Thursday, September 28, 2023

What you need to know about Zero Trust

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

As SVP, Professional Services at BairesDevDamian oversees the entire customer relationship lifecycle, protecting business operations.

Working remotely has several benefits, but also poses specific cybersecurity risks. Zero trust is an increasingly popular strategy for dealing with these risks while minimizing your company’s exposure to attacks.

Reassessment in the wake of the pandemic

recent songs on the Covid-19 pandemic point in an optimistic direction: life as we know it is returning to normal. Increasing vaccination rates, social distancing efforts and the widespread use of face masks have enabled us to overcome the worst moments of this pandemic, which is slowly but surely becoming more manageable.

For many companies, this means it’s time to review and reassess the dynamics that were hastily assumed when everything collapsed in March 2020 — and ask some tough questions. Is working remotely delivering the expected results? Are your team members satisfied with the way things are going?

If the answer is yes and you are considering using remote working as a permanent solution, or if you have already done so, then we should be talking about zero trust.

What is Zero Trust?

Zero trust is an increasingly popular approach to cybersecurity that assumes no one is implicitly trusted and requires identification and authentication of each individual user before granting access to corporate assets.

It also includes the least privileged access strategy, which means granting users just enough access rights to reach the resources they need – nothing more, nothing less. Referring to relations with the former Soviet Union, President Ronald Reagan famously said, “Trust, but check.” Without trust, it’s closer to ‘trust after you verify’.

I know it may seem exaggerated at first glance; it might even seem a bit extreme in terms of skepticism. After all, we have to allow ourselves to trust our employees and grant them access to the company’s files and systems, right? Well, not quite.

The shift in workplace dynamics that we all had to go through during the pandemic exposed companies to all kinds of security risks. The one that has been in the news most in recent months is ransomware. In reality, BlackFog’s State of Ransomware 2021 report showed a 17% increase in these attacks over the past year, with a record 292 reported cases. What do ransomware attacks take advantage of to take place? Yes, you guessed it: access.

In the days when remote working was the exception and most employees were comfortably installed at the company, with devices configured as part of a highly secure network, these concerns were not so urgent. Well, that has changed in recent years. By leveraging distributed models that allow employees to work virtually anywhere, and even bring your own device (BYOD) strategies, everything in terms of security can stay open. That’s where zero trust comes into play.

According to Microsoft’s Zero Trust Adoption Report 2021Today, 96% of decision-makers responsible for cybersecurity believe that zero trust is critical to the success of their business. Also, 76% of them are implementing the model. More than a trend, zero trust is seen as a high priority and one of the most exciting cybersecurity strategies out there.

Applying zero trust to your business

Now, does this mean that every company should throw its cybersecurity strategy out the window and immediately assume zero trust? Apparently not. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for everything in business, but it’s worth taking a closer look at the impact on your operations and what it could bring. There are two ways that zero trust can be implemented in your company: zero trust network access (ZTNA) and zero trust data protection (ZTDP).

ZTNA creates an overlay network that allows users to establish a secure remote connection to the enterprise’s servers, using a cloud-first approach and replacing everything involved that uses a legacy VPN. ZTNA provides strong authentication and secure remote access for virtually anyone, granting access only to the parts of your network needed to get the job done.

As a result, ZTNA reduces the risks of breaches and possible damages if they occur. The model also maintains compliance auditing efforts and performs efficient resource access management. It’s about access, who has it and how wide it is.

ZTDP, on the other hand, is an approach to secure the company information. More of an attitude than a good model, it means being on the lookout for any vulnerabilities and constantly monitoring the way data is processed, implementing best practices and reassessing risk and exposure at every turn.

This creates a broader awareness of the sensible and vulnerable links in your cybersecurity chain, ensures data protection and makes it more difficult to overlook. In short, ZTDP is a framework that extends the principles of ZTNA and applies ensuring data protection throughout the organization.

The new times we live in call for a new attitude to cybersecurity. Being aware of the vulnerabilities associated with decentralized working models, in addition to the old risks that we are already aware of, can be the difference between securing your data and being part of the statistics. Business Council is the leading growth and networking organization for entrepreneurs and leaders. Am I eligible?

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