What is breach and attack simulation (BAS)?

    Breach and attack simulation is a proactive cybersecurity approach that organizations use to identify and address vulnerabilities in their systems. Breach and attack simulations are carried out by emulating real attacks using the tactics, techniques, and procedures utilized by real-world attackers. As such, breach and attack simulation enables organizations to evaluate the performance of security controls to identify and remediate vulnerabilities before real attacks can take place.

    Breach and attack simulation is sometimes confused with automated penetration testing. While the two have some similarities, they differ chiefly in terms of frequency and focus. Penetration testing, both manual and automated, is conducted periodically and typically focuses on a specific system, application, or network within an organization’s IT environment. Breach and attack simulation, on the other hand, is a continuous process that has a much wider scope. It involves the emulation of a much wider variety of threats to assess an organization’s over security posture.

    Breach and attack simulation tools

    Breach and attack simulation tools automate the process of threat emulation to continuously validate security controls. In doing so, they give organizations the ability to closely monitor their systems, applications, and networks in real time to identify vulnerabilities that require remediation.

    These tools offer a high degree of utility to security teams. Since they utilize extensive threat libraries for emulation, they can offer a useful overview of an organization’s overall security posture. As such, they can be utilized to improve a range of different security functions, including security control validation, incident response training, risk management, scenario-based training, and regulation compliance, among others. When combined with other security validation tools that serve more focused purposes, it can enable security teams to account for vulnerabilities at every scale.

    Key components of breach and attack simulation

    Due to the varied nature of breach and attack simulation, it encompasses a wide variety of processes. However, the following can be considered key components of effective breach and attack simulation:

    • Threat emulation and attack path simulation
    • Security control validation
    • Ongoing assessment
    • Continuous monitoring, reporting, and analysis

    Best practices for implementing breach and attack simulation

    To achieve the best possible results with automated breach and attack simulation tools, it’s advisable to adhere to best practices for their implementation. The following essential principles which can help you to maximize the effectiveness of breach and attack simulation:

    • Set out clear objectives for breach and attack simulation
    • Regularly update emulation scenarios to account for evolving threats
    • Continuously review BAS processes to align with organizational assets and priorities
    • Analyze BAS results and adjust cybersecurity strategies accordingly

    Empowering resilience with breach and attacks simulation

    With cyber threats evolving, breach and attack simulation has become a key component of a strong security strategy. By enabling the continuous emulation of a wide variety of real-world threats, it empowers organizations to proactively validate controls and identify weaknesses across their applications, systems, and networks. As such, it allows for pre-emptive remediation of potential vulnerabilities. When used in conjunction with focused security processes such as automated penetration testing, breach and attack simulation can help organizations to achieve more comprehensive security coverage, empowering greater resilience.

    Glossary related terms
    Automated Penetration Testing Automated Security External Attack Surface Management (EASM) Ransomware Readiness Assessment Red Teaming Security Control Validation Security Validation Vulnerability Management