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The Modern Attack Surface

Organizations of all sizes have embraced digital transformation to create new business models and ecosystems, deliver new products and services and operate more efficiently in the digital economy. New digital compute platforms and development shifts such as cloud, mobile, SaaS and DevOps have made it possible to move from concept to capability on a daily basis. Physical devices and systems of all types - from corporate conference systems to power grids - are now network connected and programmable, creating even more opportunities for digital transformation.

Some say these digital technologies are the future. But the truth is, the future is here and now. By 2019, there will be over 9 billion IoT devices deployed in the enterprise and over 90% of organizations have applications running in the cloud today.

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While digital transformation opens up a whole new world of opportunities, this is your new cyber attack surface to defend.

And it's exploding.

The Cyber Exposure Gap

The tools and approaches organizations are using to understand cyber risk don’t even work in the old world of client/server, on-premise data centers and a linear software development lifecycle where there is less complexity and more control over security. An asset is no longer just a laptop or server. It’s now a complex mix of digital compute platforms and assets which represent your modern attack surface, where the assets themselves and their associated vulnerabilities are constantly expanding, contracting and evolving - like a living organism.

This elastic attack surface has created a massive gap in an organization’s ability to truly understand its Cyber Exposure at any given time. We call this the Cyber Exposure gap.

Cyber Exposure Gap Graphic

The larger the cyber exposure gap, the greater the odds a business-disrupting cyber event will occur.

Organizations Attempt to Close the Cyber Exposure Gap in a Few Ways

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Throw 100s of security tools at the problem to protect from the ‘threat of the week’, creating siloed visibility, management overhead and reactive firefighting.


Rely on a CMDB to get visibility into asset configuration, but 85 percent of these projects fail in part due to stale data and they weren’t built to discover and map today’s modern assets.

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Take a ‘scan the network’ approach to identify vulnerabilities. While this is foundational to understanding your cyber exposure gap, the old “one size fits all” techniques and tools haven’t adapted for the modern attack surface.

No one has been able to provide the visibility and focus required to close the Cyber Exposure gap against the modern attack surface.

Until Now.

Welcome to the Modern Era of Cyber Exposure

Cyber Exposure is an emerging discipline for managing and measuring your modern attack surface to accurately understand and reduce your cyber risk. Cyber Exposure transforms security from static and siloed visibility to dynamic and holistic visibility across the modern attack surface. Cyber Exposure provides live visibility with technology purpose-built for security. Understanding Cyber Exposure will transform security from a raw list of vulnerabilities to a metrics-driven program, where cyber risk is quantified and measured alongside every other business risk and every strategic business decision will rely on it. Understanding Cyber Exposure will not be an impediment to digital transformation. It will enable it.

Cyber Exposure builds on the roots of Vulnerability Management for traditional IT applications, endpoints and systems, moving from identifying bugs and misconfigurations and expanding to the following:

Live discovery of every modern asset across any computing environment

Continuous visibility into where an asset is secure, or exposed, and to what extent

Add context to the exposure to prioritize and select the appropriate remediation technique

Accurately represent and communicate cyber risk to the business - in business terms

Apply Cyber Exposure data as a key risk metric for strategic decision support

Addressing the full
Cyber Exposure Lifecycle


Identify and map every asset across any computing environment


Understand the state of all assets, including vulnerabilities, misconfigurations and other health indicators


Understand exposures in context, to prioritize remediation based on asset criticality, threat context and vulnerability severity


Prioritize which exposures to fix first, if at all, and apply the appropriate remediation technique


Model and analyze cyber exposure to make better business and technology decisions

Every organization, no matter how large or small,
will be able to confidently answer three questions at all times:

Where are we exposed?
Where should we prioritize based on risk?
How are we reducing exposure over time?

Learn more about Tenable.io Lumin, the new Tenable solution that for the first time empowers CISOs to confidently visualize, analyze and measure cyber risk. With the industry's first Cyber Exposure command center, Tenable is arming CISOs to quantify and benchmark their Cyber Exposure.

Learn More

If you are flying blind to a widening Cyber Exposure gap...
... well, that's just untenable.

Join the Movement.

Tenable is built on innovation. We started with Nessus, creating the world's most widely deployed vulnerability assessment solution. Powerful yet flexible to adapt to the unique requirements of today's modern assets. Now with Tenable.io, we've delivered the world’s first Cyber Exposure platform to provide visibility into any asset on any computing platform. And we're just getting started...

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