What Is Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management (CAASM)?

LAST UPDATED: July 03, 2023

  By Picus Labs  •  May 31, 2023, 15 min read

Cyber threats are growing more sophisticated, and businesses face increasing pressure to secure their organizational assets. CAASM, which stands for Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management, is a new approach to cyber security that focuses on identifying and managing all of an organization's assets, both internal and external. 

This blog provides an overview of CAASM, including its key components, benefits, and how it helps reduce an organization's attack surface.

What is Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management (CAASM)?

CAASM is an emerging cybersecurity solution that helps IT and security teams to get unified visibility of organizational cyber assets. CAASM solutions integrate with a wide range of data sources to provide security teams with a comprehensive, unified, and up-to-date view of their cyber assets. Having rich asset data helps security teams to understand and prioritize their assets for protection based on factors such as criticality and vulnerabilities.

Gartner, a leading research and advisory company, has stressed the significance of CAASM for managing the expanding attack surface in their "Top Trends in Cybersecurity 2022" report. This expansion includes risks associated with cyber-physical systems, IoT, open-source code, cloud applications, and complex digital supply chains [1]. 

Gartner predicts that CAASM, DRPS, and EASM will help CISOs visualize and automate security coverage gaps. 

CAASM is a cloud-based platform that provides a single view of an organization's security posture, while DPRS is a managed service offering of Digital Risk Protection. External Attack Surface Management (EASM) is a cybersecurity process of continuous discovery, monitoring, evaluation, prioritization, and mitigation of attack vectors of an organization's external attack surface. By combining these technologies, CISOs can gain a comprehensive understanding of their security risks and take steps to mitigate them.

What Are the Key Components of CAASM?

CAASM provides security teams with the tools necessary to effectively manage an organization's attack surface and respond to risks. The key components of CAASM include:

  • Asset Discovery

  • Vulnerability Assessment

  • Threat Prioritization

  • Integration with Existing Security Tools

  • Continuous Monitoring

  • Remediation and Mitigation

  • Reporting and Analysis 

  • Incident investigation

Asset Discovery 

Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management (CAASM) solutions automatically discover and catalog all assets within an organization's digital infrastructure, including on-premises, cloud-based, and remote systems

Thus, CAASM helps organizations create a comprehensive inventory of devices, applications, networks, and users that make up an organization's attack surface.

Vulnerability Assessment 

Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management (CAASM) solutions aggregate asset data to help security teams to identify vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and other potential risks. This includes analyzing software versions, patch levels, and configurations for known weaknesses that could be exploited by attackers.

Risk Prioritization 

CAASM solutions help organizations prioritize their remediation efforts by assessing the criticality of assets and the severity of detected vulnerabilities. This ensures that the most significant risks are addressed first, minimizing the potential impact of cyberattack.

Integration with Existing Security Tools

CAASM systems are designed to integrate with an organization's existing security tools and infrastructure, such as Active Directory, endpoint protection solutions, vulnerability scanners, and external attack surface management solutions. These integrations enable wide asset visibility 

Continuous Monitoring 

CAASM solutions continuously monitor an organization's attack surface for changes and new vulnerabilities. This real-time visibility allows security teams to quickly identify and remediate emerging threats, thereby reducing the window of opportunity for attackers.

Remediation and Mitigation 

CAASM platforms provide actionable insights and recommendations for addressing identified vulnerabilities and misconfigurations. This may include automated patch deployment, configuration adjustments, or other security measures to reduce the organization's overall attack surface.

Reporting and Analytics 

CAASM solutions offer comprehensive reporting and analytics capabilities that enable organizations to track their security posture over time, measure the effectiveness of their security efforts, and demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements.

What Are the Main Benefits of Implementing CAASM?

The main benefits of implementing Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management (CAASM) can be summarized into the following primary points:

Comprehensive Asset Visibility and Streamlined Management 

CAASM provides organizations with an extensive and up-to-date view of their cyber assets, including on-premises, cloud-based, and remote systems. This comprehensive visibility enables organizations to better understand and manage their attack surface, contributing to a more robust security posture. 

By automating asset inventory maintenance and reducing reliance on manual collection processes and homegrown systems, CAASM streamlines asset management, making it easier to discover and remediate gaps in security coverage.

Improved Security Hygiene and Prioritized Threat Management

CAASM offers valuable insights into an organization's security controls, posture, and asset exposure, enabling security teams to proactively address vulnerabilities and misconfigurations. This, in turn, enhances overall security hygiene. 

Furthermore, by assessing the criticality of assets and the severity of detected vulnerabilities, CAASM helps organizations prioritize threats, ensuring that the most significant risks are addressed first and minimizing the potential impact of cyberattacks.

Real-Time Monitoring, Remediation, and Integration 

CAASM continuously monitors an organization's attack surface for changes and new vulnerabilities, providing real-time insights and enabling security teams to quickly identify and remediate emerging threats. In addition to its monitoring capabilities, CAASM is designed to integrate with an organization's existing security infrastructure, such as Active Directory, endpoint protection solutions, vulnerability scanners, and external attack surface management solutions. 

The integration capabilities of CAASM solutions facilitate data sharing and coordinated response across the security ecosystem, resulting in a more comprehensive and effective security strategy.

Increased Compliance, Cyber-Resilience, and Productivity

Implementing CAASM supports data-driven decision-making, which helps organizations manage compliance with regulatory requirements and improve their cyber-resilience by identifying and addressing potential vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by attackers. By eliminating the need to manually maintain an asset list and streamlining asset management processes, CAASM allows security teams to focus on more strategic tasks and improves productivity within the organization.

Overall, implementing CAASM provides organizations with a more accurate and up-to-date understanding of their attack surface, enhanced security hygiene, and improved cybersecurity posture while increasing compliance, cyber-resilience, and productivity.

How Does CAASM Help in Identifying and Reducing an Organization’s Attack Surface?

Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management (CAASM) helps organizations identify and reduce their attack surface through:

  • Comprehensive Asset Visibility 

  • Continuous Monitoring

  • Vulnerability Detection and Analysis

  • Prioritization and Remediation  

Comprehensive Asset Visibility 

CAASM provides a unified view of an organization's entire range of cyber assets, including on-premises, cloud-based, and remote systems, as well as IoT devices and third-party software components. 

For example, an organization using CAASM would have a clear overview of all their deployed web applications, servers, network devices, and cloud services, allowing them to identify and manage potential vulnerabilities more effectively.

Continuous Monitoring 

CAASM solutions provide continuous, real-time tracking and inspection of an organization's digital assets. This includes hardware, software, and data, both on-site and in the cloud.

For instance, if a new cloud storage bucket is created without proper access controls, CAASM would detect this misconfiguration and alert the security team, enabling them to address the issue before it could be exploited by attackers.

Vulnerability Detection and Analysis

CAASM integrates with existing security tools to detect vulnerabilities in an organization's assets. For example, suppose an organization is using an open-source library with a known vulnerability (e.g., the Log4j vulnerability). In this case, CAASM would help security teams to identify at-risk assets. 

Prioritization and Remediation

CAASM assesses the criticality of assets and the severity of detected vulnerabilities, allowing organizations to prioritize threats and focus on addressing the most significant risks first. 

For example, if CAASM identifies a high-severity vulnerability in a critical web application, the security team can prioritize patching this vulnerability over addressing lower-severity issues in less critical assets. 


CAASM (Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management) and EASM (External Attack Surface Management) are two approaches to managing an organization's attack surface, with different focus areas and scopes. 

Here's a comparison of CAASM and EASM:


CAASM (Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management)

EASM (External Attack Surface Management)


Focuses on the entire range of an organization's cyber assets, including on-premises, cloud-based, remote systems, and IoT devices.

Focuses specifically on externally exposed assets, such as public-facing applications, servers, cloud services, and third-party components.

Threat Handling

Addresses both internal and external threats. To get external data of an organization, CAASM solutions integrate with EASM tools.

Addresses threats coming from external sources or attackers

Visibility and Monitoring

Provides a comprehensive view of the organization's attack surface, including assets, misconfigurations, and vulnerabilities

Provides a view of the organization's external attack surface, as seen from an attacker's perspective


Integrates with various security tools and data sources to identify potential weaknesses and prioritize remediation efforts

Utilizes techniques such as automated scanning, reconnaissance, and threat intelligence to identify and assess risks associated with externally exposed assets

Management and Improvement

Helps manage and reduce the attack surface through continuous monitoring, vulnerability detection, and prioritization of remediation efforts

Helps manage the external attack surface by identifying potential entry points for exploitation

Security Posture Enhancement Objectives

Aims to improve overall security posture by addressing risks across the entire spectrum of an organization's assets.

Aims to reduce the risk of external attacks and data breaches by minimizing the organization's externally exposed attack surface.


CAASM is often used as part of an overall Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) strategy.

CSPM is a category of security products that help organizations manage and mitigate risks associated with their cloud environments. These tools provide visibility into cloud assets, help enforce compliance policies, and detect and respond to security threats. They often leverage automation to identify misconfigurations and other issues across complex cloud environments.

CAASM fits into this framework by providing continuous asset assurance and security monitoring, including for cloud assets. It can identify changes, misconfigurations, and new vulnerabilities in cloud environments, which are then managed as part of the overall CSPM strategy. This helps to ensure that the organization's cloud security posture is maintained at all times, thereby reducing the risk of security breaches.

Here's a comparison of CAASM and CSPM:


CAASM (Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management)

CSPM (Cloud Security Posture Management)


Deals with all kinds of an organization's cyber assets, such as on-premises, cloud-based, remote systems, and IoT devices

Specifically targets an organization's cloud infrastructure, settings, and adherence to security policies

Threat Handling

Handles both internal and external threats across the diverse range of assets

Addresses misconfigurations, policy noncompliance, and compliance issues within cloud environments

Visibility and Monitoring

Presents a complete picture of the organization's attack surface, comprising assets, misconfigurations, and potential risks

Delivers insights into the organization's cloud security posture via ongoing monitoring of cloud environments


Cooperates with different security tools and data sources to reveal potential vulnerabilities and organize remediation efforts

Collaborates with cloud service providers' APIs and tools to assess, monitor, and implement security policies

Management and Improvement

Supports reducing the attack surface by continuously tracking, detecting vulnerabilities, and organizing mitigation actions

Enhances cloud security by identifying and resolving misconfigurations and compliance risks

Security Posture Enhancement Objectives

Aims to strengthen the overall security posture by addressing risks across all of an organization's assets

Seeks to improve the security posture of cloud environments by following best practices and compliance standards

While CAASM provides a holistic view of an organization's cyber assets and helps manage risks across the entire asset landscape, CSPM focuses specifically on cloud security and compliance. 

Both CAASM and CSPM are essential components of an organization's security strategy. By implementing both CAASM and CSPM, organizations can effectively manage their attack surface and improve their overall security posture across all asset types, including cloud environments.

What Are the Best Practices for Implementing CAASM Effectively?

Implementing Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management (CAASM) effectively requires a strategic approach that aligns with your organization's unique needs and goals. 

Here are some best practices to consider when implementing CAASM:

  • Define Clear Objectives

  • Conduct a Thorough Evaluation of Different Solutions

  • Integrate CAASM with Existing Security Tools

  • Engage Stakeholders

  • Establish a Centralized Asset Inventory 

  • Automate the Process

  • Prioritize the Risks Based on Business Impact

  • Continuously Monitor and Refine

Defining Clear Objectives for CAASM

Defining clear objectives is essential when implementing CAASM. For example, if your organization's goal is to improve visibility into its cyber assets, you may focus on selecting a solution that offers advanced asset discovery and real-time monitoring features. In contrast, if your primary aim is to reduce risk, you might prioritize a solution that excels in vulnerability management, threat intelligence, and automated remediation capabilities.

Establishing well-defined objectives will help you make informed decisions about which CAASM solution is best suited for your organization and enable you to measure its effectiveness post-implementation.

Conducting a Thorough Evaluation of Different CAASM Solutions

Evaluate different CAASM solutions to find the one that best fits your organization's requirements. Consider factors such as integration capabilities, scalability, customization, and risk-based prioritization.

Buyer’s Guide to CAASM

When conducting a thorough evaluation of different CAASM solutions, it is crucial to consider several key factors to determine the best fit for your organization's specific needs.

First, assess the features and functionality of each solution, ensuring that they align with your objectives. Look for comprehensive capabilities, such as asset discovery, vulnerability scanning, risk assessment, and threat intelligence. Next, evaluate the integration capabilities of each solution, ensuring they can seamlessly connect with your existing security tools and infrastructure to enhance visibility and streamline security operations.

Scalability is another essential factor to consider. Choose a solution that can adapt to your organization's growth and evolving asset base, allowing for easy addition of new assets, users, or data sources as needed. Customization is also important, as it enables you to tailor the solution to your organization's unique requirements. Some CAASM solutions offer customizable dashboards and reporting, which can be beneficial for addressing the needs of different stakeholders.

Risk-based prioritization is a valuable feature, as it helps focus your efforts on the most critical threats. Solutions that employ algorithms to analyze vulnerability data and assign a risk score to each asset can be particularly effective. Vendor reputation and support should not be overlooked. A well-established vendor with a strong track record in the cybersecurity industry may offer more reliable support and frequent updates to their CAASM solution, ensuring its effectiveness against evolving threats.

Lastly, consider cost and return on investment (ROI) when evaluating solutions. Compare factors such as licensing fees, implementation costs, and ongoing maintenance expenses to determine the potential ROI. Weigh the costs against the expected benefits, like reduced risk exposure, improved compliance, and more efficient security operations.

Integrating CAASM with Existing Security Tools 

To ensure broad and deep visibility for effective asset management, it is crucial to select a CAASM tool that seamlessly integrates with a wide range of data sources. These may include 

  • Microsoft Active Directory, 

  • Endpoint Protection Platforms (EPP), 

  • Vulnerability Management Solutions, 

  • Endpoint & Config Management Systems

  • External Attack Surface Management Tools, and more. 

By choosing a CAASM solution that can easily integrate with your existing security tools and infrastructure, you can benefit more from your existing security controls.

Engaging Stakeholders

Involve key stakeholders from different teams responsible for various stages of the asset lifecycle. This will help ensure that the CAASM implementation is aligned with the organization's overall security strategy and objectives.

Establishing a Centralized Asset Inventory

Consolidate asset data from multiple sources to create a comprehensive, up-to-date inventory. This will provide a single source of truth for your organization's assets, making it easier to manage and secure your attack surface.

Automating the Processes 

Leverage automation to reduce manual efforts and improve the efficiency of your security operations. Automate tasks such as asset discovery, vulnerability scanning, and risk assessment to keep your asset inventory current and your attack surface well-understood.

Prioritizing the Risks Based on Business Impact 

Focus on assets and vulnerabilities with the highest potential impact on your organization's operations and reputation. Use risk-based prioritization to allocate resources and efforts effectively.

Continuous Monitoring 

Continuously monitor the effectiveness of your CAASM implementation and make adjustments as needed. Regularly review your objectives, processes, and tool performance to ensure they remain aligned with your organization's evolving needs and goals.

By following these best practices, you can effectively implement a CAASM solution that provides comprehensive visibility into your attack surface, helps prioritize risks, and enables your organization to make data-driven decisions for improved security and risk management.

How Do Organizations Measure the Effectiveness of Their CAASM Program?

Organizations can measure the effectiveness of their CAASM program by tracking various key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics. These can provide valuable insights into the program's success and help identify areas for improvement. Some important KPIs and metrics to consider include:

  • Asset Coverage

  • Mean Time to Inventory (MTTI)

  • Vulnerability Detection and Remediation Rates

  • Mean Time to Detect (MTTD) and Mean Time to Respond (MTTR)

  • Compliance Levels

  • Security Incidents and Breaches 

  • Cost Savings and Return on Investment (ROI)

Asset Coverage

The extent of an organization's asset coverage is a crucial indicator of the CAASM program's effectiveness. This measure involves both physical and digital assets, such as servers, devices, applications, databases, networks, and cloud resources. 

A higher percentage of known assets covered by the CAASM program means that the organization has better visibility of its digital estate. This provides a more accurate understanding of the organization's potential attack surface.

Mean Time to Inventory (MTTI)

The Mean Time to Inventory (MTTI) reflects the average time required to discover and integrate new assets into the CAASM program. Faster discovery times indicate a more proactive approach to identifying and managing assets.

Vulnerability Detection and Remediation Rates

Vulnerability Detection and Remediation Rates measure the proportion of identified vulnerabilities that are remediated within a set time frame. Enhanced remediation rates reveal a more effective approach to mitigating security risks.

Mean Time to Detect (MTTD) and Mean Time to Respond (MTTR)

MTTD measures the average time taken to detect a security incident, while MTTR measures the average response and mitigation time. Reduced MTTD and MTTR values denote a more efficient and effective CAASM program.

Compliance Levels 

Compliance levels represent the percentage of assets conforming to internal policies and regulatory standards. Elevated compliance levels indicate superior asset management and diminished risk exposure.

Security Incidents and Breaches

Monitoring the frequency and severity of security incidents and breaches over time can offer insights into the CAASM program's effectiveness in safeguarding an organization's assets.

Cost Savings and Return on Investment (ROI)

Evaluating cost savings from CAASM program, such as decreased downtime, reduced incident response costs, and lesser regulatory fines, can ascertain overall ROI and financial benefits.

By tracking these KPIs and metrics, organizations can better understand the effectiveness of their CAASM program, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions to enhance their overall security posture.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are the most asked questions about CAASM
How Does CAASM Support the Overall Risk Management Strategy of an Organization?
CAASM helps organizations to identify, prioritize, and address vulnerabilities and misconfigurations in their attack surface. This enables them to reduce their exposure to cyber threats and protect against potential data breaches, financial losses, and reputational damage. By integrating CAASM with their overall risk management strategy, organizations can achieve a more comprehensive view of their security posture and make more informed decisions about risk mitigation.
What Training and Resources Are Available for Organizations to Learn More About CAASM?
Organizations can access a variety of training and resources to learn more about CAASM. This includes online courses, webinars, conferences, and workshops offered by security vendors and industry associations. Gartner provides reports and analysis on CAASM, and other cybersecurity trends and best practices. It is also essential to engage with industry peers and seek out experts for guidance and advice.
Can CAASM Be Outsourced to External Providers, and What Are the Benefits and Drawbacks of Doing So?
CAASM can be outsourced to external providers, allowing organizations to benefit from the expertise and experience of third-party specialists. Outsourcing can also provide cost savings, reduce the burden on internal resources, and improve efficiency. However, outsourcing can also introduce additional risks, such as data privacy and compliance concerns. It is essential to conduct due diligence when selecting a vendor and establish clear expectations and service-level agreements.
What Are the Future Trends and Developments Expected in the Field of CAASM?
The field of CAASM is expected to continue evolving, with advancements in automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. This will enable organizations to detect, prioritize, and address vulnerabilities in real-time and automate remediation and mitigation actions. CAASM is also expected to become more integrated with other security technologies and risk management strategies, enabling organizations to achieve a more comprehensive view of their security posture.
Please click here to see the references

[1] “Gartner Identifies Top Security and Risk Management Trends for 2022,” Gartner. [Online]. Available: https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2022-03-07-gartner-identifies-top-security-and-risk-management-trends-for-2022. [Accessed: Apr. 28, 2023]

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