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IT security consistently proves to be one of the most pressing issues for organisations of all sizes, in all industries, in the digital era. Even the smallest operations find themselves under threat from cyber attacks, and, very often, workforces simply do not have the knowledge or experience required to protect themselves against this growing threat.
Conversations relating to the Zero Trust model, introduced by Forrester Research, have increased in number considerably over the past 12 months, and while this infrastructure model is far from new, it is gaining traction as more enterprises come to the conclusion that perimeter defence alone will quite simply not do the job to protect their digital assets.
Businesses looking to prevent increasingly sophisticated breaches of sensitive corporate data should consider adopting the Zero Trust approach, and we tell you why below.
For many years, IT security controls have been constructed around a single corporate perimeter. However, as seen with several recent high-profile data breaches, this traditional method has been unsuccessful in protecting the critical systems, data and personnel that work together to allow a company to operate.
In instances where this corporate perimeter is breached, for instance through a phishing attack, the malicious threat can freely move across other security systems, where data can be compromised, leading to disaster for businesses.
The Zero Trust model, on the other hand, shifts this model by moving the single, large perimeter by moving it to every endpoint and user within a company. It’s built on authentication, network segmentation, access controls and user and system attribution to protect and regulate access to sensitive data and systems.
Made up of two primary principles, Zero Trust dictates that businesses should never inherently trust anything on or off its own network, and that security controls should only be applied where they are needed in order to compartmentalise and protect critical systems and data.
Using this model, businesses are urged to verify anything and everything that is trying to connect to its systems before access is granted.
The Zero Trust model of security proves that times have changed from businesses focusing on defending their perimeters, while assuming everything already inside does not pose a threat to their network.
The Zero Trust approach to security infrastructure relies on a number of existing technologies and governance processes to achieve its aim of securing the business IT network.
It demands that organisations to take advantage of opportunities presented by micro-segmentation and granular perimeter enforcement based on users and their locations, along with other data, to determine whether to trust a user, machine or application that may be seeking access.
Zero Trust uses technologies including multi-factor authentication, IAM, orchestration, encryption, analytics, file system permissions and scoring. The model also calls for certain governance policies, such as giving users as little access as possible to accomplish a specific task.
Developing a Zero Trust infrastructure for your business is not solely about implementing a number of individual technologies to improve security. It is actually about using these alongside other technologies to enforce the idea that no one has access until they have proven they can be trusted.
It is probably no surprise to hear that achieving Zero Trust will not happen overnight, and it is highly unlikely to be a simple process. Many businesses have a number of legacy systems that do not transition well into this environment. Instead, those spearheading Zero Trust have argued that cloud - or ‘green field environments’ are the conditions in which to try out the model initially. Organisations should also be under no illusion that rolling out Zero Trust will require an ongoing effort.
A move to Zero Trust should involve work from the CISO, CIO and other decision makers in the executive tier, to allow them to prioritise which technologies and processes move to this model initially, and which can wait.
Evaris has the expertise required to assist your business in creating an effective security strategy. Contact us today to begin this journey by calling 0330 124 1245, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.