Modern organizations are embracing digital transformation to become more competitive and agile. Employees now commonly work from various remote locations using a combination of work and personal devices, all while relying on different cloud services to keep information flowing.
All this innovation has resulted in a blurry network perimeter that can no longer be effectively defended using traditional approaches to cybersecurity. Instead, organizations need to adopt a new model that protects important resources against not just attacks coming from outside the defense perimeter but also inside, and that’s where zero trust security comes in.
What Is Zero Trust Security?
Zero trust security is a security model that treats all devices as untrustworthy, requiring their authentication even when they are physically located inside the main office.
As such, zero trust security is a solution to the rise of the insider threat, which is predicted to be responsible for 60 percent of data breaches.
To better understand why the zero trust security model is so much more secure than traditional security frameworks, it helps to imagine a house with several rooms, each filled with valuables worth stealing.
The traditional way of protecting such a house basically boils down to locking the front door (using a firewall and other means of stopping unauthorized connections coming from outside). The problem is that those who are already located inside the house, such as employees, can move from room to room without any restrictions.
So, if an employee’s device becomes compromised, or when the employee decides to turn against his or her employer, all hell breaks loose.
Zero trust security creates a far more secure environment by locking not just the front door but also all interior doors, preventing lateral movement on the network. This is done by segmenting the network into multiple interconnected sub-segments.
The concept of zero trust security is not entirely new, but it is now more relevant than ever before because most organizations have, at least to some extent, switched embraced the hybrid work model, allowing some of their employees to work from remote locations.
Is Zero Trust Security Worth Implementing?
Zero trust security is a holistic approach to the design and implementation of IT systems—not a bolt-on solution that can be implemented in a few hours. That’s why it’s so important to know if its implementation is worth it in the first place. Here are some benefits to help you decide:
- Enhanced network visibility: Since zero trust security never assumes any connection or device to be trusted, you get to see exactly who and when accessed specific network resources.
- Improved data protection: Even small businesses with just a few employees store large quantities of sensitive data, and they’re responsible for its protection. Zero trust security prevents a single intrusion from giving the attackers unrestricted access to all data.
- Seamless end-user experience: For cybersecurity solutions to be effective, they must also be user-friendly otherwise employees will attempt to make their lives easier by avoiding them. Zero trust security can be paired with the single sign-on (SSO) authentication scheme to allow users to log in with a single ID and password.
- Better compliance: As a holistic approach to the design and implementation of IT systems, zero trust security provides a solid foundation for continuous compliance with data protection regulations and laws.
- Cloud readiness: Organizations of all sizes are taking advantage of cloud solutions to support their remote employees, access more sophisticated technology, and decrease their expenses. Zero trust security protects cloud resources by establishing firm access control boundaries.
As you can see, zero trust security offers many attractive benefits, making its implementation a goal that’s definitely worth pursuing.
How to Implement Zero Trust Security?
The concept behind zero trust security may be easy to explain (all devices are treated as untrustworthy), but that doesn’t mean that the implementation of this security model isn’t without its fair share of challenges.
The biggest challenge is the fact that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach that all organizations could apply. Instead of looking for turn-key solutions, which are guaranteed to be anything but comprehensive, SMBs should partner with a managed services provider (MSP) and borrow the necessary experience and skills to implement zero trust security the right way.
Aligned Technology Solutions would be happy to be your managed services provider of choice, helping you understand the kind of data you have and come up with a thorough zero trust security implementation plan to protect it against all external and internal threats. Contact us to get started.