How To Make Data The Central Focus Of Your Zero Trust Approach

How To Make Data The Central Focus Of Your Zero Trust Approach

In recent years, there has been a significant shift among companies to cloud-based operations, spurred by the growing popularity of remote or hybrid work models. Every forward-thinking business, regardless of their working environment, is eager to exploit the advantages of digitization, from cost-efficiency and enhanced scalability to improved collaboration and productivity. It’s within this digital framework that the ‘Zero Trust’ security model becomes crucial.

However, dependence on digital platforms presents considerable risk to your business’s crucial information assets. Cybercriminals have a more accessible pathway to your data, and there’s also a threat of unauthorized data exfiltration from your employees, whether it’s unintentional or deliberate. 

The importance of your digital assets cannot be stressed enough: without them, your company risks going out of business. Since data breaches have cost companies an alarming $4.35 million on average since 2022, it is obvious that businesses must give data protection strategies top priority.

Incorporating a Zero Trust security framework offers a powerful solution to protect your organization’s information from both internal and external threats.

In this article, we will explore in depth the pivotal role that data plays within the Zero Trust model. We’ll emphasize how strategies that prioritize data are not only essential for effective implementation of this model but also crucial for enhancing organizational security and privacy.


What is Zero Trust?

The Zero Trust security framework assumes that no user is trustworthy – whether they access the business’s system from within or outside their proprietary network. At every step of a user’s interaction with the organization’s IT infrastructure, the system will continuously reassess the user’s ability to maintain access to applications and information. 

With Zero Trust, it doesn’t matter if a specific identity uses an asset owned by your business or whether they are physically located in your building’s office. For external and internal users, your new philosophy must be “Authenticate first, trust later.”

Your new framework will focus on three core tenets: 

  1. Design your system with explicit verification in mind to ensure the integrity and security of your system. 
  2. Provide the least privileged access.
  3. Always assume a data breach will occur. 

To design a successful strategy around these principles, you will need to focus on creating protocols that revolve around six fundamental pillars: identity, devices, infrastructure, networks, applications, and, most relevantly, data.


What Role Does Data Play in the Zero Trust Model?

Your data needs to be the central focus of every Zero Trust strategy; it ultimately matters to your organization and the cybercriminals seeking to make money. 

You must maintain data integrity to succeed in business – it’s the DNA of your organization’s character, essence, and purpose. That’s why your new Zero-Trust mindset will mean that your system will automatically mistrust anyone who wants access. 

As a result, data must be a key component of how you establish and implement your cybersecurity measures. The sensitivity and context of a given data set must be taken into account when programming your IT infrastructure to make decisions regarding access and usage, ensuring that only authorized identities have privileged access to particular resources.


Data-Centric Strategies for Successful Zero Trust Implementation

Your organization can significantly strengthen its security posture by implementing Zero Trust strategies to prioritize your data’s role in your IT ecosystem. 

Data protection isn’t just a one-time action; it’s an ongoing commitment to continuous assessment to meet evolving business needs. 

Data Classification

Your company should first categorize your data according to its properties. Artificial intelligence can make this process simpler! By creating a thorough inventory, you can better visualize your data, comprehend your assets and related risks, and optimize your protection strategies as your cybersecurity requirements change.

Data Protection Throughout The Lifecycle

By using classification to understand the nature of this, an organization can adequately establish solid governance policies that protect its data throughout its lifecycle, whether in storage, transferred, or used. 

When it comes to sensitive information, in particular, a consistent access strategy is essential. Especially if you work in a sector with stringent regulatory requirements, you must follow and track your data everywhere to ensure your organization has complete control at all times.

Data Analysis

Your organization’s systems should always learn about your network traffic and user behaviour to build their capacity to sniff out suspicious activity. 

You can implement artificial intelligence tools to understand your typical patterns and quickly detect abnormal behaviours, such as bulk downloads or transferring company data onto personal devices. This way, you can react promptly and maintain business continuity. 

Data Masking 

When implementing your Zero Trust framework, take into account incorporating data masking and encryption technologies into your overall protection strategy, especially sensitive or private information and identifiers, like credit card and SIN numbers.

In order to guarantee that people can only access the information they need, you’ll be able to successfully implement the Zero Trust “least privileged access” principle.

Identity Authentication

At every stage of their presence in your IT infrastructure, you should validate the humans and resources accessing your data using multi-factor and biometric authentication tactics.

When your system authenticates a device, it needs to control access duration and create a “blast pocket” within that device that carves out a secure and contained area that your business can continuously monitor.


Enhance Your Security In Our Data-Centric World

Picture a work environment that doesn’t integrate data-driven Zero Trust strategies and relies on old-school systems that can’t keep up with today’s rapidly shifting cybersecurity threats.

You’ll likely need help visualizing your data, the identities that access it, and how they behave on your network. You might find yourself facing many work days filled with headaches from putting out fires caused by unauthorized access and compromised data.

When you work with PC Corp to address your cybersecurity needs as part of our Managed IT services, our experts will help you implement Zero Trust securities that make your operations more secure and smoother.

Connect with us today to learn about how we can update your system’s security to improve your resistance to cyber threats. Afterward, you can check out our recent Zero Trust webinar to take a more detailed look at this framework.

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