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Navigating Zero Trust: Network Security’s Role In Your Business Defense

In 2023, conducting business online offers convenience and innovation, but it also comes with risks. As we embrace the benefits of the web, we must also be cautious about trusting our personal and proprietary information online.

Cyberattacks are a growing concern, with criminals honing and deploying more advanced tactics on a daily basis. Earlier this month, almost 1.5 million people in Alberta experienced compromised personal information due to a data breach at the Alberta Dental Service Corporation. In June, a Connecticut public school board lost over $6 million due to a cyber attack.

In response, companies need robust cybersecurity measures that match these threats. That’s where the concept of Zero Trust focused on the network comes in. While the framework might sound familiar, you may not know about the vital role that this specific aspect of your technology infrastructure plays in protecting your resources and bottom line.

In this article, we’ll teach you about how this critical component fits into the bigger picture and give you practical tips on implementing a Zero Trust approach centred on network security. Keep scrolling to learn more about the consequences of not properly safeguarding this essential part of your organization – and how to avoid them. 


What is Zero Trust? The Fundamental Building Blocks

The essence of the Zero Trust cybersecurity framework can be summed up in the motto, “Everyone, everything is suspect.” With this approach, you assume every user or resource attempting to connect to your system could be a potential threat. This includes not only external sources but also all connections within your internal structure.

To protect your data successfully, your approach must go beyond individual products. Instead, you must adopt an organizational-wide philosophy that infuses the Zero Trust mindset into every technology decision. This involves building security strategies around six key pillars: data, identity, applications, infrastructure, devices, and, most relevantly, in this article, networks.

As well, your Zero Trust strategies should center around three fundamental guiding principles:

  1. Verify explicitly: Build a verification system that authenticates everything when attempting to access your system, regardless of whether they’ve accessed it before, especially if they want to take new actions or explore new areas. 
    When making authorization decisions, your system should consider all available characteristics, including the user’s identity, which actions they want to perform, the data’s sensitivity, and other factors.
  2. Least privileged access: Only provide access to the information that users require to carry out their job duties, and only for the length of time they’ll need to use it for.
  3. Assume breach: Act as if a breach is inevitable and has already occurred. Implement proactive solutions to stay on top of threats and reduce their impact.


The importance of network security in the Zero Trust model

Your business’s web oversees all the traffic that flows into and out of your organization, acting as the pathway to your critical resources. Until recently, organizations treated it as the “front door” to their information, letting users access its assets if located internally. 

However, as habits and trends have shifted to a more remote and hybrid work culture, that front door has been permanently left open. According to a recent report from Cybersecurity Insiders, 49% of cybersecurity professionals say “unauthorized access” is a key issue for safety and success. An organization can no longer treat its own intranet as a haven from the chaos of the wider web, but instead, as no more safe than anything else on the internet. 

If we don’t prioritize network security in the context of this evolving landscape, we expose our companies to the risks of breaches that can lead to significant financial loss. The disruptions to our daily operations can impact productivity and permanently damage relationships with business partners and customers.


How network security contributes to overall cybersecurity

Despite their increasingly precarious position, our networks remain crucial for keeping our businesses safe. By adding evidence-based layers of protection, you can transform them from passive pathways into active protectors that act as your first line of defense against threats.

As the source of authentication and authorization decisions, a strong system can:

  • Thoroughly scrutinize all users, using analytics to help detect the early warning signs of unusual behaviour and nip threats in the bud before they spread further.
  • Enforce your policies and strictly control who gets access to help your company operate more confidently against cyber threats.
  • Keep your information intact and confidential to only the people authorized to access it.
  • Help your company leverage its traffic to monitor security-related activity.
  • Provide the surface for executing advanced threat detection and prevention solutions.
  • Isolate compromised devices and prevent lateral movement, containing a breach’s scope and potential damage.


Best practices for implementing network security in your organization

Despite evolving threats, your business stays resilient with a thoughtful and strategic approach to cybersecurity. Here are a few best practices to consider for using your technology infrastructure to protect your digital assets:

  • Maintain a Mindset of Continuous Progress: Constantly reassess and change up your solutions based on current needs, keeping your defenses agile and responsive.
  • Include Employees in Your Zero Trust Philosophy: Provide ongoing support and training to foster a culture of vigilance and awareness.
  • Encrypt Data End-to-End: When information flows into or out of your system, encryption ensures that only your intended audiences can view it.
  • Microsegment Your Internal Connections: Establish policies about directing flow between your subnetworks, so you can isolate and contain threats to a small area.
  • Implement Next-Generation Firewalls: Utilize commercial-grade firewalls to strictly monitor and control incoming and outgoing traffic, acting as a robust barrier to potential threats.
  • Inspect and Track Traffic: Enable your system to learn your business’s standard behavioural patterns and detect any unusual activity more easily, enhancing the security of your essential pathways.
  • Adopt “Least Access Policies”: Ensure that employees can only connect to data required for their job and that administrative access is sparingly bestowed to high-level employees.


Partner With Us For Peace of Mind

Facing a work life marked by regular security risks and disruptions feels exhausting, doesn’t it? A cyber attack can massively impact an organization’s financial health and reputation, but also the morale of employees at all levels. It’s hard to feel productive when you encounter frequent disruptions and complications due to your technology.

You can confidently navigate these threats when you partner with PC Corp to strengthen your network security as part of our Zero Trust approach. As part of our Managed IT services package, our expert team will work with you to develop and implement advanced cybersecurity solutions that shield your data from unauthorized access and malicious activity. 

Contact us today to make the most of technological innovation without sacrificing your security.

After you finish, watch our recent webinar to meet some of our team and dive deeper into our Zero Trust approach.

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