity solution. By now, it can already be considered a mature enough technology with proven benefits in real-world scenarios. Organizations that have adopted it are already reaping the benefits of being able to prevent more sophisticated cyber attacks.
However, it is never too late to embrace this relatively new cybersecurity technology. Breach and attack simulation delivers real-time visibility that allows organizations to have a clear understanding and control over their dynamic business and cybersecurity environments. This is not just some hyped-up cybersecurity strategy or the result of concerted marketing efforts among cybersecurity firms.
As Reportlinker’s study reveals, “rising complexities in maintaining security threats due to an increased number of attack vectors are expected to propel the growth of the automated breach and attack simulation market in the coming years.” Organizations need a better approach to dealing with the evolving nature of cyber threats, and automated BAS provides a suitable solution.
Compelling reasons to adopt automated BAS
Automated breach and attack simulation (BAS) provides numerous advantages. For one, it does not rely solely on cyber threat and attack identities or threat intelligence. It entails simulations aimed at replicating real-world cyberattacks to test how security controls hold up. Many cyberattacks take advantage of unique vulnerabilities in an organization, and threat identities are unlikely to be useful in addressing these.
Automated BAS spots security weaknesses that are unique to an organization, so they can be fixed before threat actors find and exploit them. Phishing, for example, is a very common attack, but it requires the “right” conditions to work. The perpetrators of phishing schemes need to find an organization whose employees, for example, are clueless or not so cautious when it comes to clicking links and filling out forms.
Automated BAS can determine weak points in an organization’s security posture such as the failure of email filters to block links to sites associated with phishing. It can also identify employees or departments that appear cavalier when dealing with potential social engineering attacks.
Since the process is automated, organizations can undertake BAS repeatedly and cost-efficiently to ensure continuous security validation. This is not possible if only human security analysts take the responsibility of evaluating the security posture of an organization. It would take innumerable human analysts to perform continuous security validation, and this idea is remotely viable, given the global cybersecurity skills shortage at present.
The continuous security testing automated BAS affords ensures that opportunities for unchecked vulnerabilities to linger, get discovered by threat actors, and become points of entry for attacks are almost entirely eliminated. It only takes minutes or less for hackers to launch an attack and steal data. It only takes a few seconds for a careless employee to download a malware-laced file and infect a network. Every moment of vulnerability that is left unchecked and unaddressed is a good enough opportunity for threat actors.
Moreover, breach and attack simulation emphasizes meticulousness in finding security weaknesses. It goes beyond the superficial to find possibilities of lateral attacks through a network. It can simulate endpoint attacks, malware distribution schemes, data exfiltration, and complex APT attacks that are difficult to detect and appear harmless.
Leveraging an established cybersecurity framework
It is also worth mentioning that automated breach and attack simulation is compatible with the MITRE ATT&CK framework. There are automated BAS providers that operationalize MITRE ATT&CK as part of their continuous purple teaming process. Through the up-to-date adversarial tactics and techniques information of the ATT&CK framework, organizations get to continuously test the effectiveness and optimize their security controls across the full cyber kill chain.
Created from an adversary’s perspective, the ATT&CK framework injects useful inputs into the security posture management of an organization. It departs from the conventional defender-focused mindset when it comes to risk and threat lifecycle modeling. It provides insights into the attacker’s behavior to help defenders better understand how attacks work and how they can be modified or tweaked to evade defenses.
Proving the benefits of automated BAS
Again, automated breach and attack simulation is not just a marketing ploy. Market intelligence and advisory provider International Data Corporation (IDC) describes it as “a critical tool to test the efficacy of security controls.” IDC considers automated BAS a great addition to traditional cybersecurity vulnerability testing, citing its robust range of features and functionality and ability to enable a more proactive thrust in establishing cyber defense.
A 2020 Frost & Sullivan white paper also backs the idea that breach and attack simulation is helpful in improving cyber risk management, especially amid the growing complexities of cyber threats. “Leveraging advanced automated BAS technology is a best practice that more enterprises with a large number of endpoints need to embrace. It will unquestionably enable organizations to raise the bar on security hygiene while simultaneously allowing IT departments to become more efficient,” the paper explains.
Moreover, different companies that offer automated BAS solutions have long lists of satisfied clients that share their testimonials on the benefits of automated breach and attack simulation. These are verifiable information involving real organizations. Also, just recently, the United States Army granted an Authority to Operate to a BAS solution provider, marking the first time that the US Army uses a breach and attack simulation platform to achieve enhanced defense posture across mission-critical assets.
There are reasons why automated breach and attack simulation has become one of the fastest growing cybersecurity solutions in recent years. It provides palpable benefits and there is a growing number of organizations that have already adopted it. Also, authoritative organizations and institutions acknowledge its advantages.
If there is a reason to hesitate trying out automated BAS, it would be the reputation of the company that offers it. Otherwise, it is high time to take it as an essential part of an organization’s security posture.