There’s a reason why “Zero Trust” is a popular subject right now. Remote work and hybrid environments have become a staple in many industries, leading to employees working from unsecured networks and storing data in the cloud.
We’ve also seen almost countless high-profile data breaches, like recent hacks impacting the software company MOVEit and Reddit’s social news site. Cybercriminals are continuously escalating their tactics, bringing more sophistication to how they wreak havoc.
In response, the United States government recently released a directive for federal agencies to deploy Zero Trust network architecture.
This security framework can help your company remain resilient while navigating these evolving modern challenges. In this article, we explore the main pillars of Zero Trust, its six areas of defense, and the benefits this approach can bring to your organization. Keep reading to learn how to enhance your security with this organizational mindset shift.
Zero Trust is a modern security framework for safeguarding your critical business assets that encourage businesses to design IT systems that treat every user as a possible threat.
Previously, the traditional perimeter-based cybersecurity approach created boundaries around your network to keep out bad actors.
With Zero Trust, rather than assuming that every user inside your networking is operating honestly, you automatically and proactively accept that threats exist internally and externally. You see security as not just a point in time or a collection of products but an ongoing process that requires constant vigilance.
Zero Trust helps your business respond flexibly to evolving threats. To fully understand how to implement the framework, you must first dive into its formative core pillars.
Your IT infrastructure shouldn’t automatically trust a device or user based on their location or previous access levels. Instead, your network must explicitly verify, authenticate, and authorize a user at every step of accessing your resources.
Businesses must develop security policies based on the “just-in-time” and “just-enough-access” philosophies. Users should only get access to the necessary resources and actions for accomplishing their tasks.
Every user role should establish behaviours and connection privileges to limit sensitive data exposure. With micro-segmentation, you can also minimize lateral movement, so if cybercriminals enter your network, you can contain the damage.
Businesses must act as if cybercriminals have already infiltrated their systems to avoid encountering nasty surprises, as it’s possible even with the most advanced protection.
When prioritizing continuous monitoring and threat detection, you can promptly flag and address all abnormal activity. Implementing strong cybersecurity tools helps you gain visibility over all traffic and behaviour. Developing proper incident response and disaster recovery plans also helps mitigate the damage when an attack does occur.
To successfully execute a comprehensive Zero Trust security model, your organization needs to tackle six areas of defense.
Identity needs to be your new security perimeter. You must build multiple layers of identity checks with tools like multifactor authentication (MFA). A user’s identity should determine their permissions and access.
You need to safeguard every endpoint, which includes any device that connects to the network. Strategies can include installing hardware-based security tools and granting conditional access that involves continuous device authentication. You must also establish organizational security protocols for device use and prioritize policy and compliance enforcement across the board.
Protecting your essential network architecture, such as your servers, will create a more resilient IT environment.
Businesses must implement “least access policies” that limit user access and restrict administrative accounts so employees cannot install or configure software unless required. Regular firmware updates can also prevent hackers from exploiting vulnerabilities in old software while using telemetry can help you flag and block risky behaviour.
Whether or not a user uses an internal or external network, you must treat them as a potential threat. You need to ensure multiple layers of protection where only authorized users can access specific data and resources.
Your network security measures should include end-to-end encryption and commercial-grade next-generation firewalls. Artificial intelligence tools can help your business detect threats in real-time by analyzing usage patterns to identify abnormal activity.
Ensuring appropriate user behaviour on your applications can help avoid creating system vulnerabilities. You must establish policy controls and ensure employees only use corporate-approved applications and resources. Moreover, businesses should microsegment their applications, providing access to files and programs as needed.
Businesses must implement tools to safeguard their data when it’s being used and transferred in storage. You can control which humans and resources access your data by classifying, labelling, and encrypting your data based on various user identity attributes.
Businesses can also incorporate data masking technologies to hide personal information and use machine learning to detect abnormal data bulk downloads.
A Zero Trust model can help businesses massively improve their productivity since you’ll have the tools and policies to ensure employees can safely work in any environment.
Organizations seeking to undergo a cloud migration or digital transformation project can also feel confident that they can be executed securely, with minimal long-term damage and disruptions. It also simplifies managing compliance with industry regulations.
When businesses modernize their cybersecurity approach, they can improve their capacity to mitigate risks, keeping their mission-critical assets secure. Not only can they prevent bad actors from exploiting vulnerabilities, but they can also reduce human error.
A business must implement expert-backed protocols and advanced tools to control the user’s entire experience when interacting with its IT infrastructure.
When you work with PC Corp, our team will guide you along your security journey, helping you confidently implement a Zero Trust model across your organization. To gain an in-depth understanding of how this security framework can bolster your defenses, we invite you to watch our webinar.
As part of our Managed IT Services, our systems proactively monitor for threats and performance while introducing strong cybersecurity measures. Our procurement specialists will also ensure you source the right products to meet your business needs and secure your resources.
Connect with us to discuss how we can bring the Zero Trust approach into your business.