An image of a shield with a text overlay that says: Decoding Zero Trust: Infrastructure's Role In Protecting Your Data

Decoding Zero Trust: Infrastructure’s Role In Protecting Your Data

Securing your business’s technological foundation is a hot topic for everyone, from small neighbourhood businesses to the most powerful governments on the planet. On August 9, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued a statement encouraging the public and commercial sectors to strengthen their resilience in response to escalating threats.

To accomplish this task, organizations are turning to Zero Trust cybersecurity. But this modern framework is more than just helpful for mitigating your risk and addressing the looming harms on the horizon. Implementing a strategy focused on the entire IT infrastructure will enable your team to embrace the benefits of shifting operations online, improving work processes by encouraging employee creativity, and making customers happier.

In this article, you’ll explore how your business’s underlying systems will act as a key pillar to support your Zero Trust environment. Read on to discover the best practices for implementing a comprehensive approach that centers on the infrastructure in your organization.


A Refresher on Zero Trust Basics

Zero Trust is a cybersecurity framework in which a business’s network treats all individuals, services, devices, and applications as potential threats, regardless of whether they are trying to access resources internally or externally. Ultimately, it must be adopted as a company-wide philosophy to prevent suspicious users or unauthorized employees from accessing assets without proper authorization.

There are three main principles of the Zero Trust approach:

Verify explicitly: Every time an identity attempts to access your network, your system must authenticate the user before it authorizes them to proceed. Your system should consider all possible information, looking at the following:

    • Who the user is
    • Where they’re located
    • What device they’re using
    • What actions do they want to perform
    • How vital the data is, and
    • Whether it detects unusual behaviour or characteristics 

Least privileged access: Implement security policies that limit the resources users can access and the time they can access them, based on the concepts of “just-in-time and just-enough access.” Zero Trust allows you to enforce access control in your environment in the most detailed way possible and operate on a strict “need-to-know basis.”  

Assume breach: Establish measures that reduce the potential impact if a breach does occur. 

That means you need to:

    • Segment access.
    • Encrypt your data at all stages of its lifecycle.
    • Leverage your analytics to get an all-encompassing view of your entire network at all times (nothing will sneak by you!)
    • Strengthen your cybersecurity posture by implementing advanced technologies and educating your employees on security best practices.

Most importantly, when implementing these three principles, you need to focus on six key pillars: data, devices, applications, networks, identity, and, most relevantly here, your infrastructure.


What is IT infrastructure?

Your business’s IT foundation serves as the supporting structure for your digital operations, enabling your team to utilize data in performing their tasks. This includes a combination of elements that manage and deliver IT solutions: hardware, software, data centers, servers, operating systems, and other technological components.

Depending on your specific needs, preferences, and unique business objectives, you can select from various configurations of IT support systems, including traditional on-premises setups or cloud-based structures (whether public, private, or hybrid).


The Risks Of Insufficiently Secured IT Infrastructure

Every day, our newsfeeds are full of stories about the latest high-profile cyberattacks. Just recently, the United Kingdom’s Electoral Commission announced a hack in which criminals accessed the names and addresses of registered voters.

Here are some shocking facts about online crime: In June, global ransomware attacks increased three-fold, while the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre reported in 2022 that the costs of data breaches increased 40% from the previous year, leading to more than $530 million in financial loss.

These data breaches can result in bad actors gaining unauthorized access to sensitive or proprietary data, ultimately damaging your reputation and bottom line due to disrupted operations, legal penalties, or customer attrition. An unsecured infrastructure can also seriously drain your resources since you must delegate your precious energy away from your mission-critical tasks.

Luckily, proactive measures and vigilant monitoring will allow you to continue operating with peace of mind.


The Role Of A Secure Infrastructure In Executing A Zero Trust Strategy

A secure technological foundation ensures you uphold the fundamental motto of the Zero Trust philosophy: ‘Everyone and everything is suspicious.’ It also contributes to implementing your new cybersecurity mindset and improving overall network security.

Whether it’s your hardware, software, or servers, your business’s underlying systems act as the gatekeeper, serving as your defence and standing guard to keep your organization’s network and data safe. When combined, all the components of your IT structure:

  • Provide the necessary mechanisms for verification, authentication, and authorization (such as multi-factor authentication and biometric passwords).
  • Serve as the base for controlling and enforcing access by allowing you to micro-segment the resources that comprise its ecosystem.
  • Offer a centralized hub to administer, deploy, enforce, and re-evaluate your Zero Trust protocols.
  • Enable your IT provider to monitor user behaviour, equipment performance, and network traffic to help detect unusual patterns and potential threats.
  • Create the necessary barriers to minimize threats, assist in managing vulnerabilities, and supply the required tools and information to contain and recover from a potential security incident (like employing endpoint detection and response, DNS filtering, firewalls, and more).


The Zero Trust Best Practices for Implementing A Secure Infrastructure

Your organization wants to boost its cybersecurity posture. Luckily, there are some specific (and critical) measures you can follow to build a resilient infrastructure that can withstand a chaotic cyber threat landscape:

  • Engage in telemetry monitoring to identify suspicious behaviour or unsanctioned activities on your network. This technique automatically measures and transmits data wirelessly and remotely. 
  • Develop and deploy tools to automatically flag and block risky behaviour.
  • Prevent hackers from exploiting any vulnerabilities by regularly conducting firmware updates to ensure your employees don’t use outdated or old software versions.
  • Limit potential hackers from moving across your network by implementing network segmentation.
  • Implement least access policies, which include managing permissions and restrictions. 

These policies will:

    • Ensure that specific users or devices interact as minimally as possible with your data while administrators get more privileges to perform their necessary tasks. 
    • Maintain a smooth environment where leaders can assess all activity. Ex: An administrator can install new software without friction, but a lower-level employee or criminal won’t be able to install software that you’re unaware of or don’t approve of. 
    • Help you secure your data and maintain user productivity.


PC Corp Will Transform Your Infrastructure For Greater Success

Zero Trust isn’t just emerging as a popular new concept among cybersecurity enthusiasts but as an imperative framework that businesses must take seriously to operate securely without as many hiccups. 

No one wants to face a work life riddled with uncertainty, where every click and action on the business’s network might lead to disaster. Fortunately, when an organization builds an infrastructure using proactive, evidence-based measures that follow the spirit of the Zero Trust philosophy, it can expect a secure and streamlined environment.

When you hire PC Corp for our Managed IT services, you’ll access seasoned experts who can offload the responsibility of creating your new Zero Trust infrastructure. Using our extensive experience in executing large-scale cybersecurity projects, we’ll give you the confidence your team needs to thrive and collaborate at work.

Contact us today to discuss how a partnership with PC Corp can simplify your Zero Trust Journey.

Want to learn more? Watch our Zero Trust Webinar to dive deeper into all six of the framework’s key pillars, from devices to data.

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